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Archive for the ‘Crime’ Category

Don’t Miss the Launch of Power Play by Mike Nicol with Angela Makholwa at Love Books

Invitation to the launch of Power Play

Power PlayWoesUmuzi and Love Books would like to invite you to the launch of Power Play (Afrikaans: Woes) by Mike Nicol.

In Power Play Krista Bishop runs a security agency, for women only. Until she gets acall she can’t refuse from the government spooks: guard two high-profileChinese businessmen. What Krista isn’t told is that the Chinese are mopping up the richlyrewarding abalone poaching business. They want it all, from shore to plate. A takeover that will kick three Cape Town ganglords – known as theUntouchables – out of business and destroy their luxury lifestyles.

Nicol will be speaking about his latest crime thriller with fellow author Angela Makholwa. The event takes place at Love Books on Tuesday, 6 October, at 6 for 6:30 PM.

See you there!

Event Details

  • Date: Tuesday, 6 October 2015
  • Time: 6 PM for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Love Books
    The Bamboo Lifestyle Centre
    53 Rustenburg Road
    Melville | Map
  • Interviewer: Angela Makholwa
  • RSVP:, 011 726 7408

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Excerpt: Meet Meintjies and Magdalena from Jassy Mackenzie’s Pale Horses

Pale HorsesPale Horses by Jassy Mackenzie is a crime novel about a simple accident that turns out to be so much more than just that.

Namibiana Buchdepot has shared an excerpt from the book in which two of the novel’s wonderfully rich characters are introduced to readers.

Meintjies is the son of a fire-and-brimstone preacher who has chosen an altogether different mission field for himself. Magdalena is a book club lady who likes “nothing better than people watching” and is partial to a good soy decaf latte on a sunny Sandton afternoon.

Read the excerpt:

The rusty windmill behind the house creaked into unwilling life, starting with a low groan and then escalating into higher-pitched cries as its blades moved faster. In the tuneless shrieks he fancied he heard his father’s words, the grey-bearded man in full voice, towering over his breathless congregation as he approached the climax of one of the diatribes he called sermons. ‘Mislukking!’ the predikant would scream, slamming his fist against the pulpit to emphasise his words.

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Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus Set on the Cape Flats: Mike Nicol on Power Play (BBC Podcast)

Power PlayWoesMike Nicol was recently featured on BBC4′s Front Row radio programme to discuss his most recent crime novel, Power Play (available in Afrikaans as Woes).

An inventive retelling of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Power Play is set on the Cape Flats of South Africa and tells a riveting tale of gang warfare. Nicol explains that after reading this well-known play for the first time he thought to himself, “Oh my goodness, this is actually something that could be set on what are called the Cape Flats”. He goes on to explain to the British audience that this is an area just outside Cape Town, a forced removal area where mixed-race South Africans were “dumped” during the 1960s and 70s.

“Titus is really about a turf war,” Nicol says, before elaborating on the relevance of the Elizabethan play to his story in contemporary South Africa. He shares more about the rise of strong female characters in crime fiction, the brutal violence he wrote in the book, the international power play at work in the novel and his views on the so-called new South Africa.

Nicol also reveals how he did research, or almost did not even need to, for this non-touristy reflection of the Mother City, “a city which has a lighter and a darker side to it – that’s what makes it such a good city in which to set crime fiction”.

The interview starts at 21:11. Listen to the podcast:


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Reflecting India in Fiction: Praise for the Work of Imraan Coovadia and Jassy Mackenzie

Tales of the Metric SystemAnu Kumar recently wrote a very interesting article for Scroll sharing “everything you wanted to know about South African fiction by writers of Indian origin” – before, during and after apartheid.

Included in the rich list of relevant books are Imraan Coovadia’s The Wedding and his most recent novel, the 2015 Barry Ronge Fiction Prize shortlisted Tales of the Metric System.

“Yet another writer setting his tales in a tumultuous post-apartheid South Africa is Imraan Coovadia, whose books beginning with The Wedding cover a wide terrain,” Kumar writes. Read the article to find out more:

In 1983, J.M. Coetzee talked of South African literature “as a literature in bondage. It is less than human.” He meant the political burden that the literature of the region continues to carry, four decades later. Indian writing from the country faces not merely this political burden but also a historical one, one which is arguably different from other communities.

Indeed, identity, along with the history that shapes it, has for long played a big role in Indian writing from Africa in general and South Africa in particular, where the Indian population was discriminated against in different ways in an apartheid regime. The change promised, or what has fallen short in post-apartheid South Africa, is reflected in the writing of South African Indians in large measure.

The National, Abu Dhabi Media’s first English-language publication, published an equally interesting article, focusing on the way characters from the Indian diaspora have made their mark on international fiction, no longer being stereotyped in borderline offensive ways.

One of the authors who has achieved well-rounded representation, according to the article, is Umuzi author Jassy Mackenzie:

Random ViolenceStolen LivesThe Fallen

“Moving south of the African continent, we have Superintendent David Patel of the Johannesburg Central Police, the detective partner and (unaware love interest) of private investigator Jade de Jong, the daughter of his old police superior. Patel appears in three book in the series by Jassy Mackenzie – Random Violence (2010), Stolen Lives (2011) and The Fallen (2012)”

Read the article:

Politicians, business magnates, sports stars – the Indian diaspora has done well for itself in its new homes around the world and, on a literary basis, crossed another test of acceptance with their depiction in fiction as regular, non-stereotypical characters. From police inspectors to businessmen to cooks, Indians overseas are increasingly figuring in a range of tales by non-Indian writers.

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Want to Publish a Novel? Find Out How with the Penguin Random House Creative Writing Online Short Course

WoesPower PlayKiller CountryOf Cops and RobbersDieners en DonnersMonkey Business

Have you always wanted to be an author and publish a novel or a short story? Do you want to bring more flair and passion to your blog or other creative prose? Are you an accomplished editor who wishes to brush up on your skills?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, the Penguin Random House Creative Writing online short course has your name written all over it.

Hosted by PRH in partnership with Get Smarter, the online creative writing course runs over a period of 10 weeks and can be done in your own time. It starts on Monday, 13 July, and costs R9 900 if you make a once-off payment by 7 July.

Author, journalist and editor Mike Nicol said: “There’s much to be said for writing down your life story. It becomes not only a record of your experiences and memories but also something that future generations will treasure.” To follow in his footsteps, visit the Penguin Random House Creative Writing short course on Get Smarter and download the information pack.

Read an interview with Nicola Hayward who completed the creative writing course and whose first book about life on a stud farm, Fenella, is set to hit the shelves soon:

So, why did you decide to take the creative writing course?

At school I loved creative writing and wanted to rekindle that love. The online aspect tickled my fancy because it meant that I could work when and where I wanted.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

I have to say that for me, our course coach, Ron Irwin, was the highlight of our course. The taught content was informative and relevant, and his feedback of my work was to the point and insightful. Since doing the course, he has continued to provide me with outstanding advice.

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Join Mike Nicol for Dinner and the Launch of Power Play and Woes in Franschhoek

Invitation: Dinner and Launch of Power Play by Mike Nicol

Power PlayUmuzi and Roca Restaurant would like to invite you to dinner and the launch of Mike Nicol‘s latest novel, Power Play.

The event takes place in Franschhoek on Friday, 15 May during the annual Franschhoek Literary Festival. Roca Restaurant, located on the incredible Dieu Donne Vineyards, will be serving up a three course meal. Tickets are R325 and includes the meal and a welcome drink.

Power Play is the latest book from this acclaimed crime novelist and sees him diving into the world of abalone poaching. It is also available in Afrikaans as Woes.

Don’t miss this!

Event Details

  • Date: Friday, 15 May 2015
  • Time: 6 for 6:30 PM
  • Venue: Roca Restaurant
    Dieu Donne Vineyards,
    28 Uitkyk Street,
    Franschhoek | Map
  • Refreshments: Three course meal and welcome drink
  • Tickets: R325
  • RSVP: Before 13 May via 021 876 3384 or

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Video: Mike Nicol on WH Auden, Cape Town and Why He Doesn’t Favour the Police Procedural

BBC Radio 4 recently chatted to crime fiction author Mike Nicol about his stories which “expose the shady underside” of sunny South Africa.

Power PlayOf Cops and RobbersBlack HeartKiller CountryPayback

Nicol speaks about Cape Town as the perfect setting for his stories and says he’s tried to capture the spectacular beauty of the mountain and the two oceans in contrast with the apartheid geography of the city.

Nicol says that writing a crime novel is a way to deal with social and political issues without being too academic about it. He argues that the people who inherited the country are beginning to use it as a personal cash till and quotes WH Auden to explain why it is important to look to the past for answers on the present situation: “Those to whom evil is done / Do evil in return.”

Watch the video to find out why Nicol doesn’t favour the trend in crime fiction of the police procedural:

YouTube Preview Image

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Mike Nicol Dives into the World of Abalone Poaching in His Latest Crime Novel, Power Play

Power PlayPresenting Power Play, the latest book from acclaimed crime novelist Mike Nicol, which will be available in May:

Krista Bishop runs a security agency, for women only. Until she gets a call she can’t refuse from the government spooks: guard two high-profile Chinese businessmen.

What Krista isn’t told is that the Chinese are mopping up the richly rewarding abalone poaching business. They want it all, from shore to plate.

A takeover that will kick three Cape Town ganglords – known as the Untouchables – out of business and destroy their luxury lifestyles. Abalone means power, money, drugs, guns. No longer untouchable, gang boss Titus Anders fears for the life of his daughter and calls in Krista Bishop to protect her from the madness as a gang war ignites.

Krista is the best. She’s young, tough and a long way from the violence of the streets. Or is she? The war is everywhere. Right in her own backyard.

And there is a secret agent waiting for her, with a gun in his hand …

Power Play will be published in Afrikaans as Woes.

About the author

Mike Nicol is the author of The Revenge Trilogy and Of Cops & Robbers. He is published internationally, and his trilogy has featured on the Krimizeit top 10 in Germany. He lives in Cape Town.

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View the UK Cover For Mike Nicol’s Upcoming New Crime Novel, Power Play

Old Street Publishing revealed the UK cover for Mike Nicol’s upcoming fifth crime novel, Power Play.


The novel will be published by Umuzi locally and Old Street Publishing in the UK, and is scheduled for release in June. See the local cover here.

In the book, Nicol offers readers a look at modern day South Africa, writing about power politics, gang lords, gang soldiers, spooks, murders, rape, and gang reprisals that characterise the gang wars of the Cape Flats. It features two strong females – one good, one bad.

Nicol is a journalist and writer, and teacher of online writing courses on creative writing and non-fiction narrative. He lives in Cape Town. All of his crime titles have been published by Umuzi, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Of Cops and RobbersDieners en DonnersPaybackKiller CountryBlack Heart

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French Reviews of Killer Country by Mike Nicol (They Like It a Lot!)

PaybackKiller CountryBlack Heart

Killer Country, the second book in Mike Nicol‘s Revenge Trilogy, was published in French in September 2014 by Ombres Noires, translated by Estelle Roudet. It was very well received, with positive reviews in respected publications.


Encore du Noir, a blog dedicated to crime fiction, says that this thriller comes highly recommended, and notes that they really like the brutal way in which Nicol paints the realities of South Africa – a country where everybody pretends to have left the past behind.

Grab your French lover and have him/her read this article for you, or, if you must, do a quick Google translate to get the gist of it:

Deuxième volet de la trilogie annoncée par l’auteur, Killer Country emmène donc dorénavant le lecteur en terrain connu[1] après La dette. Et les héros, Pylon et Mace, ancien combattants de la Cause chargés des basses œuvres et trafiquants d’armes reconvertis dans la sécurité pour touristes aisés et hommes d’affaires, tout comme leur ennemie jurée Sheemina February, qui a eu le malheur de passer entre leurs mains du temps où ils combattaient dans la clandestinité, sont maintenant bien campés.

Quatre Sans Quatres, a literary online magazine, praises Nicol’s brutal honesty about the flaws of his country, noting that his raw, direct approach and rich language makes this a powerful novel. “The story is complex, passionate, violent, of course, but without ever being over the top,” writes the French Nicol enthusiast.

“A thriller jam-packed with good qualities and music, with everything you need to delight fans of the genre and seduce those looking for action and a change of scenery.”

If you can, read the article (or simply scroll down and listen to some of the tracks Nicol used in the book):

L’histoire est multiple, passionnante, violente, évidemment, mais sans en faire trop. Mike Nicol relate, il n’amplifie pas à plaisir. L’intrigue, rudement bien menée, pleine de fausses pistes, d’hypocrisie, de jeux dangereux garde toute sa vitalité et son suspense jusqu’à la dernière page d’un roman très bien traduit.

Un thriller bourré de qualités et de musique avec tout ce qu’il faut pour ravir les amateurs du genre et séduire ceux qui cherchent de l’action et du dépaysement.

Related links:

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