Reviews: Of Cops & Robbers
Sunday Times (UK) fiction round-up: “Some of the best hard-boiled crime fiction you could read, featuring a surf-loving South African private eye.”
Woody Haut in his blog “… as evocative of the region as it is politically incisive. [...] This deceptively complex and political novel shows that Nicol is right up there with new wave compatriots like Roger Smith and Deon Meyer, and, for outsiders, a book that will give you an entirely different slant on modern-day South Africa.”
Mike Ripley in his column Getting Away with Murder: “I know it is only February but I think I may have read the best crime novel of the year; certainly one of them. [...] Of Cops & Robbers is an absolute belter.”
Marcel Berlins in The Times: “In Of Cops & Robbers, Mike Nicol, the most incisive of South Africa’s growing band of top-class crime writers, sees the country’s rampant crime today as an inevitable result of the apartheid years. [...] Nicol is a superb storyteller, with vibrant characters and stunningly vivid dialogue. A gripping thriller, which is also an insight into a fascinatingly flawed society.”
Maxim Jakubowski on the Lovereading website: “It’s about time the superlative talent of Mike Nicol be recognised. His ‘Revenge’ trilogy, which I reviewed for the Guardian, was outstanding and this opening volume of a new series notches up the suspense several degrees higher. Explosive, topical and corruscating, this lifts the lid off the other side of the African dream.”
Joan Smith in the Sunday Times: “… South Africa is … producing some of the best hard-boiled crime fiction around today. Mike Nicol’s latest novel comes with an unwieldy title, Of Cops & Robbers but everything else about his writing is sure-footed. Unlike his contemporary Deon Meyer, who writes in Afrikaans, Nicol writes in English and relies heavily on slang. It works because his main character, a private detective known as “Fish” Pescado, would rather be surfing than doing any real work. Pescado is hired for, and almost instantly fired from, a job investigating an illegal drag race in which a student has been seriously injured. At the same time, someone is targeting former members of a government-backed assassination squad. Nicol handles these competing plot strands with as much cool as his fictional investigator.”
Charles Cilliers in City Press: “Known for his often dark and brutal crime thrillers set in Cape Town, Nicol’s latest romp has its own fair share of unseemly characters. [...] Fans will love this book.
William Saunderson-Meyer in The Sunday Times lists Of Cops & Robbers as one of his top three books of 2013. “South African surrealism with a garrotte.”
A chat on Litnet with Jaco Botha, Afrikaans translator of Of Cops & Robbers: “It’s also a tale of surfing and smuggled rhino horn, boobs, splif and bad asses with big guns. It’s the South African dream, man.”
A chat with Mamuwi Mbao on SLiPNet.
A chat with Michael Sears in The Big Thrill.
Jonathan Amid’s review in Litnet: “Whether you read his latest work as a playful homage to the hard-boiled heroes of the 1930s, find the crossing of boundaries between fact and fiction a source of interest, or just want to read a white-knuckle thriller about the not-quite state of the nation, Nicol’s your man.”
Margaret von Klemperer in The Witness: “[Of Cops & Robbers is] a heady, tough mix, and Nicol’s use of language is as brutal as the world his characters inhabit, giving the book a sharp authenticity.”
Jonathan Amid on SLipnet – Cornering Crime in Cape Town: “When discussing Of Cops and Robbers, [Deon] Meyer describes Nicol’s style as ‘by far the best in South Africa.’ Meyer praises Nicol’s ‘deliciously complex’ characters, and commends the author’s ability to create indelible scenes.”
Joan van Zyl reviews Dieners & Donners in Huisgenoot: “…jy is van voor af geskok oor die moordbendes van gister en die moordenaars van vandag, en jy lag heerlik vir die onverwags snaakse tonele en bisarre situasies wat soms so tipies van SA is.”
Brian Joss in Cape Community Newspapers: “… a gripping thriller and hard to put down…’
Leon de Kock in the Cape Times: “…a ripping yarn and hard to put down…”
Audrey Paton in The Sunday Times: “Mike Nicol’s latest thriller is his best yet … a delightful hardboiled fantasy.”
“Superb,” says Neil Sandilands in a private message, then recants: Die Burger.
Sue Grant-Marshall in BusinessDay: “I thought that Nicol had possibly hit a high-water mark with his stunning Revenge Trilogy. But this politicised crime novel shows he has a lot more telling bullets left in his authorial chamber.”
Willie Burger reviews Dieners & Donners in Vrouekeur: “Hierdie roman wys hoe verwikkeld ons land se geskiedenis is, hoe misdaad en korrupsie van die een bedeling in die volgende oorvloei, maar ook hoedat ’n mens nooit met sekerheid ander mense kan ken nie en nie kan weet wie nou eintlik die dieners en wie die donners is nie.” [...] “As jy haastig wil lees en min tyd het, lyk die 400 bladsye na baie, maar jy raak so betrokke dat jy hulle al hoe vinniger omblaai en teen sonop kan jy nie wag vir ’n volgende roman nie, want daar is gewoon nog te veel wat jy nog nie weet nie.”