“A page turner of a story, intriguing characters—Jade is particularly memorable—and a wealth of South African color . . . At once brutal and beautiful” (Richmond Times-Dispatch).
 
In Johannesburg, prosperous whites live in gated communities; when they exit their cars to open the gates, car-jackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. The husband of the wealthy woman is the primary suspect in his wife’s murder.
 
PI Jade de Jong fled South Africa ten years ago after her father was killed. Now back in town, she offers to help her father’s former assistant, Supt. David Patel, with his investigation of this case. Under apartheid, Patel, of Indian descent, could never have attained his present position. But he is feeling pressure from his “old line” boss with respect to this investigation and fears lingering prejudice is at work.
 
As Jade probes into this and other recent car-jacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father’s murder and that involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit.
 
“Jade de Jong kicks ass.” —NPR
 
“[A] triumphant debut . . . The plot has more than its fair share of nice twists, and Mackenzie does a superb job of making the reader care for her gutsy lead while offering a glimpse at life in South Africa after apartheid.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Hard-edged . . . [A] remarkable new sleuth.” —The New York Times Book Review
At first, the case appears to be one of simple misadventure. Sonet van Rensburg, a base jumper, falls to her death while attempting to parachute off a newly built sixty-five-story Sandton skyscraper. But Sonet's jumping partner Chris Theron insists that this was no accident, and he hires private investigator Jade de Jong to uncover the truth. Glad of the distraction from her conflicted and seemingly doomed relationship with police superintendent David Patel, Jade immerses herself in the case. She discovers that Sonet worked for a charity that helped impoverished communities become self-supporting farming units. Sonet's ex-husband, though, has nothing good to say about his wife or the work she has done. He tells Jade that Sonet's efforts were a useless waste of money and that the farming projects were not sustainable.When Jade travels out to the Siyabonga community's farm in Limpopo, hoping to prove him wrong, she finds it not just abandoned but razed to the ground. Digging deeper for answers about where the residents went and why they left their fertile valley, Jade finds out that one man died from a terminal illness. Then, to her concern, she learns about more sicknesses and more deaths-a fatal but unknown disease that swept through the entire community.Jade then discovers that Sonet's sister Zelda, a journalist, was investigating this mystery too. Zelda had discovered that one woman and her son had survived the plague and had left the area, and she was doing her best to track that woman down so she could hear her story. But now Zelda is missing, and Jade will have to race against time in order to find her. A deadly harvest has been gathered in, and the only person who knows the real truth about it has been forced to become collateral in its trade.
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