Dying to Live by Michael Stanley #BlogTour #BookReview @OrendaBooks

I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for the highly anticipated new book in the Detective Kubu series by Michael Stanley. Thank you to Anne Cater and Karen Sullivan for inviting me onto the tour.

About this book…

When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he’s clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What’s more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles … but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who’d befriended the old Bushman?

As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow. A fresh, new slice of ‘Sunshine Noir’, Dying to Live is a classic tale of greed, corruption and ruthless thuggery, set in one of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, and featuring one of crime fiction’s most endearing and humane heroes.

My review…

The first thing I did when I finished this book was to pass it to The Grumpy Scotsman saying “You HAVE to read this book!” The first thing he said to me when HE had finished was ” Why on earth is this not a TV series?! ” And for once I have to wholeheartedly agree with him, why hasn’t this series been snapped up for the traditional Sunday night crime drama spot!? It would be brilliant! Anyone who’s a fan of such series as Death in Paradise or The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency would love to see Kobu on the small screen. These dark and twisty crime mysteries really do need to be brought to a bigger audience!

There is an unfathomable mystery to solve here when the body of a bushman is discovered. During the autopsy, it’s discovered that his internal organs are those of a much younger man, plus there is an unexplained bullet lodged internally but with no scars to show an entry wound. Kubu and his colleague Samantha become further involved when the body is stolen from the morgue and a witch doctor also goes missing. Can the two cases be related and if so how?

I loved the surprising paths that this storyline went down, it was a twisty tale with a few deadends just when you were expecting a thread to lead to further revelations! I do love a red herring or two! The pairing of Kubu and Samantha works well and was a joy to watch as were the family dynamics between Kubu and his wife and family, although I found the plot concerning the health of his daughter desperately sad and difficult to read at times. But this tied in well with the intriguing world of the witch doctors which was one I have never really read about before except in this series and as usual, I found it absolutely fascinating.

So although there is a real darkness surrounding the setting and plot, it’s authentic feel and captivating characters kept me enthralled in an amazing environment that I have never been in but feel I know thanks to the  beautifully descriptive writing by this very clever writing duo. 

What I love about Orenda books is that they consistently bring their readers new and exciting books that have a real edge over other crime thrillers in this genre. This series is no exception and Detective Kubu is one determined and intelligent policeman and it’s impossible not to fall in love with him and his homeland.

A recommended read!

Dying to Live (Detective Kubu) is published by Orenda Books and is available to buy now.

About the author…

Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers award.


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I am a Norfolk girl living in leafy Cheshire with my grumpy Scotsman. A mum and nana who lives for my family but who is also addicted to reading (and Marmite!) I will read almost anything but my preferred genres to review are psychological thrillers, crime procedural novels or women's fiction. My kindle is my life but I also have a substantial bookshelf in my cosy reading room where I can go to escape the stresses of family life with plenty of tea and chocolate. I am a member of netgalley and bookbridg. I review on Amazon, where I'm a Top 500 reviewer, and Goodreads. You can always find me over on Twitter @jocatrobertson for any review requests.

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