Heart of the HunterHeart of the Hunter
Author: Deon Meyer
Narrator: Simon Vance
Published 2013 by HighBridge Audio
11.5 hours – Unabridged

He thought he had finally put his past behind him, gotten started on a whole new life in post-apartheid Cape Town — clean and uncomplicated. But for Thobela Mpayipheli, the past is a persistent bugger. When the daughter of an old comrade in the Struggle calls on Thobela to help her dad out of a dangerous situation in the Zambian capital, the former assassin sets off immediately. It’s a matter of honor, of making good on an old debt. Thobela assures his family that he’ll be back in a couple of days, and heads for the airport. The situation begins to spiral out of control immediately, however, and before long the deceptively mild-mannered Thobela is a fugitive, relying on his instincts, his training, and his years of experience working for the KGB and Stasi during the Cold War era.

Astride a stolen motorcycle, Thobela journeys across South Africa on his mission, knowing that someone is on his trail, but unaware at first that he has become an overnight media sensation. The reader/listener gets the full panoramic view as the story develops, with insight into both Thobela’s experience and state of mind, and the operations of the government officials and the reporters working to track him down.

This is a Deon Meyer novel, so a large, diverse cast of characters is guaranteed, each with his or her own agenda — some more well-hidden than others. Twists and turns abound, and revelations build, layer upon layer, resulting in a beautifully complex story mingling heartbreak and triumph. Meyer is remarkably adept at weaving together the different points of view, and the shifts between past and present, into a deeply satisfying whole that punches hard and rings true.

Another perk of listening to Deon Meyer’s work is getting the supremely talented Simon Vance as a narrator. Vance’s capable handling of multiple points of view and accents serves the story well, and his gift for convincingly vocalizing female characters as well as male lets everything clip along with no distractions.

Whether this is your first outing with Deon Meyer, or a return engagement, like me (I have previously enjoyed and reviewed Trackers and Dead Before Dying), you should find Heart of the Hunter to be a real treat and a thriller of the first order.

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Disclaimer: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher as part of the Solid Gold Reviewer program administered by Audiobook Jukebox. No payment was received in return for a review. The receipt of the book had no influence on the opinions expressed in my review.

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