Set in the corrupt, unforgiving world of apartheid South Africa, this novel in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series follows Cooper as he faces a test of loyalty and friendship.
Five days before Christmas, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper sits at his desk at the Johannesburg major crimes squad, ready for his holiday in Mozambique. A call comes in: a respectable white couple has been assaulted and left for dead in their bedroom. The couple’s teenage daughter identifies the attacker as Aaron Shabalala— the youngest son of Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala—Cooper’s best friend and a man to whom he owes his life.
The Detective Branch isn’t interested in evidence that might contradict their star witness’s story, especially so close to the holidays. Determined to ensure justice for Aaron, Cooper, Shabalala, and their trusted friend Dr. Daniel Zweigman hunt for the truth. Their investigation uncovers a violent world of Sophiatown gangs, thieves, and corrupt government officials who will do anything to keep their dark world intact.
About the Author
Malla Nunn was born in Swaziland, South Africa, and currently lives in Sydney, Australia. She is a filmmaker with three award-winning films to her credit, as well as the author of the Emmanuel Cooper crime series, When the Ground Is Hard, and Sugar Town Queens.
“Consistently engaging.” — Booklist
Unforgettable.” — The Sydney Morning Herald
“Historical hindsight may make readers a bit more self-congratulatory about recognizing the evils of apartheid, but it won’t help them see around the curves Nunn has plotted or rise above her insight into the enduring dilemmas of her separate-and-unequal world.”—Kirkus Reviews
“A disturbing book with a morally compelling hero.”—Booklist
“An engrossing and compelling read . . . saturated with the feel of 1950s South Africa.” —Mike Nicol, author of the Revenge trilogy
“The suspense is irresistible, and the mystery sustains itself well. This is a wonderfully effective addition to Nunn’s already masterful series of novels. A highly recommended novel.”— Historical Novel Society
“This well-plottedbook is like a jigsaw puzzle whose pieces fit together with a terribleprecision, and yet can be read with hope that the good guys will prevail. (Itis a series, after all.) Recommended for anyone who loves a good mystery with acomplicated, tough protagonist worth falling for." — Historical Novel Society
“Malla Nunn’s bookshave it all: fast-paced, intricate storylines; an exotic setting in a dangerousera; a deeply flawed hero; and an Oscar-worthy cast of supporting characters.” — Bookpage
“We're fortunate indeed that writers like Malla Nunn are here, working on books like PRESENT DARKNESS. This is crime fiction that goes into an area of human behaviour and a history that needs to be held up to the light, remembered, examined and understood.” — Reviewing the Evidence