The October Killings
Review: Abigail Bukula, an attorney with the South African Justice Department, is asked by a man she knew once for only seven hours 20 years ago — "but they had been hours that had left their mark indelibly on her soul" — to look into a series of suspicious murders in The October Killings, the first mystery in this series by Wessel Ebersohn.
Leon Lourens was one of a team of South African Defense Force soldiers who raided an African National Congress house on October 21st, 1985, killing twelve people and capturing six, one of whom was Abigail, who was spared by Leon. The six escaped the following day. Leon has learned that several members of his former team have been killed over the years, all on a specific date: October 22nd. In fact, only two remain alive: their Captain, who is locked up in a maximum security prison — the last solitary political killer of the apartheid government who had refused to confess — and Leon himself. With the current date being October 16th, Leon is afraid that he may be next and needs Abigail's help to find the killer within the next five days. Abigail at first thinks it is simply an improbable coincidence, but soon comes to believe that Leon's life may, indeed, be in danger … and from a most unlikely source, a man known as "The Ghost."
The author reintroduces another series character into the story, Yudel Gordon, a former prison psychologist last seen in 1992's Closed Circle, who initially assists Abigail in her investigation, but later helps her deal with a traumatic past she has long since suppressed.
The October Killings has a well-constructed, complex plot that includes plenty of subtly integrated misdirection for the reader. It can, in some ways, be summed up by a statement Abigail makes to Yudel: "One one night in Maseru I was saved by a good man, defending an evil cause, and on the next I was saved by an evil man, fighting for a good cause." This seeming contradiction forms the basis for much of what happens in this mystery, and it's a story that is both captivating and enriching.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The October Killings for this review.
Review Copyright © 2011 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Those Who Love Night
Minotaur Books (Hardcover), January 2012
ISBN-13: 9780312655969; ISBN-10: 0312655967
Location(s) referenced in The October Killings: South Africa
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The October Killings by Wessel Ebersohn — An Abigail Bukula Mystery
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: January 2011
List Price: $24.99