Review: After a woman, who was base-jumping for excitement, falls to her death from the top of a Johannesburg tower, her thrill-seeking companion fears he'll be suspected by the police of intentionally causing the accident and hires private investigator Jade de Jong to help prove his innocence in Pale Horses, the fourth mystery in this series by Jassy Mackenzie.
Jade learns that the dead woman, Sonet Meintjies, had worked for a charity that helps poor farmers develop their land to be more productive, and whose headquarters were in the very same building from which she had fallen. They can provide little in the way of assistance, but do proffer information about her family: a sister Zelda, and a brother Koenraad. Jade attempts to seek out both, but the former has suddenly gone missing and the latter lives "off the grid". When she breaks into the home of the sister to get further information, she soon finds herself the target of two men with guns, who are also obviously trying to find Zelda as well. Reasoning there must be a connection between Sonet's murder — the police finding that her parachute had been deliberately tampered with — and Zelda's disappearance, Jade concludes that she must find Koenraad if she is to understand why Sonet was killed and why her surviving relatives are being targeted.
Pale Horses is a strong, intricately plotted, and really quite good crime novel. Jade — and the reader — is presented with information and clues that hint at relationships and links but not enough to definitely draw a line from one point to another. The answers all seem tantalizing close and yet not within reach. The overall storyline is exciting and suspenseful and really well crafted. Even Jade's often distracting personal life (from the previous books in the series) is largely absent here, not altogether forgotten — a silly and fortunately minimal subplot involves Jade's former boyfriend David, which reveals something about his life that comes to surprise Jade — but not simmering just below the surface either as it has in the past, helping to keep the focus on this most compelling case. Jade will undoubtedly have to reconcile her newfound information about David at some point, but one can hope that maybe another strong case like this one will keep her distracted a bit longer.
Acknowledgment: Soho Press provided an ARC of Pale Horses for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Soho Crime (Hardcover), April 2012
ISBN-13: 9781616950651; ISBN-10: 161695065X
Location(s) referenced in Pale Horses: South Africa
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Pale Horses by Jassy Mackenzie — A Jade de Jong Mystery
Publisher: Soho Crime
Publication Date: April 2013
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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