Review: The absorbing accounts of an aging CEO and an aging lion are creatively juxtaposed in Predators, a stand-alone novel by Frederick J. Ramsay.
Leo Painter is the chief executive officer of Earth Global, a natural resources company. Though suffering from a weak heart and ready to retire, he's asked by the State Department to travel to Botswana to consult with the local government to negotiate mineral rights. Painter, together with executives from his company and his wife and stepson, arrive in Botswana but Painter isn't sure this trip is in the best interests of the company or his family. Separately, Sekoa, a lion, has been displaced as the alpha male in his tribe because of an AIDS-like virus. Weakened, and only able to hunt for small animals, he is hounded by hyenas that sense his imminent demise.
Common to both Painter and Sekoa is Mpoo Kgopa Sanderson, a game ranger who is looked down upon by the men of her village because she is a woman doing a man's job. It is her responsibility to investigate the death of Painter's attorney. He is found dead in the bush, with the head of Sekoa (also dead) on his chest. The authorities want to label the death a lion kill, but Sanderson knows otherwise: he was killed by a spear through the chest. The prime suspect seems to be Bobby, Painter's stepson, who not only holds a substantial amount of company stock but seems anxious to take control of his family's company. When it comes to kill or be killed, there is not much distinction between the laws of the jungle and the laws of the boardroom.
Ramsay is clearly drawing a parallel between Painter and Sekoa, both of whom (which) know they must eventually (and sooner than they might choose) cede control of their respective empires to a new generation, and would like to do so gracefully but don't trust those that follow in their footsteps. Yet the story is told in such a way that is doesn't seem like the obvious parable it is. Predators is really quite riveting, a murder mystery set in an exotic land peopled with a diverse cast of characters and motives as old as humanity itself. A word or two or advice to potential readers: set aside plenty of time to enjoy Predators, as once started, it will be hard to put down.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Predators.
Acknowledgment: Poisoned Pen Press provided an ARC of Predators for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), June 2009
ISBN-13: 9781590586358; ISBN-10: 1590586352
Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover), February 2013
ISBN-13: 9781464200922; ISBN-10: 1464200920
Location(s) referenced in Predators: Botswana
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Predators by Frederick Ramsay
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: December 2009
List Price: $24.95