counter create hit The First Rule of Survival - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

The First Rule of Survival

Availability: Ready to download

Seven years ago, in Cape Town, South Africa, three schoolboys were abducted in broad daylight on consecutive days. They were never seen again. Now, a new case for the unpredictable Senior Superintendent Vaughn DeVries casts a light on the original enquiry; for him, a personal failure which has haunted and changed him. Struggling in a mire of departmental and racial rivalry Seven years ago, in Cape Town, South Africa, three schoolboys were abducted in broad daylight on consecutive days. They were never seen again. Now, a new case for the unpredictable Senior Superintendent Vaughn DeVries casts a light on the original enquiry; for him, a personal failure which has haunted and changed him. Struggling in a mire of departmental and racial rivalry, DeVries seeks the whole truth, and unravels a complex history of abuse, deception and murder. Encountering friends, colleagues and enemies, DeVries realises he doesn't know who he can trust. Set against the richly described backdrop of Cape Town, this chilling psychological thriller reveals its secrets one by one, each more shocking than the last.


Compare

Seven years ago, in Cape Town, South Africa, three schoolboys were abducted in broad daylight on consecutive days. They were never seen again. Now, a new case for the unpredictable Senior Superintendent Vaughn DeVries casts a light on the original enquiry; for him, a personal failure which has haunted and changed him. Struggling in a mire of departmental and racial rivalry Seven years ago, in Cape Town, South Africa, three schoolboys were abducted in broad daylight on consecutive days. They were never seen again. Now, a new case for the unpredictable Senior Superintendent Vaughn DeVries casts a light on the original enquiry; for him, a personal failure which has haunted and changed him. Struggling in a mire of departmental and racial rivalry, DeVries seeks the whole truth, and unravels a complex history of abuse, deception and murder. Encountering friends, colleagues and enemies, DeVries realises he doesn't know who he can trust. Set against the richly described backdrop of Cape Town, this chilling psychological thriller reveals its secrets one by one, each more shocking than the last.

30 review for The First Rule of Survival

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nick Davies

    I put this on my wish-list a couple of years ago, on the strength of it being shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, and having liked the sound of the plot. Having then been bought a copy for Christmas, I'm not sure why it sat on my shelf for so long. Blame my strange TBR list rotation type habits :-) This was a very solid and well-written crime thriller, and I can see why it was so acclaimed. The story focusses on a white police detective (and his black deputy) facing all kinds of internal and ext I put this on my wish-list a couple of years ago, on the strength of it being shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger, and having liked the sound of the plot. Having then been bought a copy for Christmas, I'm not sure why it sat on my shelf for so long. Blame my strange TBR list rotation type habits :-) This was a very solid and well-written crime thriller, and I can see why it was so acclaimed. The story focusses on a white police detective (and his black deputy) facing all kinds of internal and external politics in investigating the murder of two boys who went missing seven years previously. On the face of it - a police procedural with a troubled maverick cop, bosses more interested in public/media perception of the investigation than the actual solving of the crime, broken marriages due to police officers spending too much time on the case and too little time with their family, slimy lawyers, alcoholics, the protagonist putting himself in danger in confronting the baddie - there are a lot of very clichéd aspects. However, Mendelson stays the right side of the line and produces an intelligent and involving novel which never made me think 'this is all a bit predictable'. In fact I thought the balance of describing the interesting setting (South Africa, but not every other word was reiterating the differentness of the place) and the characters (I wasn't left feeling the central character was just another Rebus/Harry Hole.. though in some ways he was) was perfectly judged. Difficult to pin down exactly why I thought it was deserving of five stars, but it was very good. I will read others of the series, I imagine.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anke

    Overall I liked it a lot; ok, at times it was rather gruesome and this is another author who can't find the end of the story:). But it was a captivating and engaging read and I'm already looking forward to reading the next book! Overall I liked it a lot; ok, at times it was rather gruesome and this is another author who can't find the end of the story:). But it was a captivating and engaging read and I'm already looking forward to reading the next book!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    This is a complex and compelling crime thriller. The main detective isn't filled with great qualities in his personal and social life; indeed some of his professional relationships are poor, insubordinant and unkind but he is an exceptional detective, driven, determined and dogged. When a cold case he, Colonel Vaughn de Vries has been haunted by for over 7 years breaks he will not rest for a neat political conclusion to the case. He sees conspiracy but cannot prove it sufficiently to get his man. This is a complex and compelling crime thriller. The main detective isn't filled with great qualities in his personal and social life; indeed some of his professional relationships are poor, insubordinant and unkind but he is an exceptional detective, driven, determined and dogged. When a cold case he, Colonel Vaughn de Vries has been haunted by for over 7 years breaks he will not rest for a neat political conclusion to the case. He sees conspiracy but cannot prove it sufficiently to get his man. Set wonderfully in the new South Africa, de Vries is a white police officer in a new regime where many new black and coloured detectives have been elevated quickly and not always on merit. The solving of the case matters personally to him but it also takes on a deeper significance to maintain his way of policing. An engaging writing style, Mendelson has written a fast-paced novel that will grip you and take you into the story to the point you will share de Vries' frustration, his paranoia and lack of trust in others. A fine range of characters keep the plot twisting and the solution out of reach. There seems duplicity in everyone's actions and from the beginning you question whose side people are on. Particulary enjoyed the walk and chemistry between de Vries and a suspect's sister. A superb read that will leave you wanting more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    A bit ho hum! Too much about internal power plays within the South African Police Service and not enough oomph. The story is mainly about one man who feels driven to solve the disappearance of 3 boys seven years ago. In the present time two of them turn up dead and Vaughn De Vries becomes even more compelled to solve this crime. He thinks the third boy who disappeared may still be alive. Suspicion is soon thrown around but the police hierarchy are not helping and there is no proof to pin anythin A bit ho hum! Too much about internal power plays within the South African Police Service and not enough oomph. The story is mainly about one man who feels driven to solve the disappearance of 3 boys seven years ago. In the present time two of them turn up dead and Vaughn De Vries becomes even more compelled to solve this crime. He thinks the third boy who disappeared may still be alive. Suspicion is soon thrown around but the police hierarchy are not helping and there is no proof to pin anything on the suspects. As usual, early family life is a factor blah blah. Nothing new here and hardly suspenseful.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kerry Hunter

    Thank you to both the publishers and to NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. I can't believe how good it was. Two bodies are found; both male, both teenagers, both white, and funnily enough they both have the same upbringing despite being separate ages. It's not long before the unorthodox Colonel Vaughn De Vries, the protagonist of our story, puts the pieces together and identifies the boys as being two of three that were kidnapped seven years ago. Fi Thank you to both the publishers and to NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. I can't believe how good it was. Two bodies are found; both male, both teenagers, both white, and funnily enough they both have the same upbringing despite being separate ages. It's not long before the unorthodox Colonel Vaughn De Vries, the protagonist of our story, puts the pieces together and identifies the boys as being two of three that were kidnapped seven years ago. Finally De Vries sees his opportunity to solve the case and bring the perpetrators to justice, no matter what the cost. The absolute best thing about this novel, for me, was the beautiful way in which Mendelson describes the scenery. I believe the setting plays a big part in Mendelson's mind, and I absolutely adore when an author describes the scenery around them in such rich and vivid detail that you couldn't stop picturing it, even if you wanted to. It was so easy to immerse myself in absolutely everything; the characters, the animals, the nature, the architecture. Even the manner in which South Africans were subtly racist was handled and written with care but attention to detail. Honestly it felt like I was right there within the story and I could not stop reading. Despite De Vries having his flaws, and believe me he has a lot of them, you grew to love him and his boisterous ways. A lot of what he said made me giggle or smile, sometimes frown. What he felt, I felt. When he felt a sense of bleakness, so did I. Mendelson creates such a bond with the character through his words that you develop deep feelings for him and just want him to figure everything out. It's as if he's a real person and sometimes you just want to slap him and say "pull yourself together, man!". Overall the entire development of the characters is handled wonderfully and I cannot complain one bit. The plot itself was interesting. You find out the culprit(s) around 2/3 of the way through the book and yet the story doesn't end there. This means that even if you do figure out who was involved, the story wasn't ruined or spoilt in any way. It also made it stand out and created a uniqueness that was refreshing. Before it was revealed, though, I couldn't figure out who was behind everything. I had my suspicions but nothing concrete. Honestly this novel is a complete mystery, through and through, and I could not put it down. The only thing I disliked about this novel is that there are still some loose ends to be tied which I think are quite important. I'm sure that this means there's a sequel in mind (wishful thinking, maybe!) where all of the answers will be revealed. In the mean time, my mind has not stopped trying to figure out everything that went on. Even after the last page is turned, this book resonates with you and keeps you guessing. I'd say that was the mark of a truly wonderful novel. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone. It is a true work of art, and it was a pleasure to read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    The setting of South Africa plays a major part/character in this book along with Colonel Vaughn DeVries who was unable to solve the case of three boys being abducted in 3 days, seven years ago. Now in present times, the bodies of two of those missing boys show up sending DeVries on a mission to know what has happened, where the boys have been and who is behind their abduction. This is a very complicated case with clues slowly revealed, and the politics of South Africa playing a role in solving t The setting of South Africa plays a major part/character in this book along with Colonel Vaughn DeVries who was unable to solve the case of three boys being abducted in 3 days, seven years ago. Now in present times, the bodies of two of those missing boys show up sending DeVries on a mission to know what has happened, where the boys have been and who is behind their abduction. This is a very complicated case with clues slowly revealed, and the politics of South Africa playing a role in solving the case. At times, I really liked the storyline, the setting of South Africa drew me to the book, but at other times I found the many complications a bit frustrating. However, the ending took me by surprise and boosted a 3 star to a 4.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bookread2day

    Paul Mendelson knows how to write a very good stomach churning thriller to break your heart. The story is set in the lanscape of the hot and dusty African veld. The story is about Seven years ago, in CapeTown, South Africa, Two teenage bodies between the age of fourteen and sixteen are shot in the chest within the last forty-eight hours and have been found dead in a skip. Senior superintendent Vaughn Devries has the duty to unravel abuse, deception and murder. The story reveals its secrets one b Paul Mendelson knows how to write a very good stomach churning thriller to break your heart. The story is set in the lanscape of the hot and dusty African veld. The story is about Seven years ago, in CapeTown, South Africa, Two teenage bodies between the age of fourteen and sixteen are shot in the chest within the last forty-eight hours and have been found dead in a skip. Senior superintendent Vaughn Devries has the duty to unravel abuse, deception and murder. The story reveals its secrets one by one, with each more shoking than the last. I highly recommend The First Rule Of Survival.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anne-Marie

    This book kept me on the edge of my seat until the very last page. I really hope that there will be more books from this writer. The setting of the story is the Western Cape, South Africa. The writer portrays the South Africa Police Service and the ongoing politics internally very well.

  9. 5 out of 5

    HalcyonDaze

    Great plot, great setting, great character development - a great all rounder.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    The main character, de Vries, is one of those detectives who works outside the box, much to the frustration of his superiors. Foul-mouthed, intuitive, heedless of authority when it suits, and obsessed with a particular case. The book is set in South Africa and not only conveys the breadth and wide-openness of the country, but also its inter-racial tension, between blacks, whites and those who are somewhere in the middle. All seem to despise each other...up to a point. De Vries is white and of th The main character, de Vries, is one of those detectives who works outside the box, much to the frustration of his superiors. Foul-mouthed, intuitive, heedless of authority when it suits, and obsessed with a particular case. The book is set in South Africa and not only conveys the breadth and wide-openness of the country, but also its inter-racial tension, between blacks, whites and those who are somewhere in the middle. All seem to despise each other...up to a point. De Vries is white and of the old school; he has a very competent black assistant to whom he warms, but doesn't always trust. The story concerns the discovery of bodies of two white boys in a rubbish container; it's soon discovered that they're two of three boys who went missing seven years before. De Vries worked on that case and it was never solved. This time he's determined to bring closure, but his bosses seem equally determined to get in his way. There are some superb, tension-filled scenes, plenty of well-drawn characters, and a climax that comes quite some way before the ending. The ending, though satisfactory in its own way, doesn't quite have the zing that a thriller requires. Still the journey towards it is intriguing, and the book heats up and stays heated. I found that the Mendelson's style of introducing new sections with 'he' or with a line of dialogue that's attached to no character a bit disconcerting. Having to work out who's talking, or which of the 'hes' he means makes the reader work unnecessarily hard, I felt.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Keith Currie

    Colonel Vaughn DeVries of the South African Police Service is an elemental force of nature, an irascible, irreverent, opinionated, bigoted detective whose one redeeming quality is his drive to solve crime and achieve justice. Often during this exciting, well-plotted thriller I found myself dumb with admiration for the patience and forbearance demonstrated by his boss and by the rest of his team. This patience is granted because DeVries is a driven man who gets results. The crime here to be solved Colonel Vaughn DeVries of the South African Police Service is an elemental force of nature, an irascible, irreverent, opinionated, bigoted detective whose one redeeming quality is his drive to solve crime and achieve justice. Often during this exciting, well-plotted thriller I found myself dumb with admiration for the patience and forbearance demonstrated by his boss and by the rest of his team. This patience is granted because DeVries is a driven man who gets results. The crime here to be solved is the disappearance of three young white boys, abducted in broad daylight in 2007. When the bodies of two are discovered in 2014 a cold crime becomes live again. This time the guilty parties are discovered early on, but establishing their guilt is the problem. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the novel is its setting, the SAPS in 2014, and the tension between surviving white officers, the dominant black establishment and other racial and political plotting and difficulties. The first in a series, this novel introduces a number of very interesting characters who I imagine will play a major part in sequels. The novel is a real page-turner; my only problem with it is the resolution, a solution which left this reader rather uneasy because of its moral ambiguity.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    I don't usually enjoy crime books just because you can already make a fairly accurate guess at the ending not too far in, but this book caught me off guard and made for a gripping journey right through. The characters were just the right amount of flawed to keep interest and it went from strength to strength. That being said, the ending did feel like it left something to be desired. The last few pages had me with more questions than answers but not in a way that made me want to find out more. I I don't usually enjoy crime books just because you can already make a fairly accurate guess at the ending not too far in, but this book caught me off guard and made for a gripping journey right through. The characters were just the right amount of flawed to keep interest and it went from strength to strength. That being said, the ending did feel like it left something to be desired. The last few pages had me with more questions than answers but not in a way that made me want to find out more. I could have done without it or would have preferred it maybe done differently. Overall well enjoyed, and I would look for Paul Mendelson's name again.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Adams

    After a couple of chapters getting used to the names and characters, this became an unexpectedly fantastic story. It was well written for the most part, and completely in the present tense, which was different to any I have previously read. Although I felt there were a couple of plot holes, I could overlook it simply because I really enjoyed reading it. The story itself was well composed and thoroughly gripping, keeping you guessing right up until the very end. In my opinion the main character w After a couple of chapters getting used to the names and characters, this became an unexpectedly fantastic story. It was well written for the most part, and completely in the present tense, which was different to any I have previously read. Although I felt there were a couple of plot holes, I could overlook it simply because I really enjoyed reading it. The story itself was well composed and thoroughly gripping, keeping you guessing right up until the very end. In my opinion the main character was comparable to Gene Hunt (Life on Mars) or Detective Luther (BBC TV series), in that he had problems of his own, visible imperfections, and a dark side that constantly makes you curious as to whether or not you can trust him. However, trust or mistrust becomes irrelevant when you realise that you are on his side no matter what.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Durinda

    Scary theme throughout the book, but very true of life in South Africa. Police procedural, crime, gruesome in parts, law, inhuman people of society - pedophiles. Role of the SAPS is very difficulty in the new rainbow nation, and the underlying distrust between the races will never end. Very descriptive of the scenery in and around Cape Town and out in the Swartland, vineyards, coastal areas, etc. Definitely kept my attention all the way through. First read by this author, well done. Looking forw Scary theme throughout the book, but very true of life in South Africa. Police procedural, crime, gruesome in parts, law, inhuman people of society - pedophiles. Role of the SAPS is very difficulty in the new rainbow nation, and the underlying distrust between the races will never end. Very descriptive of the scenery in and around Cape Town and out in the Swartland, vineyards, coastal areas, etc. Definitely kept my attention all the way through. First read by this author, well done. Looking forward to his next book, which I have already purchased. This one I read on my Kindle, next is an actual softcover book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sandra

    Probably meriting 3.6 stars rather than four. Much of this was solid, enjoyable and involving, not least the insight into South African policing and politics, plus the landscape descriptions. What detracted, for me, were some of the over-long descriptions of actions, and what felt to me like directions screaming out to be followed by de Vries but never done so.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marc Zimmer

    A thriller such as this, set in Cape Town, cannot escape comparison with Deon Meyer's book. Although a fun read I did not get the South African flavours conjured by reading a Deon Meyer book. A thriller such as this, set in Cape Town, cannot escape comparison with Deon Meyer's book. Although a fun read I did not get the South African flavours conjured by reading a Deon Meyer book.

  17. 5 out of 5

    AVid_D

    A decent police thriller with a seriously flawed main character. It managed to draw me in enough that I fancy a second book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    AJ Payne

    2.5 stars. Decent thriller with an interesting story and characters (although the main character was pretty insufferable) And of course I was digging the Cape Town setting - really the primary reason why I read it. But it was long and pretty slow, with a lot of extraneous side ‘mystery’ that didn’t really make much sense. There was a also a lot of ambiguity in the writing and I couldn’t tell if it was purposeful (though I don’t think it added much to the story) or just signs of an inept writer. So 2.5 stars. Decent thriller with an interesting story and characters (although the main character was pretty insufferable) And of course I was digging the Cape Town setting - really the primary reason why I read it. But it was long and pretty slow, with a lot of extraneous side ‘mystery’ that didn’t really make much sense. There was a also a lot of ambiguity in the writing and I couldn’t tell if it was purposeful (though I don’t think it added much to the story) or just signs of an inept writer. So that’s not a good thing. The side mystery and ambiguity were related with the author trying to introduce secrets for characters or strange motivations that really made no sense and didn’t have any sort of continuation in the story after he brought them up (why bring up some mystery of the warrant officer’s wife for no reason? Or the owner of the cabin de Vries stays in? Among others). So that rend I found annoying and unnecessary. Some of the politics, race relations, and the story generally were pretty interesting, but I doubt I will read another by this author (if there are any) unfortunately because it just wasn’t that great.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Margob99

    A formulaic police procedural. The cop with an attitude and a drinking problem, the shadowy criminals at the top, a cold case - the author takes all the classic elements and provides a fairly satisfying story. I felt like the South African elements were marginal; I felt discomfited by the fact that very little emotion was expended on the victims and their experiences. I closed the book and the end, unsure if it had satisfied me or not. I am becoming a really critical reader (not sure if I like t A formulaic police procedural. The cop with an attitude and a drinking problem, the shadowy criminals at the top, a cold case - the author takes all the classic elements and provides a fairly satisfying story. I felt like the South African elements were marginal; I felt discomfited by the fact that very little emotion was expended on the victims and their experiences. I closed the book and the end, unsure if it had satisfied me or not. I am becoming a really critical reader (not sure if I like that either!).

  20. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    I read this series out of order starting with the second book and then reading this one. The was a lot more explanation and character development in this one since it was the first in the series but overall it was a great book. The writing is fantastic and the mystery is top notch. I can't wait to read the 3rd book in the series next. I read this series out of order starting with the second book and then reading this one. The was a lot more explanation and character development in this one since it was the first in the series but overall it was a great book. The writing is fantastic and the mystery is top notch. I can't wait to read the 3rd book in the series next.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Studvet

    Definite promise and enjoyed the book but at times seemed to not finish off details and didn't flow coherently and some interesting character developments not followed fully nor clarified properly so at times the narrative wasn't tight. That said, had a lot packed into it and really a 3.5 Definite promise and enjoyed the book but at times seemed to not finish off details and didn't flow coherently and some interesting character developments not followed fully nor clarified properly so at times the narrative wasn't tight. That said, had a lot packed into it and really a 3.5

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ernst Nieuwoudt

    Wow excellent debut. Could not put the book down. Finished and already bought the next one in the series.I can recommend this book to anyone!

  23. 4 out of 5

    George

    Enjoyed reading it & could identify with it Used to be a cop in the then SAP (1975-1980) Busy with the next one - The Serpentine Road Equally compelling

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christine Parker

    Just brilliant.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Adrian

    Excellent read. Captures RSA well. Story keeps you interested. Will read the next in the series with great expectation.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    Synopsis: seven years ago in Cape Town, three boys were abducted and never seen again. DeVries unravels a history of abuse, deception and murder.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    This highly-charged police procedural binds several elements together in a hot, dusty tale of modern South Africa. Seven years pass between the abduction of three young boys and the finding of two bodies. The boys were all white, and the extensive hunt was influenced by a personality covered in the media, so this is no shanty-town tale. Violence and death are commonplace enough in the country, we see, and policing is trying to reflect a wider spread of racial backgrounds. Abuse of children is uni This highly-charged police procedural binds several elements together in a hot, dusty tale of modern South Africa. Seven years pass between the abduction of three young boys and the finding of two bodies. The boys were all white, and the extensive hunt was influenced by a personality covered in the media, so this is no shanty-town tale. Violence and death are commonplace enough in the country, we see, and policing is trying to reflect a wider spread of racial backgrounds. Abuse of children is universally condemned. Vaughn deVries is a policeman who was on the original hunt, and now is in charge of the deaths of the two boys - which gives him fresh hope that the third boy may be found alive. This strong motivating factor drives his investigation even when superior police think it is time to wind up the enquiry. Don February and Ben Thambo, two police officers junior to him, try to give every support and at the same time have to listen to the Zulu boss. The setting descriptions are exceptionally good and the contrast between the aboveground heat and desiccation, and the belowground creepy cold and dark, make THE FIRST RULE OF SURVIVAL worth the read. I could find no reason supplied for the dumping of the bodies. While I didn't like a part at the end, which is why I'm not giving the book more stars, I am clear that nobody is meant to like it and the author included it for a reason. I noticed well before halfway that almost all characters were male - strongly written and forceful personality types in most cases - with no family life to be seen. I was thinking that maybe the Cape Town police force is like that, all male, run like an army, but that didn't explain why the only women were a couple of witnesses, well described but briefly met. Then at the end I saw the writer's note where he thanks his partner Gareth. That explains it. All the books I've read by gay men have few or no women. However, there is no other giveaway in the tale.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Janette Fleming

    Synopsis: "At a farm stall in Cape Town two bodies have been found in the skip behind the premises. Two teenage boys have been shot and then wrapped in Clingfilm before being dumped. It isn’t until closer inspection that it is discovered that these teenagers are two of three boys who were kidnapped in 2007 over consecutive days and never seen again. Despite a big scale investigation that didn’t get the police force (SAPS) anywhere near finding the three boys, everyone involved believed them all d Synopsis: "At a farm stall in Cape Town two bodies have been found in the skip behind the premises. Two teenage boys have been shot and then wrapped in Clingfilm before being dumped. It isn’t until closer inspection that it is discovered that these teenagers are two of three boys who were kidnapped in 2007 over consecutive days and never seen again. Despite a big scale investigation that didn’t get the police force (SAPS) anywhere near finding the three boys, everyone involved believed them all dead or trafficked and spirited abroad. Now two of them are found and have only been dead a matter of days. Colonel Vaughn DeVries was the leading officer on that particular investigation and it is a failure that still cuts deep seven years later and the realisation that these boys were alive and still local reopens his wound of failure. With a new deputy in the form of Warrant Officer Don February, DeVries is determined to find their killer and find the third remaining victim in this tragic tale. But with internal politics from on high hindering his every step and a cold trail from seven years before, DeVries feels the case taking a personal toll on him as he searches for the truth which is a lot closer to home than he could ever have imagined." Excellent first novel that is chilling as it is thought provoking. I was interested in reading a crime novel set in a country I know little about and what a great experience it was. Pacy, stylish and filled with twists and turns that had this reader holding their breath. At first glance Vaughan De Vries is a cookie cutter crime novel detective; Broken marriage - check Alcohol problem - check Maverick - check However he is so well written I liked him immediately and was rooting for him in his quest for justice. But for me the South African landscape was the main character - you could feel the heat and dust coming off the page. Outstanding

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bibliophile

    De Vries, the main detective in this South African crime story, is grouchy and unpleasant to be around. He drives his superiors to the brink of exhaustion due to his unwillingness to obey rules and follow procedure. In his defense, the rules and procedures stem from corruption and incompetence, and it does seem more fun to go rogue than engage in office politics, so go De Vries! His one redeeming quality is his burning sense of justice. I know this because he makes quite a few speeches about how De Vries, the main detective in this South African crime story, is grouchy and unpleasant to be around. He drives his superiors to the brink of exhaustion due to his unwillingness to obey rules and follow procedure. In his defense, the rules and procedures stem from corruption and incompetence, and it does seem more fun to go rogue than engage in office politics, so go De Vries! His one redeeming quality is his burning sense of justice. I know this because he makes quite a few speeches about how little he cares for politics and how his righteousness burns with the strength of a thousand suns and how he will avenge murder victims until the cows come home. Or something to that effect. I did a bit of eye-rolling at the clichés, but it was good-natured eye-rolling. This is actually a great thriller. Well-plotted and well-paced, it kept me engaged the whole way. The Cape Town setting provides color and an appealing atmosphere. I was especially pleased to recognize places I've visited, now made into scenic settings for murder and suicide. The ending caused me some moral quesiness, but I enjoyed the rest of the book so much I'll pretend that didn't happen, and get the next installment.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gareth Hughes

    I got the chance to read a preview and, for me, this is a fabulous crime thriller. Flawed as he is, you can't help but admire the hero, Vaughn De Vries, nor be completely engrossed in his ongoing battle against an evil foe. There are shades of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in the detailed characterisations and sense of place. I was there, in Cape Town, it is so beautifully described. Above all, this is a thriller that grabs your attention early on and truly won't let go until the incredibly I got the chance to read a preview and, for me, this is a fabulous crime thriller. Flawed as he is, you can't help but admire the hero, Vaughn De Vries, nor be completely engrossed in his ongoing battle against an evil foe. There are shades of "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" in the detailed characterisations and sense of place. I was there, in Cape Town, it is so beautifully described. Above all, this is a thriller that grabs your attention early on and truly won't let go until the incredibly clever finale. I see from the website www.thefirstruleofsurvival.com that Lee Child has endorsed it. I'm not surprised. This must be a contender for crime thriller of the year and we're only a quarter of the way through 2014. Highly recommended.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.