One of the joys of using a book with a group is when you discover that the book works on a multiplicity of levels.  I would like to claim that I am aware of this before the discussion but often this disclosure is made while the group is navigating the book.

Dead at Daybreak by South African writer Deon Meyer is an example of that.  During the discussion on this title it became evident to me that the group and I had read different books.

I am a character based reader who concentrates on the foibles of the main and secondary characters.  This book is certainly strong in the area as it tells the story of Zet van Heerden, a troubled South African man who is given a chance to redeem himself on the case.  He is also given the opportunity to use the narrative to confess the sins of his life. 

It may be fair to call this book a thriller and some of my readers love the pace of the book.  It is violent in parts, shocking in its revelations and written in a style to entertain readers who want to be challenged by the writing style itself.

Lastly, some readers like to go on a journey and this book is revealing about South Africa.  While not the landscape written about by James McClure, there is plenty to view here as Meyer reveals contemporary South African sensibilities within the context of this story.

So, no matter what kind of reader shows up to the book discussion, there is something for each in a book like Dead at Daybreak.



About the Author:

Gary Niebuhr is the author of Make Mine a Mystery (2003), Caught up in Crime (2009), and other readers' guides to mystery and detective fiction. He was a Booklist contributor from 2008-2014.

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