Devil Dealing Devil Dealing question


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Crime Fiction and Real Politics
Kobus Koopmans Kobus Aug 05, 2015 12:48PM
Devil Dealing The review by Joy Wags of this book was interesting to me. She argues that although she liked the book a lot (as I did, enormously), she felt that it didn't deal enough with the real political situation in the country. There's a big question there about why fiction should necessarily deal with the real world. In fact, the author in this case spends quite a bit of time in his preface saying how he believes its important that fiction should be factual (well, not really, I suppose: all he actually says is that he demands authenticity from his fiction. I go along with that). But Joy, you seem to be wanting even more than that. At what point does fiction become faction? Does a crime fiction thriller set in South African NECESSARILY have to delve into the real politics of the country? I'm not saying I disagree. I think it's a good topic for discussion.



Suzie (last edited Aug 07, 2015 12:46PM ) Aug 05, 2015 01:05PM   6 votes
Hey, Kobus, yes, I agree it's a great topic for discussion. Actually, in my own review of the book, I thought something different from Joy Wags. I thought there was maybe too MUCH discussion of the real world, and that at one point it slowed down the action. But I also thought, on reflection, that that discussion was necessary to give some relevant information to readers who might not know the context that well. And the author did so in a quite subtle way, I thought, keeping it within the context of his characters and their convivial and humorous interchanges among one another. Can fiction like this ever escape the soil in which it grows roots? On the one hand I am sick of SA politics and I want to escape in crime fiction. On the other, I love crime fiction set in South Africa precisely because it reflects the real (and thrilling) trauma on the ground. Anyway, a great question. And a great book to base the question on!

And - I have just added this now, a couple opf days after this discussion started - I am half-way through his second book ('Gun Dealing') and I have to tell you that IT'S EVEN BETTER! There's such an amazingly moving scene - but also touchingly humorous - involving a funeral arising from the first volume (no plot spoilers from me, though). And apart from the same nail-biting action as in the first book, there's lovely stuff about relationships between different people. I'm loving it!

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William Lindstadt That's interesting to read. I liked Devil Dealing but I have just read Gun Dealing and didn't like it as much. Maybe I'll review it and say why. ...more
Feb 06, 2016 06:05AM · flag

Devil Dealing Hi, all. I re-read my review in the light of this discussion and, yes, I can see why you question me. I hope I made it clear in my review, though, that I think the book is excellent. It was just that it seemed to raise in my mind the whole question of the real world behind SA crime fiction. I think that that is why there is such an explosion of writing in this vein, in SA. It seems that the very traumatic world in which the action is set is what makes the fiction so much more thrilling than what I read in other countries. Thats a terrible generalisation, I know, but I do think that SA is a special case right now. And I think that this author is a very special writer in that context. I love his characters and his wit and the warmth of the interchanges. The two Afrikaner detectives are very sweet, apart from being good detectives, and I love the pervasive intelligence of the Captain. And, of course, the two central detectives are characters I want to follow - hopefully they don't get killed off in the sequels. And, in fact, the villain is so evil that I want him to carry on living into the sequels! But a final point. I have just read in the news this week about the horrendous crimes in the country, and this book now seems to me almost like a newspaper, reflecting very real events. This book is so up to date that it is scary.


Ronald (last edited Oct 21, 2015 01:09AM ) Aug 05, 2015 01:50PM   2 votes
Hi guys. Yes, great subject. I think that fiction must always be truthful with the facts. In this book the writer has got things so accurate. He obviously did lots of research and knows his stuff, and I felt that he had also been in the office in the police station where I actually work! I appreciate that in a writer. No, I don't think the book needs more political discussion. I think the balance is just right. And the action is really good. Nice to have an Indian woman kung-fu expert saving the life of the helpless white male hero! I think the author is using these gender and race relationships brilliantly. And he's having fun with it, too. Really enjoyable reading, this. I just read it a second time, too.


Michael (last edited Aug 18, 2015 05:15AM ) Aug 16, 2015 10:19AM   2 votes
Hey, guys, as a result of Suzie's post I went to amazon.co.uk and bought the second book instead of the first. Your discussion is really interesting. Not sure I agree with Joy's sentiments, but, hey, I haven't yet read the first book so I'll chat later about that. And, something else, there's a sentence by the writer in the dedication to the second book that is intriguing. I'd love to hear more from him about it. But I suppose he won't. It's a really great read. Now for the first one (reading the wrong way around but so what?) By the way, do some of you guys know each other? I don't want to be an outsider muscling in.


Great discussion. I found Devil Dealing very punchy, exciting and fast-moving. I would have given five stars except for the bit of descriptive detail in one part that fills us in about the background of police matters in the country. I can see that that is probably necessary for any reader who might not know about the situation, but it slowed the action down a bit at that point. So maybe that's relevant to this discussion. Maybe I'm carping. The really nice thing is that the characters and the dialogue and the action are really entertaining and gripping. I read the book right through very quickly. Really good.


I agree with those comments. I, too, haven't read the first book yet but the second one is everything you say it is. I went to the SAPS facebook site as you recommended and, boy, you made me realise just how accurate this author is about what's going on in that country. I have real respect for the factual basis of his fiction. At the same time he spins an incredibly exciting and thrilling tale.


Tertius (last edited Nov 23, 2015 06:32AM ) Sep 26, 2015 04:23AM   1 vote
Great discussion. I haven't read this first book in the series, yet, but I have read the second:- Gun Dealing. Twice. It's totally brilliant. The discussion here also applies to that book, but I think the author has nailed it. In Gun Dealing, anyway (I can't comment on Devil Dealing yet). In GD the balance of politics and real life is perfect. No problem at all. It's almost like its not crime FICTION but crime REALITY in the country. Just look at the SAPS Facebook sites and it's like reading an Ian Patrick book. Hey, everyone! I'm back here a month after writing all of that (it's November 21 today) to add to that comment. I've now read the book and also listened to the whole of the audiobook. Loved it. I think Gun Dealing is better, but it was great to read this one, too. It was great reading this discussion about the book before I read it. Made me appreciate all of the comments here, and also mde me enjoy the book even more. Superb discussion. Crime fiction and real politics? Maybe crime reality and fictional politics (can one actually believe what happens these days in the real world of SA politics? - it seems too outlandish to be true!)


I'm sorry I didn't see this thread earlier. I read Devil Dealing a couple of months ago and really liked it. I wasn't even aware that there was an audio version so I recently decided to get it. Fascinating. Intriguing voice from the narrator, very distinct speech and lovely atmosphere created. Particularly nice to hear it after having now read two more books in the series (the third is the best, I think). I agree with the comment from Joy Wags. There is definitely a slight lag in energy about two thirds of the way in, but then it turns back into a very fast-paced action thriller.


What a fascinating discussion. Must get this book.


This was a good chat. Thanks, everyone. It made me think again about the book. I liked it even more.I missed some of those nuances. I'll go and look at a couple of the other books by the writer. Looks really good.


I first read this as part of the crime fiction reading group on the SA Police Service facebook site. I love it. Then I recently heard the audio version and decided to re-read the book. I think that there probably is a bit too much of the historical detail provided by the author, but that produces only a slight flagging in the energy and pace round about two thirds of the way through. Apart from that, I find it very exciting and very true to life. Nice discussion in this forum. We've migrated our SAPS reading group to GoodReads and I think ti works better here. We should start a discussion on the next book, too: Gun Dealing The comment in the dedication is very mysterious: it looks like the author suffered a murder in his home.


Very nice discussion. Thanks, guys. Looks like some of you have policing experience, which I don't. What you say makes sense, and made me think that I got even more out of this great little thriller than I realised.


Interesting to see this discussion only now. I've just started reading this author and I love his stuff. Your discussion is something I would have loved to encounter earlier. But it prompts me to read more...


I wish I had found this thread a year ago. What a good discussion. I can see some of you are cops!


Really good to read this after having read the whole collection. Is the author a detective?


Really interesting. Nice to see some cops talking about this stuff, too. Thanks, everyone.


Interesting discussion. I think I'll check this out. Lots of other books lined up, though.


I wish I had come across this earlier. I see some cops in here. My own review of the whole series says that what I enjoyed most was the sense that the real cops would love this. I did. Nice books, nice discussion.

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Kobus Koopmans It's also so up to date, David. Look at this awful story: http://www.iol.co.za/9279548 ...more
May 24, 2017 07:18AM · flag

I just loved this discussion. I've only just read the second of the books in the series - I also read the first one more than a month ago and liked it so much - and it's even better than the first. This discussion is right on the button. Thanks, guys. Really interesting to read. I, too, really liked the way ideas of morality and justice are woven through the stories. Really good thought-provoking ideas, and so exciting to read, too.


What an interesting discussion. Some of you are obviously policemen. Thank you. I found this so interesting. I've only read the fourth book in the series, which I liked so much. I'll have to go and read this one. Your discussion helps a lot.


Thank you, everyone. This is so exciting. What a nice discussion. I loved reading those comments. Made me re-think some of the feelings I had about the book. I think it's even better, now, than I had thought before!


Excellent discussion. I see (from Suzie and Kobus's comments to Michael on Aug 16) that some of you are policemen - or at least work in the SA Police Service - and started your discussion on the SAPS Facebook site, then all decided to review the book on Goodreads. What a great idea. I''d be fascinated to know more about how the book reflects your reality. What a crazy country you live in! (Sorry, I mean that in the best possible sense). Great discussion. Thank you. Makes me definitely want to read the other books in the series.


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