7 Dae by Deon Meyer

9780798156219I can’t remember exactly when last I read Afrikaans fiction, but when a good friend of mine decided to pick out a book for me to read, he went with Deon Meyer’s 7 Dae (translation: 7 Days). Coming home from the library with the book in hand, my mother and her friend was thoroughly impressed, because 1) he is known as one of SA’s best Afrikaans authors and  2) they personally like his books.

7 Days is a crime fiction novel. Bennie Griessel has been promoted to the Hawks in the South African Police Service and his first project is a murder case. A young attorney, Hanneke Sloet, was murdered in her apartment, stabbed to death.  Following threats received by SAPS, they are being accused of covering up the murder and the person making the threats are sending emails quoting from the Bible, shooting policemen at random and believe that the reason for the cover up is that the murderer are politically well connected. He also accuses SAPS for accepting payment from said perpetrator. Needless to say, solving this murder case is quickly escalating in urgency and this puts the new Hawk, Bennie, under immense pressure. The truth is SAPS has no idea who the murderer is and Bennie is intimidated, because the more they think they are moving in the right direction with the investigation, they run into dead ends.

Bennie is also a recovering alcoholic and dating an Afrikaans singer, Alexa Barnard, who is trying to make a comeback – he met her in one of his AA meetings. I personally found Bennie to be an interesting character or maybe my favourite character in the book. Throughout the book we learn all aspects of his life: his struggle with sobriety and how his alcohol addiction lead to his divorce from his wife, how he copes with work and as a parent as well as how he takes the first steps into improving his life by staying sober, getting into a new relationship etc. What I personally found endearing about him is how he dealt with the fact that his daughter now has a new boyfriend, that his son wants to get a tattoo and how social media can assist in murder investigations. However, I didn’t really like Alexa, she was my least favourite character and to be honest, if she was left out of the story, it wouldn’t have taken much away from the storyline.

This was a really nice read for me and I was surprised about how much I liked it, because I don’t read a lot of crime fiction PLUS this was my first Afrikaans read in a really long time. I think that the story was well written and I loved that the setting was Cape Town, because it was familiar.  I also liked that the dialogue was written in English and Afrikaans, depending on who the character was.  To me the ending was a surprise, because nowhere in the storyline did I actually suspect the actual murderer. If you are a fan of Afrikaans fiction and enjoy crime novels, I say give Deon Meyer’s series a try. I believe that this isn’t the first book in the series, but you can read it independently.

This book was translated into English as “7 Days”, so if you don’t read Afrikaans, you can still pick up the English title!

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  • As someone who loves crime fiction, this is going to my wishlist. It will also be the first Afrikaans fiction I’m adding.

    • Are you planning on reading it in Afrikaans or English?

      • I’m from India so the only foreign language I know is English. But I’ve only read British authors so far and I think its time I started exploring other countries as well !

        • Oh wow. Sorry, I had to ask, because I went on your About page and couldn’t see where your location was. I love Indian culture, please to “meet” you.

  • Glad you liked it! Next one is lined up 😛

    • Next one by Deon Meyer, or any Afrikaans fiction. It was a nice read and because the setting is so familiar made it even more enjoyable. Thanks for recommending this one 🙂

  • Crime and me, not so much

    • I’m always only getting into reading crime fiction. I like to try all genres…

  • Sounds interesting! I’ve never read any books by Afrikaaners (is that the right term?) but I do have one lined up if I can find it:)

    • Which one is that? 🙂
      You’re right, “Afrikaners”

      • I had to check and now I don’t think he’s an Afrikaner owing to his name! It’s A Labour of Moles by Ivan Vladislavić , have you heard of it?

  • Good for you for going outside your comfort zone double on the same book – glad it ended up working out so well!

    • Thank you! Yes, I think I should read more in my own language.

  • I love crime fiction written in different countries, so this sounds like something I would enjoy very much.

    • I hope you are able to get hold of a copy, if you choose to read it. I’m new to reading crime fiction, but I like the ones I’ve read so far.

      • it will probably take some time to trickle down here I think.

        • It’s not a new release, so you might be lucky in finding it somewhere… 🙂

  • Deon Meyer is very popular here too. I never read his books though. Might have to pick one up at some point.

    • Wow, I didn’t know that!

  • This sounds like an interesting read. Even though the location is Cape Town, it sounds like Bennie would face some of the same types of things in America.

    • The reading experience were different, for sure.

  • This sounds like a interesting series. Your blog is gorgeous by the way!

  • booknaround

    I don’t know that I’ve ever read any Afrikaans literature. But I don’t think I can start with crime fiction, coward that I am.

    • Can you read in Afrikaans? I’m new to crime fiction as well 🙂