by Kathleen Costa
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and a link to purchase it from Amazon. Michael Stanley recently did a fun guest post for KRL about writing this book.
Gotta Start Somewhere
Every great detective started somewhere. Detective David “Kubu” Bengu had that defining moment when, as a new detective sergeant, he became involved in a large diamond heist and multiple murder investigation (Facets of Death). Many of his colleagues were suspicious of the young hefty man assigned to Botswana’s Criminal Investigation Department straight out of university, but his insights were key and put him on the path to promotion and a brilliant career. The nickname Kubu, Setswanan for hippopotamus, seems fitting due to his physical attributes and introspective manner, and as with his namesake as one of Africa’s most dangerous, so is “Kubu” with his dogged and determined acumen. He credits Bushman Khumanego, a school friend, for his keen observational skill and desire to be a detective.
Even after making a name for himself in the last case, Kubu is concerned about how to respond to Assistant Superintendent Mabaku inquiry about his caseload. “I’m a little bored” may be an honest response, but the lecture that police work is often boring requiring close scrutiny to details was an obvious retort. However, Kubu’s eagerness to do more may not be rewarded. His assignment appears to be another “boring” case, and it doesn’t come at the right time. He’ll need to cancel his Saturday lunch date with Joy Serome from Records. Her response to his canceling their date wasn’t what he’d hoped for which is a disappointment, but he has a job to do, one that just got interesting.
A Deadly Covenant Earns 5/5 Water Spirits & Secrets…Engaging Must Read!
The discovery of a skull in the backhoe was disturbing, but in the trench, it’s more shocking…dozens of bones of all shapes and sizes. The young operator is concerned that this undoubtedly would delay the irrigation project for a time, and he’d lose his pay, such as it is. The police finally arrive, notice the severity of the situation, and send for a CID detective from Gaborone. They, then, cordon off the area, set up security, and wait for the officials to arrive.
DS David “Kubu” Bengu and forensic pathologist Ian MacGregor arrive in Shakawe and start their investigation: photographing, measuring, and asking the gawkers if they have anything to share. One old woman has a cryptic response to Kubu’s questions. She says Mami Wata, the water spirit, doesn’t approve of her water being stolen, so she’s revealed the past. Another man offers something more concrete. Dibotelo is looking for his son who disappeared twenty-five years ago on the fifth of September, 1975. Kubu is intrigued and promises to look into it. However, the issue in front of them gets more complicated with the discovery of additional skeletons. There’s resistance from the local officials to delve deeper into the situation that delays an important water project, which itself is met with suspicion and protest, and few villagers are willing to share what they know. Dr. MacGregor’s findings are disturbing, but a more current murder, then another, and the appearance of a mysterious Bushman, requires more resources. Assistant Superintendent Mabaku arrives to head the inquiry as well as actively mentoring Kubu through this dangerous investigation to a shocking end.
Brilliant! The pair, known jointly as Michael Stanley, has brought to life Botswana’s flora and fauna, its days and nights, its culture, mythology, and superstition, and more than enough murder in this second prequel in their Detective Kubu Mysteries. The beautiful, yet diverse, natural world and rich culture lies amid deep prejudices, contentious protest, corruption, and secrets that precipitated murder then and murder now. The book, rightfully so, is long due its complex scope incorporating a tragic past, cold case missing persons, deadly revenge, a vast array of conspiracies, many fascinating cultural references, and several avenues of inquiry. The investigation has its typical obstacles, misdirection, and an intense anticipation of the final reveal, as well as delving deeper into the various personalities and motivations. What an outstanding read! A top contender for my Best of 2022!
The characters varied in age, gender, and temperament. Some good, some bad, some with honor, some without, some helpful, some stonewalling, some deep in superstition, some skeptical, but all extremely entertaining. DS Bengu is a different, yet refreshing, lead character, not one that is svelte and confident, or maybe even over confident, but he is flawed. His overweight stature garnered him the “Kubu” nickname, and despite on the surface being demeaning, he has embraced the moniker. Although he may be strengthening his confidence in his professional life, he struggles in his personal life often questioning others motives due his own insecurities. Despite this, he perseveres in his relationships and focuses brilliantly on his keen observational skills. I definitely like this character.
Helpful Bonuses! It is helpful to have ways to keep track of characters and a special language. The Cast of Characters list helps identify the many characters along with their positions or roles. The natural language is used, so a Glossary is also included.
Be a Big Michael Stanley Fan!
Michael Stanley is the name for the writing duo of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. They were both born in South Africa and love the unique surroundings, and their love of Botswana was the inspiration of this series. Although they’re both retired professors, their specialties differ providing a common ground as well as a contrast that suits them as authors. Their Detective Kubu series premiered with A Carrion Death (2009), which includes six novels and two prequels. For insights into their process, check out the KRL guest post 8/31/22 What We Expected Was All Wrong.
To enter to win either an ebook or print copy of A Deadly Covenant (winner’s choice), simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “covenant,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen September 24, 2022. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If entering via email please include your mailing address in case you win–we will delete it after the contest. BE SURE TO STATE IF YOU WANT PRINT OR EBOOK. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.
You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.