I received an advance e-book copy of A Death in the Family by Michael Stanley directly from the author in exchange for an honest review.
A Death in the Family is the fifth outing for Detective Kubu and is written by Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip (known together as Michael Stanley). I always find it mind boggling when more than one person has written a book as to how they can get on and make their ideas work together and yet these two are on their fifth book.
I've never read a Kubu book before but the synopsis sounded great and was exactly what I was in the mood for reading, When the weather turns cooler and autumn arrives, I love a good crime book. This book centres around the murder of Kubu's father and murders related to a mine expansion in a small town called Shoshong. We follow Kubu as he deals with the grief of losing his father and trying to keep away from that investigation (and failing) while trying to concentrate on the murder of an official and the troubles in Shoshong,
The story was really well written and full of twists and turns which worked perfectly without feeling shoehorned or pasted together. The characters are all really well formed and I really loved Kubu, he felt very real and you felt his emotions with him. His relationship with his family and his mother is portrayed beautifully as well and it was nice to see a strong family that loved each other and got on with each other, Seeing a detective with a wife and family that was together was really good to see for a change, I think my favourite character however is Jacob Mabaku, the Director of the Botswana CID. He is exactly the kind of boss you want, someone who respects you but is willing to put you in your place when it's needed. He came across as a really nice man but a complete badass,
Before reading this my knowledge of Botswana was a complete zero. Throughout the book I learnt so much about the country and about its culture, and it incredibly interesting. I felt that all the cultural references and explanations fit smoothly into a crime novel and it really gave a sense of the country the book is set in. I also think the fact the Kubu in Setswana (one of the languages spoken in Botswana) means hippopotamus is fantastic, it fits the character so perfectly, I definitely want to look into finding out more about this part of Africa in the future.
My only niggle about the book is that the bad guy felt a little stereotypical or cardboard cutout - actually I think I might go with panto villain, I wanted to scream "he's behind you" a few times. But really this doesn't take away from how well the rest of the book is written and how well thought out and plotted the storyline is.
Overall a really interesting and enjoyable read that I would recommend to anyone even if like me you haven't read a Detective Kubu book before, you can very easily just jump in on this book. I personally will also be seeking out the earlier books to read in the future.
A Death in the Family is out on October 27th 2015.
I started this book on the 11th of October and finished it on the 19th of October 2015
I gave this book 4.5 Stars on Goodreads