When the body of a Bushman is discovered near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the death is written off as an accident. But all is not as it seems. An autopsy reveals that, although he's clearly very old, his internal organs are puzzlingly young. What's more, an old bullet is lodged in one of his muscles ... but where is the entry wound? When the body is stolen from the morgue and a local witch doctor is reported missing, Detective 'Kubu' Bengu gets involved. But did the witch doctor take the body to use as part of a ritual? Or was it the American anthropologist who'd befriended the old Bushman?
As Kubu and his brilliant young colleague, Detective Samantha Khama, follow the twisting trail through a confusion of rhino-horn smugglers, foreign gangsters and drugs manufacturers, the wider and more dangerous the case seems to grow.
Dying to Live is the sixth book in the Detective Kubu series from the writing duo Michael Stanley but it was my first venture into their writing and what a delightful series to have discovered. I'm not really a fan of reading books in series out of sync as I generally prefer to read a series from the beginning to get a sense and feel of the characters and their background, but even though this was a standalone and could be read on its own merit, there was a brief bio for the central characters at the beginning of the book which certainly helped.
Detective Kubu and his colleague Samantha have been assigned two cases, the mysterious death of the old man on the Game Reserve and the investigation into a missing witch doctor, but as soon as they start investigating their respective cases it becomes clear that they are somehow connected. As one clue seemingly takes them in one direction, another takes them in a completely different direction as their paths cross with criminal masterminds who are determined to stay one step ahead of being caught.
I enjoyed seeing the dynamics of the two central characters Kubu and Samantha as they worked together to solve their respective cases, there seemed to be a genuine respect between the two of them. It was also nice to see the softer side of Kubu when he was with his family especially when his daughter is seriously ill so he has that to worry about as well as trying to do his job.
Although there were a few cultural references regarding the practice of witch doctors and smuggling, plus local dialect sprinkled throughout the story, they didn't detract from my enjoyment of reading this wonderfully crafted story of mystery and intrigue.
I'm always intrigued when I hear that an author is actually a writing duo as I often wonder how the dynamics work to enable them to work together to seemlessly tell a tale for us readers to savour and enjoy, and after having finished reading Dying to Live I can say that their partnership really works so now I just need to find time to go back to the beginning to read the rest of the series.