Review: Deadly Harvest by Michael Stanley

Posted May 1, 2013 by in Book Reviews / 6 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher / TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Deadly Harvest by Michael StanleyDeadly Harvest (Detective Kubu #4) by Michael Stanley
Published by Harper Paperbacks on April 30, 2013
Genres: Crime Fiction, Fiction, Mystery
Format: Paperback
Pages: 496
Source: the publisher / TLC Book Tours

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In Botswana, Africa, young girls are going missing after getting into cars with mysterious men. Detectives David “Kubu” Bengu and Samantha Khama have been charged with finding the girls…or finding out what has happened to them. Have they been abducted for sale as servants or sex slaves, or have they been murdered for muti–a traditional African medicine made by witch doctors, usually derived from plants and sometimes animals? Recent evidence suggests the latter, but it is almost impossible to bring powerful witch doctors to justice in a country where they are still believed in and feared. When an albino man goes missing, Kubu and Samantha find themselves in a race to catch the people behind these disappearances before they can strike again.

As the “Author’s Note” at the back of the book explains, although Deadly Harvest is a crime fiction novel, it is “set on a background of reality” pertaining to a small portion of very powerful witch doctors who use their influential positions in societies throughout sub-Saharan Africa to get away with using human body parts to make a more powerful muti than the traditional healing kind made from plants and (sometimes) animals. I found this interesting and educational because I had no idea that stuff like this still happens in different parts of the world. It’s pretty scary (and maddening) to think that these witch doctors usually get away with what they are doing because of the religious/superstitious fear they instill in people.

Deadly Harvest is (I think) the fourth book in the Detective Kubu series written by Michael Stanley (writing duo Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip), but it can easily be read as a standalone novel without any kind of confusion or background history. The mystery is straightforward but intriguing; the story flows nicely from point to point, but it isn’t immediately apparent whodunit. Stanley kept me guessing for at least two-thirds of the book–which is important to me when I’m reading a mystery–and even when I thought I had the bad guy pegged, I still wasn’t sure until close to the end why or how it all added up. For me, that makes the mystery in Deadly Harvest a good one.

I was a little leery of Detective Kubu at first (for a few reasons) but as the story progressed and I came to understand him better, he really grew on me and I ended up liking him quite a bit. I really like Samantha, the new detective that has been added to the series; Samantha is all about women’s equality in a society that still carries traditional views of women and the roles they are expected to play. She’s awesome. I think Kubu and Samantha balance each other out nicely and make a good team.

I really enjoyed reading Deadly Harvest, both for the good mystery it provided and for the new things that I learned in the process. I will definitely be reading more of the Detective Kubu series in the future. Recommended.

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