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Trackers: A Novel

Trackers: A Novel

Written by Deon Meyer

Narrated by Simon Vance


Trackers: A Novel

Written by Deon Meyer

Narrated by Simon Vance

ratings:
4/5 (15 ratings)
Length:
16 hours
Released:
Sep 6, 2011
ISBN:
9781611745542
Format:
Audiobook

Description

A Muslim attack in Cape Town? Too far-fetched. It can’t be true. So why is the Presidential Intelligence Agency so desperate to intercept a shipment? Why is the CIA bringing in its big guns? And why, if it’s only a rumor, is it having such violent consequences—on the life of Milla Strachan, a former housewife who just wanted to live a little dangerously; Lemmer, a freelance bodyguard turned reluctant smuggler; and former cop Mat Joubert, who’s working on his first case as a private eye? Before long, the trail of death stretches from the Chizarira to the Cape Waterfront.

In his eagerly awaited seventh novel, Meyer moves deftly among a brilliantly rendered cast of characters—farmers, outlaws, gangsters, intelligence agents—and delves deeply into the people, problems, and landscapes of South Africa.

Released:
Sep 6, 2011
ISBN:
9781611745542
Format:
Audiobook

About the author

Deon Meyer is voltyds skrywer en woon op Stellenbosch. Sy publikasies sluit in twaalf romans (Wie met vuur speel, 1994, Feniks, 1996, Orion, 2000, Proteus, 2002, Infanta, 2004, Onsigbaar, 2007, 13 Uur, 2008, Spoor, 2010, 7 Dae, 2011, Kobra, 2013, Ikarus, 2015 en Koors, 2016). Orion, Proteus en Infanta is met die ATKV-prosaprys bekroon.


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Reviews

What people think about Trackers

4.0
15 ratings / 15 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    Despite being almost 500 pages long, "Trackers" turned out to be a relative quick read. At the start I was unsure whether I would finish it or not, the plot was extremely slow and there were a huge cast of characters to get my head around, but suddenly the action picked up and the book became hard to put down. There were three distinct storylines focussing on the characters Milla, Lemmer and Matt, and it was only at the very end that the author brought the strands together, although I did want more of Milla and Lemmer's stories. I am not a big fan of the crime genre, but this was a good read.
  • (5/5)
    My 2nd Deon Meyer book - I enjoyed the first and really enjoyed this one. One of the key characters Lemmer returns from Blood Safari which is my other Meyers book.Acquired this on impulse as I'd just finished a serious N/F book, wanted an escape, and had enjoyed a spectacular (5 start) trip to S Africa earlier this year.Puzzled me for a while because it is 3 separate books and I wondered what had happened each time one of these stories started. They are connected at the end however, loosely but not inconclusively. Just a loose end that I suspect may arise in another future book.Great ans highly recommended read.
  • (3/5)
    3.0 out of 5 stars - Complicated South African thriller is difficult to wade through and understand on audio.The mystery is complex and involves three separate stories with a large cast of characters whose names I really never quite understood. Not seeing them in print made it more difficult to keep track of what was going on.Lemmer is an interesting character who gets involved in a plot that includes transporting stolen rhinos, smuggled diamonds and aiding or abetting terrorists. There are spies and counterspies, gangs, and a possible US CIA agent who connect in a multilayered plot with murderous results.I would probably have enjoyed this book more if I had read it rather than listened to it. The reader did a fairly good job of enunciating and pronouncing the names and unfamiliar places, but as no glossary came with the boxed CDs, it was hard to keep track.I doubt I'll read another by this author.
  • (1/5)
    at this time i was not able to connect to the story and the characters and just got completly confused and was not sure who is who. i think i will have to give it another try in a while because of all the good reviews.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed listening to this book but it was very different. It was more like three separate books in one. Each one overlapped but there really felt like 3 stories that had a link to each other. It was a little confusing at times especially when the story shifted. Each story was suddenly dropped as we followed the new thread. I had mixed feelings about the whole thing that is why it only got 3.5 stars.The story involved smuggling, terrorists, gangs, security guards, a lot of lies and deception. Lots and lots of stuff. It was also a very interesting look at South Africa and many of the facets of the country. The language was interesting and I am assuming that it was/is indicative of the South Africa. The author kept alternating between describing someone as black vs. colored. Other such things kept ones attention. Lots of words and phrases were used that would be common for the different groups. The whole book was pretty violent and did not show South Africa nor most of southern Africa in a very positive light. I'm actually interested in learning more about the country after reading this book. Overall, it was well written and kept my attention from beginning to end and I think it is a worth while thriller, especially for those who might have an interest in South Africa.
  • (5/5)
    This was a book that I simply could not put down. The three stories making up the book seemed unrelated at first and a bit confusing with all the characters introduced, but I knew that they all had to come together in the end. As I got nearer the end I became concerned as to how these stories would be tied together in so few pages and this was part of the suspense of this thriller. I enjoyed the book all the more because of the setting and names which were local to me, rather than being set in some country with which i am unfamiliar. It is a fast, action-packed thriller which held my attention all the way through.As a South African I have now become an avid fan of Deon Meyer. I wonder if his cook book is just as exciting!
  • (3/5)
    Three stories interweave in this complex book about various types of 'trackers' in South Africa. The book takes a while to get started; the first chapters filled with too much information and characters, but if you stick with the book, you'll be rewarded with Meyer's great characters and interesting storylines. The connection between the stories is flimsy however and the reader is left until the end of the book to find what holds the stories together. I would have rated this higher if it had been seperate books!
  • (4/5)
    I received an audio version of this book from Library Thing and was a little intimidated by the 16 hour run time; I guess I should have gone for a road trip. The author was unknown to me but I am going to look into his other work. This is one of those books that is essentially 3 stories that are all related in some way. I liked the characters and the pace of the book as it never left me board. It was very engaging and I ended up just stopping what I was doing for the last hour or so for the conclusion, which was satisfying, but left unanswered questions. I would hope that future projects shed some light on these. Well worth the time. As a fan of thrillers this was a bit out of the ordinary with the setting in a very foreign place and the stories very focused with a little current events tossed in.
  • (5/5)
    Deon Meyer's Trackers tells his complex and tension filled story using a plot structure that I haven't encountered before, and it worked extremely well. Early on we meet Milla, a fortyish under-appreciated homemaker who walks out, and lands a job with a South African intelligence agency as an assistant/analyzer. The case with which she becomes involved includes every imaginable kind of bad guy (terrorists, mafioso, corrupt politicians, gangs etc.) each with an interest in the prize - but it's not exactly clear what the prize is. This is all complicated by the fact that the agency for which she works is fighting for its political survival, as are its top leaders. Part two focuses on Lemmer whom we have met in previous Meyer novels. He still lives in the wilderness fringes with his new lover. Lemmer is engaged to ride shotgun as two rhinos are transported cross border to his client's farm. But they, including the mysterious Flea, are waylaid by some of the guys we met in book one. Lemmer survives and vows to track down his assailants. Part Three focuses on retired cop, Mat Joubert, now an investigator for a large PI firm. He is engaged on finding a missing husband, a seemingly good guy who has vanished for no apparent reason. We learn more and more of what the prize is and how all the pieces and bad guys fit together as we move though the three parts. There is a lengthy prologue which ties together the final missing pieces. A very excellent read, one which you don't want to end. My only critical comment is that I thought Milla's contributions throughout were a real stretch, and I was tempted to knock this down to a 4.5 - but the story is just too good. Maybe we'll see some of these characters in future books (?)
  • (5/5)
    I have to be honest and admit that, before reading this book, I had never heard of Deon Meyer. That was to my detriment, not his. ' Trackers' is one of those books that builds, not to one, but to several pinnacles; for this is, at least, three books in one. Stories that seem to be unconnected but all of which end in a single denouement.Myers, far from being South Africa's answer to Stieg Larsson (the "boast" on the cover), is a talent in his own right. The stories always stay, just, on the right side of believable, and draw one into a world that, certainly to me, is alien. His characters are sufficiently rounded to appear real, without the need for pages of superfluous background. Each one is deftly painted and each different - there are no template characters here. My bete noire in so many recent crime and thriller books is the language: so many authors feel that if every noun is not accompanied by an expletive adjective, then the realism is missing. Mr Meyer disproves this theory. He is not afraid to insert language which I would rather not repeat here, but I never found it to intrude. It was not used to "shock" the reader.At 475 pages, this is quite a chunk, for a thriller, but the book never drags: indeed, the test of a good book is that it leaves one wanting more and I, for one, would not have complained were this novel to have continued for a further hundred, or two, pages. I started this review by saying that I had not heard the name Deon Meyer; I shall end it by adding the fact that I shall not forget it again - this is a very talented author!
  • (4/5)
    Trackers is a fast-paced thriller with an absurdly large cast of characters, including Al Qaeda terrorists, smugglers, poachers, street gangs, intelligence analysts, police, private investigators and disaffected housewives.Set primarily in South Africa in the days preceding the 2010 World Cup, Trackers consists of three seemingly distinct story lines; Milla Strachan, an unhappy housewife who leaves her husband and starts a new life as an analyst for the Presidential Intelligence Unit (PIU?), Lemmer, a professional bodyguard hired to smuggle and endangered black rhino safely out of Zimbabwe and Mat Joubert, a retired policeman turned private eye working his first case, the hunt for a missing bus company supervisor.What I enjoyed most about reading this book was trying to figure out how these three story lines could possible come together in the end as I figured they must. Meyer was extremely tightfisted with clues and none of the tree subplots seemed to have anything to do with the others. He did such a great job of developing the characters that I often felt frustrated when he switched to a different story line (Wait! Tell me more about…). While he did a great job of tying most of the loose strings together in the end, there were a few major plot lines that I think got short shrift in the author’s haste to wrap up the story. If you are going to take your readers for such a wild and complicated ride, you owe it to them to tie things together neatly in the end.While Trackers is supposedly a stand-alone novel, there are indications that readers may see more of private investigator Mat Joubert and that would suit me just fine.This review is of the unabridged audio recording by Englishman Simon Vance, a prolific narrator best known for his work on Steig Larsson’s Millennium trilogy and Patrick O’Brian’s Jack Aubrey series. I personally believe I would have gotten more out of this book had I read it rather than listened to it, mainly because the story frequently changed story lines and points of view. While such changes are easy to mark in text by inserting a blank row, it is harder to catch in audio recordings unless the narrator is skilled enough to distinctly portray many different characters. This is not intended to be a slight against the author or narrator, merely a statement of personal preference.The review copy of this book was obtained from the publisher via the LibraryThing Early Review Program.
  • (4/5)
    It’s hard to know how to talk about TRACKERS without giving away too many of the book’s surprises which come from both story and structure so I shall err on the side of caution. I don’t think it’s letting too much out of the bag to say that there are three distinct books here, and though the reader assumes the stories will eventually intertwine most connections are not made until almost the very end so you are really reading three independent stories. While this maintains suspense it does require more than the usual amount of small-detail retention on the part of the reader, something that proved quite challenging with the audio version of the book.

    The first and most prominent of the three stories centres around a woman called Milla Strachan who, when we meet her, is just coming to the decision to leave her violent, philandering husband and their boorish, spoiled son. Although she trained to be a journalist she has not worked for many years and struggles to find a job until she spies a small newspaper advertisement. That leads to a report-writing job with a government agency. In the second book we meet a young freelance bodyguard called Lemmer who is hired for the seemingly innocuous job of escorting two endangered rhinos being smuggled into the country from Zimbabwe on behalf of a wealthy and slightly dodgy farmer. In the final book of TRACKERS we follow the trail of former policeman Mat Joubert as he starts his new job as a private investigator and takes on the case of a missing husband whose wife is unsatisfied with what she perceives to have been a fairly cursory investigation by police.

    All three stories are compelling in their own right though I have to admit to finding the first one a little tough-going in parts. Although the audio narration was excellent I found the very complicated plot a little hard to follow in this format and did have to rewind quite a bit which is something I very rarely need to do. I had no such problems with the other two books within this book and perhaps for that reason I enjoyed those two stories slightly more than the first.

    There are several elements which link the books, the most obvious being that each depicts some version of tracking; be it people, animals, objects or something less tangible. This could have been clumsy in a less talented author’s hands but Meyer is a terrific storyteller and manages to use this device almost without the reader noticing it’s being done. Another theme common to the stories is that the main character in each one is at something of a crossroads in his or her life and the events cause, or force, them to learn something not entirely comfortable about their own makeup. Milla Strachan’s case is probably the most dramatic of the three but these threads are all fascinating and provide part of the depth of this book.

    The remainder of that depth comes from the other thing which links the books which is the ever-present commentary on life in modern South Africa. It is almost as if Meyer has written a non-fiction book underneath the fictional one in which he is depicting a year in the life of his country. Setting the main part of the story in the time leading up to the country’s hosting of the football (soccer) world cup offers scope to show how the country and its residents want to be seen on the all-important international stage, while the disparate stories within TRACKERS allow a broad cross-section of ‘routine’ lives to be depicted which helps readers build up a real picture of the country today. Again it is something you almost don’t notice until the book is finished when you suddenly realise you have such a detailed picture of the place that you feel like you could walk into the pages and feel at home.

    I think I’ve only scratched the surface of all that is good about TRACKERS so can only recommend you read the book for yourselves, though I’d only recommend the audio format to seasoned listeners. It is an intelligent, compelling thriller with a fantastic range of characters and an absorbing sense of place. At a time when many successful writers seem content to write the same book over and over again Meyer is to be applauded for continuing to stretch himself and his readers.

    My rating 4.5 stars
  • (5/5)
    Deon Meyer’s Trackers is an ingenious hybrid novel that marries the spy thriller to the private detective mystery with stunning success. Set in Cape Town, South Africa, the complex plot merges issues of global significance with the individual struggles of various Cape Town residents.Trackers balances its narrative on a tripod of characters: Milla Strachan, aggrieved housewife who becomes a intelligence researcher for the PIA (Presidential Intelligence Agency) which is fighting to survive in a hostile political climate; Lemmer, on parole after serving time for manslaughter, now a bodyguard with Body Armour; and Mat Joubert, former police officer now working for Jack Fischer and Associates, a very successful private investigation firm. Each of these characters has a part to play in an international event involving an Islamic terrorist group under surveillance in Cape Town and a mysterious shipment of some unknown valuable cargo that will be smuggled into South Africa by the terrorists. While Milla is an official player in this game of intrigue, Lemmer and Joubert are unwitting participants with their own agendas. Together, their separate stories form the pieces of a puzzle with many moving parts, including South African and U.S. intelligence agencies, black rhinos smuggled in from Zimbabwe, the international shipping industry, and a missing husband. Meyer employs a variety of styles to emphasize the shifting nature of the unfolding drama. From straight narrative to staccato intelligence reports to excerpts from Milla's personal journal, the author supplies a constant onslaught of tantalizing information that commands the reader's attention. Additionally, quotes from a tracker's manual announce major shifts in the action. And, while Strachan's and Joubert's narratives use the third-person, Lemmer's first-person account adds slightly more weight to his character. The clever end to this very thrilling tale also suggests that we will hear more from Lemmer, as well as Joubert, in the future novels. This review is based on the very excellent audio production narrated by Simon Vance who skillfully navigates the shifting narrative terrain with an accent that adds a delicious flavor to this must-read thriller.
  • (3/5)
    (unabridged audiobook read by Simon Vance, translated by K.L. Seegers; 16 hours on 14 CDs): Recently divorced housewife Milla gets a job writing reports for the South African government. She doesn't know what she's writing for; she's given a subject to research and some additional intelligence and compiles it into a coherent story. When she meets one of the subjects of her reports and falls in love, things get really complicated. Lemmer is a paroled bodyguard who is asked to watch over the transport of a couple of endangered black rhinos. Mat is an ex-police private detective searching for a woman's husband who suddenly went missing several months before. Yenina is a high-ranking government official attempting to intercept a mysterious shipment planned by some religious extremists. What do these all have to do with each other? Honestly, even after finishing the book, I'm not entirely certain. Milla's story had me cheering her on despite the somewhat morally ambiguous circumstances surrounding her. Lemmer was amusing but his story felt unfinished; however, I understand this was not the first Lemmer book and probably not the last, so I can live with that. I was pretty lost for the entire detective story, and the epilogue really didn't illuminate much for me. I was fascinated to learn more about South African history and culture, and as I said, Milla's story was very good. It just felt more like separate stories set in the same universe rather than one coherent novel. Perhaps something was lost in translation.A note on the audio: I’ve enjoyed Vance’s narration of several other books, and this was no exception. However, it did cause me to discover something: you know how in the Matrix movies, Agent Smith (played by Hugo Weaving) talks kind of … strangely? Turns out that’s Weaving’s attempt at an American accent. I only know this because Vance is British as the day is long, and all his American characters talk like Agent Smith. It’s rather unintentionally hilarious, but luckily did not detract from my enjoyment of the story. I guess not all British people can be Hugh Laurie. :)
  • (5/5)
    I found TRACKERS a challenging book to read but all my "problems" are probably minor when you consider what Deon Meyer has attempted to do, and succeeded in doing. The book's length and structure create complexity.Another reviewer talks about the roller coaster ride you get when the novel presents a series of seemingly disconnected events that involve rhino smuggling, gang warfare, the FIFA soccer tournament and Al-Qaeda threats, and then get muddled up with intelligence gathering. The reader knows that somehow all of these things must jell together and it is almost with a sigh of relief that you welcome a familiar face, Mat Joubert, Bennie Griessel's boss in earlier books. You just know if anyone can get you out of this mental mess, then Mat can.The novel is set in a South Africa that has "gone wrong". Mat Joubert for example has resigned from a police force that he feels has lost its way, where he has become an insignificant and ineffective cog, but he comes to realise his new job is no better. But when he was inside, the last two, three years, another kind of loss had slowly overcome him –a disillusionment, a disappointment, a powerlessness, a realisation of potential leaking away, possibilities lost. He, who had been so positive to begin with, who believed the police service could get better, could adapt to the new challenges, new realities. He had supported the ideal wholeheartedly and enthusiastically, the ideal of a SAPS which reflected the population demographic, which deployed affirmative action to cancel out old injustices, which transformed to a proud, effective, modern instrument of government. Only to see how it was slowly poisoned by politics and good intentions and haste and stupidity. And, in the end, by greed and corruption. And when he spoke up, when he warned and advised and pleaded, they marginalised him, pushed him out of the pack, made it clear that they no longer had any use for him. A lifetime’s work. For nothing. No, no, he mustn’t think like that. Take the case of Milla Strachan, a housewife, once trained as a journalist, but on the sidelines with home duties for twenty years. Gets a job with a government agency that assembles "intelligence" reports. Those who employ her have an agenda in their recruitment - they really want people who won't ask questions, despite the important nature of their work. “You do realise, we are all rejects,” said Jessica the Goddess as she poured more red wine, her words fuzzy from the alcohol. “All those questions you answered during the interviews, all the psycho-babble like ‘are you an ambitious person?’, it’s all bullshit. All they wanted to know was, are you a reject. They like that. A lost cause, an outsider. Damaged goods, well isolated.”And as a result their reports become misinformation. Those at the writing level often see connections but their incompetent managers jump to the wrong conclusions and innocent people are credited with traitorous intent and become the target of surveillance and expensive "operations".There's a lot to think about in TRACKERS. It is as if Deon Meyer has all these ideas boiling inside him - things he must write about - but only an annual book to do it in. This gives TRACKERS a voice that goes beyond crime fiction.