Jakkalssomer, Die | Crime & Thriller
Die jakkalssomer is Dirk Jordaan’s prose debut – a detective novel that not only leads readers into a dark labyrinth of mysteries that leaves them breathless, but also wrestles with highly relevant South African issues. The novel is South African to the core, and as far as quality is concerned it has blue blood.
Four bodies are found in the Eastern Cape, and the shallow grave also contains an AK47. These can only be apartheid murders, but there are no indications or reports that can shed light on the identities of the victims. For the local police this is too much – it looks like a case for Capt. De Villiers Pelser from the National Prosecuting Authority, the police unit tasked with these types of crimes.
Div Pelser is a man typically shaped by recent South African history. Or perhaps not so typically. He is a policeman with a social conscience. His participation in TRC investigations opened his eyes to a part of the local reality from which his conservative background had excluded him, and how he is seriously committed to a task he views as part of the attempt to heal the wounds of the past. But his journey to investigate the Eastern Cape murders leads him back to the past in a way that he, with his noble intentions, could not have foreseen. It is as though he must walk back along the new road he has taken, blindfolded and feeling his way along to discover its true nature. And he encounters more murders, and more than one attempt on his own life. He also encounters numerous old jackals in new coats.
His investigation then leads him to ANC training camps elsewhere in Africa. He picks up the trail of the Jackal, the codename of one of the most feared commanders of MK, the ANC’s military wing at the time. He wrestles with the suspicion that this Jackal’s new lair is the headquarters of the South African Police, and that he is busy eroding the cornerstone of the society that he now believes in with such conviction.
The trail eventually leads to a deserted farm north of Pretoria. It is here that all the clues, all the suspicions and all the hope are drawn together into a bloody noose. Here the sun sets on a godforsaken landscape, and no one can say whether the trail of blood is that of the detective, or of the Jackal.