by Jassy Mackenzie
Review by Verna Suit
Soho Crime Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781616952211
Date: 16 April 2013 List Price $25.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK
South African PI Jade de Jong is hired by a futures trader to look into the allegedly accidental death of a woman with whom he had been "base jumping". The two had been parachuting off a skyscraper but the woman's parachute, which the trader himself had packed, didn't open.
It turns out the victim had worked for a non-profit organization that helps set up farming communities among South Africa's poor. Circumstances lead Jade to suspect that the organization is involved in something more sinister and that the woman's death was no accident. Jade's suspicions intensify when the dead woman's sister is snatched and unidentified men are intent on killing Jade herself.
A second story thread involves a recent widow named Ntombi, who is being forced to chauffeur around a paid killer. Ntombi's story is connected to Jade's investigation but it will take most of the book for the characters and the reader to realize how. Meanwhile, Jade and her ex-lover David Patel cautiously explore repairing their complex friendship.
This highly-satisfying fourth adventure in the Jade de Jong series is packed with action, danger and suspense. As with the other books, Pale Horses deals with a Big Issue that faces post-apartheid South Africa. In this case it is the twin issues of dispossession of property and efforts toward land reform. A third issue that potentially affects us all turns out to be key to the mystery and will cause you to never think the same about it again.