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Dying to Live

By Michael Stanley

Minotaur, 324 pages, $39.99

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This is the sixth novel from the African writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Once again it features Assistant Superintendant David "Kubu" Bengu of the Botswana police and once again, it's a terrific plot along with the well-developed characters and marvelous setting. In the dead of winter, this one opens in the Kalahari Desert with a dead bushman.

At first, the police aren't concerned. The bushman is obviously very old and probably died of age-related natural causes, but a young policeman, himself part bushman, sees more in the dead man. There were people with him and his neck isn't straight. So, off to Gaborone, where a pathologist agrees that the old man was killed but what's strange is that, despite his obvious great age, his internal organs are those of a far younger man. So he was murdered but he's also some sort of medical miracle.

Detective Kubu soon realizes there's far more to this case than a dead bushman and, using his very rational Western deduction, along with his knowledge of magic, tribal lore and African medicine, he soon finds himself confronting an evil far greater than the death of one old man.

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