Set in the corrupt, unforgiving world of apartheid South Africa, the sensational new novel in the Detective Emmanuel Cooper series follows Cooper as he faces a test of loyalty and friendship.
Six days before Christmas, Cooper sits at his desk at Johannesburg’s Marshall Square station, ready for his holiday in Mozambique. A call comes in: a respectable, white couple has been beaten and left for dead in their bedroom. The couple’s teenage daughter identifies the attacker as Aaron Shabalala – the youngest son of Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala – Cooper’s best friend and a man to whom he owes his life.
The Detective Branch isn’t interested in evidence that might contradict their star witness’s story – especially so close to the holidays. Determined to ensure justice for Aaron, Cooper, Shabalala and their trusted friend Dr Daniel Zweigman hunt down the truth. Their investigation uncovers a violent world of Sophiatown gangs, thieves and corrupt police detectives who will do anything to keep their dark world intact . . .
Praise for the work of Malla Nunn
‘Pitch-perfect … What makes Cooper such an interesting (and excellent) detective is his ability to straddle the divide that separates class, race and cultures. But it’s a perilous balancing act. Nunn’s achievement is to keep us caring about the consequences if Cooper loses his footing. Present Darkness manages the tension beautifully.’ Sue Turnbull, The Sydney Morning Herald
‘Nunn’s descriptions of the impoverished township where the suspects live are particularly moving, but the true toll of apartheid is conveyed effectively throughout. Superlative.’ Publishers Weekly, starred review
‘Malla Nunn’s books have it all: fast-paced, intricate story lines; an exotic setting in a dangerous era; a deeply flawed hero; and an Oscar-worthy cast of supporting characters.’ Bookpage
‘An engrossing and compelling read . . . saturated with the feel of 1950s South Africa.’ Mike Nicol, author of the Revenge trilogy
‘Crime writers understand how place exposes character, but the best, like Nunn, explore the idea that place is also fate. Nunn sets her characters brilliantly within a complex psychological portrayal of a particular place and time.’ Graeme Blundell, The Australian
‘Casual and institutional racism form a fascinating backdrop for the action, giving readers a feel for how apartheid actually looked and felt to those on both sides of the color line.’ Kirkus Reviews