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Saturday, May 7, 2022


Although sometimes a little ponderous in its style “The Heist Men” is an exciting story, and the book is one you don’t want to put down. (Review by Keith Millar)

Fans of crime thrillers take note, there is a new protagonist on the block. Created by South African author Andrew Brown, Eberhard Februarie is a hard-bitten Cape Town Detective Inspector (he is promoted to Captain quite early in this story).

The Heist Men marks the third appearance of Februarie in an Andrew Brown book after Coldsleep Lullaby and Solace. Brown has written five novels in all and is a winner of the Sunday Time Fiction Prize.

In Eberard Februarie, Brown has created an interesting character. In some ways he is stereotypical of fictional cop heroes. Disillusioned with life, drinks too much (probably an alcoholic), divorced and a poor father.

However, he is a multi-faceted personality, is a brilliant policeman, is striving to do better and all in all is quite a likable person.

In The Heist Men, Februarie is appointed second in command to a new unit which is set up to solve a rash of cash in transit heists which is plaguing Cape Town. These heists are carried out with maximum efficiency and military precision.

He must deal with these dangerous gangsters while also trying to come to terms with a boss who is an ex-apartheid security cop and also trying to work out if there is a mole in the unit and who it may be.

Co-ordinating the heists is an extremely bitter young man by the name of Andile Xaba. His story plays a major part in the narrative of the story. A very intelligent young man he was brought up by a mother who was the maid for wealthy people.

They paid for him to attend a model C school and made promises about university until they suddenly emigrated, leaving Xaba and his mother with financial problems.

Many of the social ills besetting the Cape Flats and Townships of Cape Town are highlighted with some depth through Xaba’s story. It makes frightening reading as we are all aware that this part of the story is not fiction and is a reality of our country.

Also running in the background, weaved into the narrative is a love story. It adds a different dimension amidst the violence and dismay of a serious police investigation.

Although sometimes a little ponderous in its style The Heist Men is an exciting story, and the book is one you don’t want to put down. I find that the fact that the book is set in South Africa and deals with issues happening in our country every day adds an extra gravitas to the story.

The characters are all very real and quintessentially South African. The style is not dissimilar to that of Deon Meyer. In fact, at one point Februarie has a meeting with Meyer’s cop hero Bennie Grisel for some sage advice.

I would heartily recommend The Heist Men as a good read, particularly to the fans of crime thrillers. – Keith Millar