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Stolen Lives

Cover of Stolen Lives

Stolen Lives

A Jade de Jong Investigation Set in South Africa
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When wealthy Pamela Jordaan hires PI Jade de Jong as a bodyguard after her husband Terrance disappears, Jade thinks keeping an eye on this anxious wife will be an easy way to earn some cash. But when a...
When wealthy Pamela Jordaan hires PI Jade de Jong as a bodyguard after her husband Terrance disappears, Jade thinks keeping an eye on this anxious wife will be an easy way to earn some cash. But when a...
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Description-
  • When wealthy Pamela Jordaan hires PI Jade de Jong as a bodyguard after her husband Terrance disappears, Jade thinks keeping an eye on this anxious wife will be an easy way to earn some cash. But when a determined shooter nearly kills them both and Jade finds Terrance horrifically tortured and barely alive, she realizes that she has been drawn into a wicked game.

    At the same time, her relationship with police superintendent David Patel is on the rocks, and things only get more complicated when his son is kidnapped and his wife is blackmailed. It soon becomes clear that the kidnapping and the attempted killings of Pamela and her husband are tied to a human trafficking ring that stretches from Johannesburg to London.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Detective Constable Edmonds saw the running man just a half second before the unmarked car she was travelling in hit him. A slightly built man, dark-skinned and dark-clad in a tight fitting jersey and a beanie. He burst out of the shadows behind a flyover and sprinted straight across the a 12, fists pumping, head bowed against the gusting rain, splashing through the puddles on the tarmac as if he were running for his life.
    "Look out!" Edmonds shouted from the back seat, but Detective Sergeant Mackay, who was driving, had seen the man, too.
    "Hang on, people."
    A shriek of brakes, and then the car reached the puddle of water that had pooled on the tarmac and went into a skid. Edmonds' seatbelt yanked hard against her chest, squeezing the breath out of her in spite of the regulation Kevlar vest she was wearing under her jacket. She grabbed the seat in front of her, and a moment
    later her hand was squashed into the padded fabric by the larger, tougher palm of bulky Sergeant Richards, who was also bracing for the crash.
    The car slewed sideways, and Mackay swore as he fought for control. Through the spattered windscreen Edmonds saw the running man look, too late, in their direction. He flung out a hand in defence, and Edmonds' heart leapt into her mouth when she heard a loud metallic thunk that seemed to shake the car. The man stumbled heavily and went down, sprawling onto his side. But before Edmonds could even conceptualise the thought--is he hurt?--he got up again and set off at a shaky jog. He scrambled over the crash barrier on the opposite side of the road and disappeared from sight.
    He didn't so much as glance behind him.
    The tyres regained their purchase on the road and Mackay slowed to a stop.
    "Jesus," Richards said. "What the hell was that all about?" Nobody answered. For a moment the only noise was the ticking of the hazard lights, which Mackay had activated, and the flick of the wipers. Water splashed up as a car drove by in the fast lane, the motorist oblivious to what had just occurred. Then Richards looked down and saw that his hand was covering Edmonds'. "Oh. Sorry," he said, and removed it.
    Mackay pulled over into the emergency lane, and two of the men climbed out and shone a flashlight into the darkness where the running man had vanished.
    "He's nowhere in sight. Must have gone into that park over there." The detective who had been sharing the back seat with Edmonds and Richards climbed back in, and once again Edmonds found herself squashed, sardine-like, between the car door and the warm bulk of Richards' thigh.
    "He's lucky you were wide awake." The detective sitting next to Mackay shunted the passenger seat forward for the second time that trip, in an attempt to give Edmonds a couple of inches more leg room.
    "Lucky anybody is at this hour," Mackay said. "And that it's so quiet tonight." He let out a deep breath, then checked his mirrors and pulled onto the road again.
    "But we hit him," Edmonds said. She could hear the unsteadiness in her own voice as she spoke, and she hoped the other detectives would put it down to reaction after their near-accident, rather than nervousness about what lay ahead. "Do you think he's all right?"
    Mackay nodded. "He'll have a sore arm tomorrow, I should think. Nothing we can do about it now. I'll write it up when I make the report."
    "Better hope you don't have a dent in the bonnet, or you'll be writing that up as well," Richards observed, and all the men laughed. Another clicking of the indicator, and they...

About the Author-
  • Jassy Mackenzie was born in Rhodesia and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She lives in Kyalami near Johannesburg and edits and writes for the annual publication Best of South Africa.

Reviews-
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch "With danger and mayhem at every turn--and Mackenzie provides plenty of twists--Stolen Lives is a page turner of superior power. Its shocking conclusion leaves the reader breathless--and eagerly awaiting the next installment in Jade's life."
  • Toronto Globe and Mail "The second Jade de Jong novel by Jassy Mackenzie is every bit as vivid and violent as the first. Mackenzie's turf is Johannesburg, in the new South Africa, but she has a much more jaded view than writers like Deon Meyer.... Mackenzie's roots are in the grit and grime of noir fiction, but she gives the old style a twist all her own."
  • Library Journal, Starred Review "Mackenzie offers insight into postapartheid South Africa, an area of the world unfamiliar to most U.S. mystery buffs. For those readers who like Sara Paretsky and Lynda La Plante and fans of international crime fiction."
  • Sophie Littlefield, Anthony Award--winning author of A Bad Day for Sorry "Jassy Mackenzie's followup to Random Violence delivers on all fronts that matter: dextrous pacing, unflinching action, and stark, brave compassion in the clutch. South Africa comes alive on the page, but it's no travel-guide version--the Jo'burg skyline and dusty shops, the embassy offices and dreary mine-dumps--even the pristine suburbs pulse with dark energy. Jade de Jong is a heroine to cherish: tough, passionate, and pocked with enough flaws to keep her interesting."
  • ForeWord Reviews "Gripping.... Stolen Lives is as thought-provoking and socially conscious as it is suspenseful.... Without preaching, this book should cause readers to care, and perhaps even get involved in fighting the sex trafficking industry. A fascinating read with a strong heart."
  • Publishers Weekly "Under Mackenzie's deft hand, Jo'berg and Jade crackle with frenetic energy."
  • Kirkus Reviews "Jade's sophomore adventure (Random Violence, 2010) provides a crackling pace and nonstop action ... Mackenzie's Johannesburg is as gritty and dangerous as noir L.A. or the drug meccas of South America."
  • Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review "A hard edged first novel ... Even as Mackenzie captures Johannesburg's 'crazy boomtown energy,' she doesn't shy away from the rough stuff. None of which, it should be said, is quite rough enough to scare this remarkable new sleuth, whose future exploits should be worth watching."
  • Richmond Times-Dispatch "The heroic private investigator with a dark side is hardly a new concept, but Jassy Mackenzie makes one her own in her debut novel.... Mackenzie, who has lived in South Africa from an early age, plays her hand deftly, with a page turner of a story, intriguing characters--Jade is particularly memorable--and a wealth of South African color, including its appalling racial history. At once brutal and beautiful, Random Violence leaves nothing to chance in hooking the reader."
  • Library Journal Starred Review: "South African writer Mackenzie has created a strong female character with amazing resilience, unusual friends, and incredible luck. This gripping first entry in a new crime series set in postapartheid South Africa should please readers of Zoë Sharp and Suzanne Arruda. Fans of other South African crime fiction by Deon Meyer, Roger Smith, and Malla Nunn will also want to try."
  • Publishers Weekly Starred Review: "Set in contemporary South Africa, Mackenzie's triumphant debut introduces PI Jade de Jong.... The plot has more than its fair share of nice twists, and Mackenzie does a superb job of making the reader care for her gutsy lead while offering a glimpse at life in South Africa after apartheid. Readers will wish Jade a long fictional career."
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Jassy Mackenzie
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