Detective Dave Malatsi is dealing with his own problems when he gets called to a remote lodge in the Natal mountains where a twenty-five-year school reunion has gone horribly wrong. Steve Carlton's body was discovered floating in the pool, stabbed twelve times.
As Malatsi investigates the murder, things become more and more tense for the guests now confined to the lodge. Everyone has a motive. Sixteen guests, sixteen suspects, one body. Who would want to kill Steve Carlton? The plot runs deeper than it appears on the surface. A storm has cut off access to and from the lodge, and there's a murderer lurking among them.
Everyone's lives are in danger as Malatsi battles against time and the elements to uncover a dark secret that threatens everyone trapped in the lodge.
TWELVE takes place in the beautiful Mkhomazi Wilderness, high up in the Drakensberg Mountains. If you've ever taken a trip over the Sani Pass, you'll have experienced the absolute splendour in this part of the world. The mountains roll on forever, and you get the sense of just how tiny and insignificant we are in comparison to the world around us. You can be completely alone with nature up there. And that's where sixteen old school friends find themselves. Alone and completely isolated.
TWELVE introduces Detective Dave Malatsi who is sent up to investigate the murder of one of the people attending the twenty-five year school reunion. You're not really sure whether this is a reward or punishment for the detective, and the moment you meet him in his 4x4 on the way to the mountain lodge, you get the sense that there's trouble in his private life. Being up there in the mountains doesn't help as Malatsi tries to hold everything together and get the job done.
When he arrives at the lodge, confronted by the guests and a body floating in the pool, the lone detective has his work cut out for him. Out here in the mountains, far from anywhere, it becomes immediately obvious that the murderer is one of the people in the room, and his job is to find out which one it is.
But tension quickly builds at the lodge as Malatsi begins his interviews with the witnesses, all of whom are suspects. One of them is a lawyer and insists on being the self-appointed legal counsel for everyone on Malatsi's list, making his job of finding the murderer even more complicated.
But before the detective breaks ground on his investigation, a storm sets in and cuts off all access to and from the lodge. There's a killer among them, and everyone is trapped. A dark secret threatens the lives of everyone, and Malatsi suddenly finds himself in a race against time to solve the mystery and find the killer before he kills again.
TWELVE is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing right to the end.
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The original idea for this book came to me about six years before I wrote it. I can't say too much here because it will give too much of the book away, but what I can say is that it was triggered by a real life event that I extrapolated in my mind. I actually remember saying to my wife that that's the kind of story that ends up turning someone into a killer some day.
I watch a lot of crime stories on TV. Believe it or not I watch a lot of TV. So much so that people who don't know how much I manage to achieve and produce would call me a useless couch potato if they walked into my living room any night of the week and found me in front of the TV. You can call it research. I am constantly overwhelmed by just how many crime stories there are out there, and how original and well laid out a new story has to be to maintain a reader's interest. There have to be plots within plots. Characters have to have a back story that is as compelling as the main plot.
In this story I've created more characters than in any of my other novels because you've got all these people trapped in the lodge, and any one of them could have done it.
People love a good mystery, and TWELVE is a mystery that's going to keep you guessing. I have a team of beta readers who get my books before they are ready for publishing, and every one of them had no idea who the killer was all the way through the book. It's dark and gritty, probably one of the most tense books I've written.
It certainly had me in a dark place the whole time I was writing this book. You should read TWELVE if you're looking for a suspense mystery that's going to keep you on the edge of your seat the whole time. I know I say that about all my novels because I love writing suspense stories, but this one is different.