Present Tense

Natalie Conyer

Present Tense
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Present Tense

Natalie Conyer

Winner of the Ned Kelly Award for Debut Crime Fiction 2020

What if justice isn’t enough?

Schalk Lourens got out his phone and started filming, something Pieterse taught him years ago. Keep a record. Do it yourself, boykie, every time. That way you can be sure. Cover your arse. Don’t trust any of them. Schalk began with Pieterse himself, what was left of him.

Cape Town, South Africa. Retired police chief Piet Pieterse has been murdered, necklaced in fact. A tyre placed round his neck, doused with petrol, set alight. An execution from the apartheid era and one generally confined to collaborators. Who would target Pieterse this way, and why now?

Veteran cop Schalk Lourens is trying to forget the past. But Pieterse was his old boss and when Schalk is put on the case, he finds the past has a way of infecting the present. Meanwhile, it’s an election year. People are pinning their hopes on charismatic ANC candidate Gideon Radebe but there’s opposition and in this volatile country, unrest is never far from the surface.

Schalk must tread a difficult path between the new regime and the old, between the personal and the professional, between justice and revenge. This investigation will change his life, and could alter his county’s future.   

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