Crime and politics in sub-Saharan Africa keep a tight hold on readers of Those Who Love Night, a truly fine mystery by acclaimed author Wessel Ebersohn. This tense, elegantly written narrative is the second in a series starring Abigail Bukula, a young South African lawyer in her country’s Department of Justice.
Bukula sets out to unravel a twisted skein of terror in Zimbabwe after she is informed that a cousin she never knew existed is reportedly imprisoned in a jail known for its brutality and corruption. Known for her outspokenness and determination, she agrees to help a naive young Zimbabwean lawyer who is defending the prisoner and the rest of his group—the Harare Seven—who are being held as radicals and resisters by the country’s new dictatorial government. Leaving her husband and safe environment behind, Bukula travels to Zimbabwe to learn the truth about her cousin and help the dissidents, thus sparking a tangled series of events and illuminations—and propelling her headlong into grave peril, as her every move is known by the government in power. The iron fist in a velvet glove is worn by the powerful and mesmerizing Jonas Chunga, in charge of public relations in the regime’s Central Intelligence Organization. He is physically and emotionally drawn to Bukula—and the feeling is mutual—but there may be terrible reasons for Chunga’s attraction.
The extraordinary and aggressive Bukula discovers herself suddenly vulnerable, and a violent death of her host, lawyer Krisj Patel, serves only to further sever her connection to safety. Help unexpectedly arrives in the form of Yudel Gordon, a South African corrections officer with whom Bukula has worked in the past. Along with his initially reluctant wife, Rosa, Yudel jeopardizes life and limb to help Bukula discover the truth behind the Seven’s imprisonment. Rosa, who initially appears almost as a footnote to the story, develops a depth and importance that enhances and enlarges this terrifying, unrelenting and provocative tale that reaches back into the depths of Bukula’s family history.
Author Wessel lets us linger on each fascinating character who plays a role in Those Who Love Night. We hope to hear more from Bukula and her talented creator in the future.