Dead of Night by Michael Stanley #BookReview #BlogTour

When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, while searching for her missing colleague. But, within a week, she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that may hold the key to everything. Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late. She has a shocking story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it... Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller that exposes one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent...

It's my pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for Dead of Night by Michael Stanley today. Many thanks to the authors, publisher and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.
I loved Michael Stanley's previous book, Dying to Live last year but I think Dead of Night might be even better! This is the duo's first standalone thriller and features freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen who becomes concerned when her friend, Michael disappears while investigating rhino poaching in South Africa. She persuades National Geographic to hire her so she can finish Michael's story and at the same time see if she can discover what has happened to him. At first she is thrilled by the sights and sounds of South Africa but after being allowed to accompany an anti-poaching team she is shocked by the violence she witnesses. She realises that the West is currently failing to consider the poverty and desperation of the local poachers and slowly begins to appreciate that the situation is more complicated and even more dangerous than she expected.
The fast pace of Dead of Night means there's very little relief for Crys as she finds herself in one dangerous situation after another. Whilst her actions are foolhardy at times, it's impossible not to admire her courage and determination. Her investigation eventually takes her to Vietnam which proves to be a perilous and emotional return to the country of her birth. During the course of the novel she discovers as much about herself; who she is and what she is capable of, as she does about rhino poaching. By the dramatic conclusion of the book she may be in terrible danger once more but she is able to use what she's learned to have at least some control over the situation.
The intense descriptions of South Africa and Vietnam mean both countries are brought vividly to life; it's really not hard to envisage the rich colours of Africa or the humidity and bustle of Ho Chi Min City. The information that Crys uncovers about rhino poaching is fascinating and a real testament to the research that clearly went into writing this novel. The trade is driven by a demand for powdered rhino horn by affluent young urban people in Vietnam who use the product as a status symbol, as well as its more traditional use in Chinese medicine. The novel presents a balanced and thoughtful exploration about whether legalising the trade by farming rhinos and cutting off their horns would prevent their unnecessary death through poaching or if education of young people is the better long term solution to the problem as the time it takes to increase the rhino population and to grow the horns isn't quick enough to meet demand.
The plot may be intriguing but it is also thoroughly exciting as Crys faces a compelling race against time to stop a heinous plan despite not having all the information about exactly what is planned and never quite knowing who she can trust.  Dead of Night is one of the most intelligent, thought-provoking and engaging thrillers I've read all year - it's tense, shocking and only too believable. Michael Stanley's latest book is a triumph and reinforces their position as being among the best writers of Sunshine Noir around right now.

Dead of Night is published by Orenda Books and can be purchased here. Don't miss the fabulous posts from from fellow bloggers, details are below!

About the Authors
Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award. Dead of Night is their first stand-alone thriller.


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