A Deadly Covenant by Michael Stanley is the eighth entry in the Detective Kubu mystery. The young Detective Kubu has just joined the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department and is eager to prove himself. In rural Botswana, a backhoe unearths the skull of a long-dead Bushman and Kubu accompanies Ian MacGregor, a Scottish pathologist to watch and learn. When eight more skeletons are uncovered, Ian and Kubu are aware they might not be dealing with a cold case. The locals claim to know nothing about the massacres, but when an elderly person is murdered at his home in a nearby village everything challenges. While the local police think it is robbery, Kubu believes there is something else at work. The mystery deepens when a woman who has claimed the killing was orchestrated by an angry river spirit turns up dead. The investigation turns up something even more sinister, a deadly covenant, and Kubu and his team become painfully aware that they are running against time and that if the mystery isn’t solved quickly, other dead bodies might turn up. Worse still, they could be the next victims.
Michael Stanley plots like a pro, successfully ignites doubt and puts questions in the minds of the readers. It is hard to guess what happens next in this enthralling crime mystery. The setting in Africa offers a dazzling portrait of rural life and politics. The intersection between the mysterious and reality is excellently designed in this mesmerizing tale. A Deadly Covenant features characters that are richly drawn, believable, and genuinely flawed. The young detective is smart but naïve, and readers want to know what happens to him. While readers are moved by his intelligence, they worry that he might commit a blunder that will be costly to him and his investigation. The sparkling prose balances the engaging dialogues to create an enjoyable reading experience. Michael Stanley’s novels stand out in their originality and the author comes across as a master entertainer, transporting readers to worlds filled with mystery and intrigue.