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Random Violence (Jade de Jong Series #1)

Random Violence (Jade de Jong Series #1)

3.3 53
by Jassy Mackenzie

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In Johannesburg prosperous whites live in gated communities; when they exit their cars to open the gates, car-jackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. Piet Botha, the husband of the wealthy woman, is the primary suspect in his wife's murder.

P.I. Jade de Jong fled South Africa ten years ago after her father


In Johannesburg prosperous whites live in gated communities; when they exit their cars to open the gates, car-jackings are common. But seldom is the victim killed, much less shot twice, like Annette Botha. Piet Botha, the husband of the wealthy woman, is the primary suspect in his wife's murder.

P.I. Jade de Jong fled South Africa ten years ago after her father was killed. Now back in town, she offers to help her father's former assistant, Superintendent David Patel, with his investigation of this case. Under apartheid, Patel, of Indian descent, could never have attained his present position. But he is feeling pressure from his "old line" boss with respect to this investigation and fears lingering prejudice is at work.

As Jade probes into this and other recent car-jacking cases, a pattern begins to emerge, a pattern that goes back to her father's murder and that involves a vast and intricate series of crimes for profit.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Random Violence

"Jade de Jong kicks ass."

“A new generation of crime writers is trying to put apartheid and modern South Africa in focus . . . [Random Violence is] a thought-provoking book.”
Portland Oregonian

"Mackenzie, who has lived in South Africa from an early age, plays her hand deftly, with a page turner of a story, intriguing characters—Jade is particularly memorable—and a wealth of South African color, including its appalling racial history. At once brutal and beautiful, Random Violence leaves nothing to chance in hooking the reader."
Richmond Times-Dispatch

“With surprising characters and an intriguing plot, you’ll be guessing right up until the very end.”
Tulsa Examiner

"South African writer Mackenzie has created a strong female character with amazing resilience, unusual friends, and incredible luck . . . Gripping."
Library Journal, Starred Review

"Set in contemporary South Africa, Mackenzie's triumphant debut introduces PI Jade de Jong . . . The plot has more than its fair share of nice twists, and Mackenzie does a superb job of making the reader care for her gutsy lead while offering a glimpse at life in South Africa after apartheid. Readers will wish Jade a long fictional career."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

"Beautiful and haunting . . . Each chapter is filled with wonders and horrors masterfully told in darkly poetic prose, with absolutely no wastage of space permitted. She has created a terrific and believable P.I. in the headstrong and somewhat intimidating Jade de Jong; a P.I. we will no doubt be seeing plenty of in the future. A host of colorful and memorable characters fill the pages, alongside Jade, making this a gripping and page-turning read, despite the bleakness of place and events via post-apartheid South Africa."
—New York Journal of Books

"Complicated and tough and real."
—Boston Bibliophile

Product Details

Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
Jade de Jong Series , #1
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Sales rank:
File size:
472 KB

Read an Excerpt

Annette arrived home in the dark. Her car’s tires crunched on the sand driveway and the brakes squeaked as she pulled to a hurried halt outside the tall metal gate. The heater’s fan was on maximum and the eight o’clock news was starting on the radio, but she didn’t have time to listen. Stopping at night was risky. Getting out of the car was even more dangerous, but she had no choice. Pulling the keys from the ignition, with the useless gate buzzer dangling from the bunch, she climbed out.
She hunched her shoulders against the cold, hugging her flimsy work jacket around her as she hurried over to the gate. She passed the “Sold” sign, rattling against the metal stakes that held it in the ground. The wind was blowing hard, hissing and whistling through the long dry grass that flanked her driveway. The growth swayed and parted and she peered at it suspiciously. For a moment it looked as if somebody was crouched inside, trying to hide.
Her head jerked up as she saw movement ahead of her. Four large dogs rushed towards the gate, their shadows stretching out behind them in the beams of her car’s headlights. The lead Alsatian snarled at his followers, defending his position as the others crowded too close. Leaping and wagging their tails, the dogs pushed their noses through the bars in welcome.
Annette smiled in relief, leaning forward and scratching their coarse fur. “Hey, boys. Just a minute and I’ll be inside.”
She fumbled with the bunch of keys, searching for the right one, her breath misting in the icy air. The giant padlock was easy to open because it was new, but it was difficult to remove because of its size. It was wedged into the thick steel rings between the gate and the gatepost. She struggled with the stubborn metal, so cold to the touch it seemed to burn. She glanced behind her at the lonely road while the dogs whined and shoved their muzzles against her hand in encouragement.
Finally the padlock jerked free, pinching a fold of skin on her finger as it came loose. She swore, cradling her hand against the pain. She would have a blood blister tomorrow, to add to the one from yesterday.
“Got to get that gate motor fixed,” she told the dogs.
Her keys dug into her palm as she wrapped her hands around the bars and shoved her shoulder into the heavy gate. The sand and rust clogging its runners made it a swine to slide open, especially at the start. Once it had been forced to get moving, it was easier. But as she started to push, her dogs tensed and one of them barked. Spinning round, she squinted into the blackness beyond her little Golf. She saw another vehicle pull to a stop in the road. It had approached silently, headlights off. Its dark body gleamed faintly red in the glow of her taillights.
Annette stared in disbelief as the driver climbed out and strolled round the front of the car towards her, as casual and relaxed as if he was a friendly neighbor stopping to give her some help. But she lived on two hundred acres of land and spoke to the neighbors two or three times a year about fencing and firebreaks. If they drove past her place at night, they would have their headlights on full and their feet on the accelerator, gunning their car down the dark ribbon of tarmac, counting the minutes until they reached home.
This man wasn’t a neighbor. And he certainly wasn’t friendly. Once he was clear of the car, he turned to face her. With a heart-stopping rush of terror, she saw the shape of a gun in his hand.
“No, please, don’t. Oh Jesus. Help me!”
Her first instinct was to run. But the dark car blocked the road ahead of her, and there were deep drainage ditches in the overgrowth on either side. She turned back to the gate, pushing with panicked strength against its stubborn weight. If she could let the dogs out, she’d have a chance. It moved a few inches and then jammed, just as it had done the night before. The dogs were all barking now, hurling themselves at the gap in their efforts to protect her. Their noise was a solid force that pulsed against her face, but they couldn’t get through to help her. Sobbing from the effort, her shoulder in agony, she knew she had no more time to try.
She turned back to face her attacker.
“Do you want my car? Here, take it.” Her voice sounded thin and high and the keys jingled in her unsteady hand as she held them out towards him.
The shadows on the man’s face deepened. He shook his head. He took another step forward and raised the gun.
Above the clamor of the dogs, Annette heard a metallic clicking sound. She didn’t know much about guns but there was only one thing this could mean.
The safety catch was off.
Her legs wouldn’t move. Her arms dropped to her sides. She wanted to plead, to beg him for her life. But what good would it do? He had already refused her car. And her throat had become so dry, she doubted whether she could speak at all.
Her fingers brushed against the pepper spray on her key ring. It was her only chance, even if it was a hopeless one. She fumbled with the metal canister. Quickly now. Lift and spray. Aim high, go for the eyes. Praying for a miracle, she raised her hand.
The man fired twice. The first shot got her square in the chest, slamming her back against the gate. As she began to slide to the ground, the second shot caught the side of her neck, ripping it open. Gushing blood, she collapsed onto the stony surface.
The killer watched her die, and then moved over to the open door of her car, where the heater was blowing and the newsreader was telling listeners about the price of gold and the strength of the rand against the dollar. With gloved fingers, he removed her handbag from the passenger seat. As quietly as it had arrived, the black vehicle moved away. At the gate the dogs continued to bark, their eyes brilliant in the glow from the headlights, their muzzles now crimson with blood.

Meet the Author

Jassy Mackenzie was born in Rhodesia and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She lives in Kyalami near Johannesburg and edits and writes for the annual publication Best of South Africa.

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Random Violence (Jade de Jong Series #1) 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too blamed many plot spoilers here giving away the story line. We do not need you telling us the entire book. We can read for ourselves.
TurningThePagesBlog More than 1 year ago
About a year ago I stumbled across the Jade de Jong series but it took me until a couple weeks ago to finally get around to reading the first novel in the series a try. I'm always on the look out for great South African authors and I have to say Jassy Mackenzie is a new favourite of mine. Random Violence was a fast past intricate novel with a wonderful female sleuth as the lead character. Jade de Jong returns to her homeland of South Africa after 10 years away working all over the globe. Upon her return she's met with all the changes that have happened in her country including in the lives of the one person she cares about the most. I loved the mystery behind the slue of murders that seem to be occurring as well as the relationship between Jade and David who was once her father's right hand man and her best friend. I really enjoyed seeing the ups and downs as they got used to be around one another again after such a long time apart as well as seeing how much respect they had for one another. I have to say that Jade and David are probably two of my favourite crime solving partners after reading Random Violence. Both are intelligent, witty and savvy and they both have different skills plus the chemistry between them is great. I thought that the fact that the author also took the time to touch briefly on the political background of the country post-apartheid with the referral of David's "old line" boss. I think that it was an important touch especially for the readers who aren't really versed in the history of the country and it plays a rather large part in the novel because of the actions and histories of individual characters mostly those of the bad guys. I was very surprised at how enjoyable Random Violence was as strange as it might sound it was a fun read because Jassy Mackenzie kept me on my toes. There were far more plot twists that I had expected and many of them didn't even become obvious until the the end when everything came together and I was left with my jaw on the floor in shock. Overall, I thought the writing was fantastic. The author used a perfect balance of drama, action, intrigue, deception and plot twists to create a wonderfully well written who dun it novel. In a genre that is still very much male dominated Jassy Mackenzie makes sure that her unique voice is heard and for me her gift in the genre was very well received by me. Everything fit together so well and the way she wove the story in such subtle ways sometimes was amazing and I can't wait to read the second book in the series. As first novels go Jassy Mackenzie's Random Violence is a hit and has earned a place on my favourite's shelf. I would highly recommend Random Violence to everyone who enjoys a mystery set in a foreign country. I think the fact that it is written by a South African writer and takes place in South Africa is a unique offering in the mystery genre and the story is one that you can get wrapped up in and is a great way to expose yourself to a new writer and a new series in a place you may never have had a book take place in before.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written kept me interested to read clear to the end.
macabr More than 1 year ago
Jassy Mackenzie's RANDOM VIOLENCE, the first in the Jade de Jong series, opens with the murder of a woman in an apparent car hijacking outside the gates of her fortified home in a suburb of Johannesburg. In the next section, Jade is being driven from the airport by David Patel, a superintendent in the police department and the protege of Jade's father, a police commissioner who was killed ten years before. Since her father's death, Jade has been living in Great Britain. out of touch with people and events in South Africa. David has hired a car for Jade and has asked her to help him with the investigation into Annette Botha's murder. Jade had been a private investigator, a career suggested by her father when she thought of joining the police force. As soon as David drops her off at her new accomodations, she leaves to meet another old friend, a much less respectable one. Robbie is a gun dealer and Jade wants, and needs, a gun. Against the agreement she thought she had with Robbie, he hands her the same gun she had used ten years before when she killed a man. Jade has killed and she is willing to kill again, always to remove from society those who have no compunctions about the harm they do to other people. The South Africa Jade returns to, especially in the Johannesburg area, is one that has become integrated but one where those who can afford it live in gated communities with heavily armed guards or behind walls topped with razor wire. As Jade looks into the murder of Annette Botha she learns that there is a building boom, expensive gated communities being built on the large lots owned by people who have died violently. Identities are stolen and in the background is the man known as Whiteboy, a man who kills in the most brutal ways. There are explicit descriptions of Whiteboy's brutality. I did a lot of scanning but I am glad that I finished the book. Jade and Robbie are either amoral or immoral in their willingness to be paid vigilantes. David Patel is a decent man, caught in the web of a corrupt police department, but managing to keep his honor. The characters are interesting enough that I will read the next in the series when it makes it to the United States.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fast paced thriller where every random act of violence leads to a deeper tangle of crime and no one is above suspicion.
mermao More than 1 year ago
This is sort of the South African version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. You have a sociopathic female detective, viscious racist killers, corruption at high levels, and a good sense of place which will challenge at least some of your stereotypes of South Africa. For all that, it's not as good as GWDT. Who could compare with Lizbeth Salander? But it's still worth your time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book through the Free Friday on the Nook. I found Random Violence to be a quick and interesting read. I enjoyed the South African setting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Returning to violence-ridden Johannesburg, South Africa after 10 years, Jade de Jong is a tough private cop helping a police superintendent friend to investigate a bizarre murder. Her primary interest however is vengeance against a man who may have contributed to her father's death. Added to the plot mix is a romantic disappointment, some tasteful sex, and a gangster friend who serves as an anti-hero. Jade is an interesting character who may be on either side of the law. Though the plot is a bit far-fetched, Random Violence is an easy read with lots of action.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Very well written. I even learned a bit about South Africa after reading this. Would definitely recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good storyline
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DaleDL More than 1 year ago
An insight to a different culture.  Good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simply superb. Great writing and a great crime to match. I solved part of it which made it even more fun!
daisy1995 More than 1 year ago
Gives you a look at a different culture and held my intrest
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was good book. It kept me interested,couldn't wait to find out what happened next. Waiting for #2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teresa_L More than 1 year ago
I guess the title says it all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There is a reason the title is "Random Violence". Though I enjoyed the novel, learning a bit about South Africa, the book is a bit bloodthirsty even for me. Yet the storyline kept me reading, wanting to know what came next. I will most likely read #2 just for that reason.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago