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Publisher's Summary

Five days before Christmas, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper sits at his desk at the Johannesburg major crimes squad, ready for his holiday in Mozambique. A call comes in: A respectable white couple has been assaulted and left for dead in their bedroom. The couple’s teenage daughter identifies the attacker as Aaron Shabalala - the youngest son of Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala - Cooper’s best friend and a man to whom he owes his life. The Detective Branch isn’t interested in evidence that might contradict their star witness’s story, especially so close to the holidays.

Determined to ensure justice for Aaron, Cooper, Shabalala, and their trusted friend Dr. Daniel Zweigman hunt for the truth. Their investigation uncovers a violent world of Sophiatown gangs, thieves, and corrupt government officials who will do anything to keep their dark world intact.

©2014 Malla Nunn (P)2014 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"Historical hindsight may make readers a bit more self-congratulatory about recognizing the evils of apartheid, but it won’t help them see around the curves Nunn has plotted or rise above her insight into the enduring dilemmas of her separate-and-unequal world." ( Kirkus Reviews)
"A disturbing book with a morally compelling hero." ( Booklist)
"Gripping and thoughtful...Nunn brilliantly combines character and fair play clues." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about Present Darkness

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Versatile narrator, Rupert Degas.

A good story needs a talented narrator to bring it to life and keep the listener fully engaged. Rupert Degas always achieves this, never disappoints. His accents are convincing, his expression authentic and his own voice so easy to listen to.

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tightly written and edited, superbly performed

Malla Nunn just gets better and better. Sophia town and people from Emmanuel's past, contrasted with the velt, are great settings.

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What happened to Humphrey

Throughly enjoyed the first three books read by Humphrey Bower!! When something works so well I do not understand why it needs changing. Halfway through this book and probably will not listen to the end because the narration is so bad. Waste of money!!

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Degas!

A fast-paced, slight but enjoyable book made wonderful by Rupert Degas. This man is the most extraordinary reader. More of this - and more of the Ketty Jay!

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  • Glenn
  • 04-05-2015

Brillliant ! Wonderful !

A gorgeous writer, fabulous narrator, great story that mixes history and fiction. What else can I say? All her books are grand, recurring characters Shabalala and Emmanuel Cooper are so endearing you wish you could actually meet them and befriend them. Thank you Malla Nunn and thank you rupert Degas. As narrators go, You are up there with Simon Vance and Simon Prebble

3 people found this helpful

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  • Nitenurse
  • 17-08-2016

Another great one from Malla Nunn

Love the Emmanuel Cooper series and this one does not disappoint. The setting is again South Africa during apartheid. Police corruption abounds and Cooper and his friend, DC Shabalala must investigate on their own if this case, involving Shabalala's son as a suspect, is to be solved. The narrator for the audio book is excellent. I can't wait for the next book in this series.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Corrinpaul
  • 03-07-2016

1st book I read from this author

slow beginning but stay with it great ending will be buying more from this author didn't know if it was worth the money but it was





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  • Ben
  • 14-09-2014

MISSED THE PREVIOUS PERSONALITIES

If you could sum up Present Darkness in three words, what would they be?

Didn't reach the previous Benchmark.

Would you be willing to try another one of Rupert Degas’s performances?

Not really

Any additional comments?

In the previous books, Humphrey Bower had set the standard.
He gave Emmanuel, Shabalala (spelling?) and the brilliant Doctor, wonderful voices and almost real life personalities.
Bower is a hard act to follow. He sets the benchmark.
To be frank…Rupert Degas didn't get close to the benchmark.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Mike007
  • 04-03-2020

Couldn't put it down

The apartheid regimen of South Africa gave this novel another layer of complexity and made the antagonist's struggle so much more difficult. A nail-biting thriller I couldn't put down. Extremely well written

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  • Carol A Cavanaugh
  • 09-03-2019

Present Danger

I loved this addition to Mall a Nunn's series featuring Emanuel Cooper. The story is complex; the characters real and the setting of apartide South Africa (mostly rural) tells the story of life was in that country and in that time. And, as always a great mystery! A bit gritty; but great!

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  • Fred S. Mueller
  • 11-12-2018

Malla Nunn Strikes Again!

My wife and I look for authors from around the world.

We are never disappointed by the books from Ms. Nunn.

Only 4 stars? I might rate “Les Miserables” or “Moby Dick” as 5 stars .

it would be better for me if we could rate by 1/2 star, say 4 1/2 stars.

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  • Tennesecreekwater
  • 27-12-2016

Dark and violent.

I was so disappointed with this story. I could just hear his editor telling him "This is what people want cruelty, a dark story...tortured women to death. Not for me.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Miriam Lodewyks
  • 09-09-2021

Rupert Degas is a genius!!!

I don’t know where he gets all those voices or how he nails all those tricky accents, but this narrator is incredible.
The story itself is an ok murder mystery that held my interest to the end, but with a somewhat aloof and and only marginally likeable main character.
Worth the listen mainly due to the excellent narration.

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  • R
  • 31-10-2014

fantastic

If you could sum up Present Darkness in three words, what would they be?

I listened to this audio book while on holiday and loved it,great storyline and characters

Any additional comments?

any more malla Nunn books?

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