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Reviewed by Saifunnissa Hassam for Readers' Favorite
Adam Alexander's novel Twelve is a murder mystery set in Natal's Drakensberg mountains in South Africa. Detective Dave Malatsi is called to Stone Lodge in the Mkhomazi Wilderness to investigate the murder of a guest. Eleven men and five women are guests at the Lodge for a school reunion after 25 years. On Saturday morning, one of the men, Steve Carlton, is found dead, stabbed twelve times, and floating in the swimming pool. The guests had met on Friday evening for the reunion dinner. Sifting through preliminary information, Detective Malatsi concludes that Carlton was killed around 3 a.m. on Saturday. The guests are scheduled to leave on Sunday. An intense thunderstorm moves into the mountains later on Saturday. Heavy rains knock over a cell tower and wash away the bridge across the river. The guests are effectively forced to remain at the Lodge. Malatsi intensifies his search for clues to the identity of the murderer.
A gripping mystery, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Adam Alexander's murder mystery novel Twelve for the diversity of its characters, and particularly its relentless and courageous principal character, Detective Dave Malatsi. I liked the taut drama and rising tension created as Malatsi questions each of the sixteen guests, and how he probes when he senses some hidden thought or emotion. I could picture him putting up summaries on the walls of his improvised office at the Lodge, searching for missing pieces. I think the dialogues were well written, revealing personalities, faults, and strengths. I liked the detailed and imaginative descriptions of the characters, the Lodge, and the storm because they underscored the guests' fear, rage, suspicions, and simmering hatred. I felt the story gained great depth by including the impact of apartheid on ordinary lives. A very well-crafted and well-written murder mystery; an immersive read, tense and suspenseful to the end!