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Publisher: 1 November 2015 by Pan Macmillan Australia
Pages: 480 pages
How I Read It: ARC book
Genre: fiction, mystery, thriller, Africa
My Rating: 4 crowns
Sonja Kurtz - former soldier, supposedly retired mercenary - is in Vietnam carrying out a personal revenge mission when her daughter sends a call for help. Emma is on a dig at the edge of Namibia's Etosha National Park studying archaeology and she's discovered a body that dates back to the country's liberation war of the 1980s. The remains, identified as Hudson Brand, are a key piece of a puzzle that will reveal the location of a modern-day buried treasure. A find people will kill for. Sonja returns to the country of her birth to find Emma, but she's missing. Former CIA agent Hudson Brand is very much alive and is also drawn back to Namibia to finally solve a decades-old mystery whose clues are entombed in an empty corner of the desert.
Tony Park's novels are always page turners, set against an inspiring African backdrop. This one is no different. He uses his tried and true formula found in his novels - a fast moving thriller with deadly outcomes in exotic, yet often, dangerous African locations. This can be read as a standalone, however a couple of characters reappear after roles in previous books.
'An Empty Coast' is set in Namibia and focusses on poaching and illegal international trade in rhino horn. I have read previous Park novels, but was particularly drawn to this one as I have lived in Namibia. So many memories came flooding back. He resounding details the beautiful, yet stark, landscapes of Etosha and Skeleton Coast National Parks. There is always an interesting plot, but I have to admit to being drawn to the lovingly described scenery and wildlife.
"Etosha was starkly beautiful....a complete contrast to the lush bush and web of waterways that made up the Okavango".
These are fast paced reads - lots of action, leading to the ultimate major showdown between goodies and baddies, with a little sexual tension thrown in, making these not only readable, but engaging. Don't cast this aside as lacking substance. Tony Park novels contain much noteworthy commentary on a range of topics: the Asian/Russian involvement in illegal smuggling; Namibian history, the war of independence involving Namibia, Angola and South Africa; and, throwbacks to the original German occupation:
"what we're doing here is confronting the past, not leaving it buried, where some people want it to stay".
It does take a little time for everything to fall into place - however, at about two thirds through, things really start to amp up and get interesting. I do enjoy his books and this was no exception.
"The small screen of the television didn't do justice to the majestic landscapes of Namibia, but all the same it moved something inside her to see the endless skies".
If you are intrigued about Africa and enjoy a well told thriller, then this is the book for you. Perfect mix.
"Namibia has emerged as a beautiful, peaceful country and I'm proud to be here and proud to play a small part".