Citizen Book Prize Shortlist: The Year of Thrills and Chills by Reen Collett
THIS is the ninth of nine synopses of books eligible for the Citizen Book Prize.
The winner will be determined by readers’ votes. To help get your favourite manuscript published, vote and make your mark (see the voting box below the synopsis).
Voting for each synopsis will be open for the week following its publication in CitiVibe. If you miss that, you will be able to reread and vote for all nine synopses online from November 5 – 11.
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This is the only book prize for unpublished authors chosen by the reading public.
The Citizen Book Prize synopsis eight
The Year of Thrills and Chills
by Reen Collett
Jervis Marais, a 15-year-old farm boy from the Karoo who is at boarding school in Umbono, meets his uncle, James Marais, for the first time. James is an ex-SAS Colonel who is starting a career as a private investigator in KwaZulu-Natal.
Jervis invites his uncle to stay with him for the summer holidays to help solve a case involving the mysterious disappearance of the daughters of wealthy sugarcane farmer Geoff Orman.
Joining in the chase is another of Jervis’s uncles, Oom Baati! Kung, who is secretly a San Shaman; Blane King, a 16-year-old friend from school and devoted computer geek; and classmates Lesedi Maru-Butler and Marike Tshali. They pick up the trail of the kidnappers that leads to a secret cave in the Drakensberg and a “trance party” that goes seriously wrong.
Lesedi relates a series of strange, paranormal events that happened to her and her brother Val, a student at Rhodes University, a few weeks back, involving the unpopular managers of a restaurant in Umbono, the Golden Hind.
Val’s friend Sid had tried to date Shireen, the beautiful daughter of the Asian owner of the restaurant, and was accosted by the manager, falling ill under mysterious circumstances. Lesedi experienced paranormal incidents involving the assistant manager and became infatuated with Shireen’s older brother, Siddharta, while Val was romantically involved with Shireen.
Lesedi was then abducted by a Nigerian gunman but classmate Kevin Dube and lawyer Leandros came to the rescue. When Sid’s and Val’s lives were threatened, Lesedi faced down the manager.
Meanwhile, during the autumn break, Jervis goes to the Bloemfontein Show and on his return writes an account of what happened there titled That Business of the Donkeys, submitting it for an English essay competition. Jervis had attended the show with the intention of buying Friesian geldings, but finds them beyond his means, and instead buys five donkeys to breed mules with.
But the so-called “King of Oranje” is also after the donkeys, and things heat up when the King’s agent turns up at Wolwehoek. Lesedi and Blane show up to help Jervis overcome “the donkey-napper”.
Jervis wins the essay competition.
During the winter holidays, Jervis (now 16 years old), Blane and Sid go hiking in the Drakensberg. They meet Jervis’s Uncle James at a luxurious resort and encounter an intriguing, charismatic Indian businessman, Ramesh.
Jervis unexpectedly witnesses a drug-related murder, while Blane falls for an Eritrean girl. Ramesh gets mixed up with Sheba, the oldest daughter of Geoff Orman, who asks James for help.
Jervis and Sid are kidnapped at gunpoint but escape. A trail of clues is uncovered, pointing to identity fraud and drug dealing – from Flamingo Lagoon Resort to Chatsworth to an SAS-type beach bivouac and finally back to the Orman home itself.
The four help the police to solve the case, taking part in a dramatic martial arts battle that brings the events to a conclusion.
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