BOOKS

Irma Venter thrillers now in English

Afrikaans author follows 'Circus' with a new book 'Blue Sunday'

South African writer Irma Venter may get a whole new fan-base now her thrillers are being translated from Afrikaans into English.
It’s probably more a sign of my literary ignorance than of Venter’s talent that I had not heard of her before Circus – the first of her series to be translated – landed on The Herald review desk at the end of August, hot off the press. However, now that I’ve read one, I’m ready for more.
Acclaimed author Deon Meyer rates the Johannesburg journalist as world class and that endorsement gives an idea of the genre: crime fiction, set in our own gritty South Africa.
Venter’s first novel Skoenlapper won the ATKV award for a suspense novel and since then she has had best-sellers in Skrapnel, Sondebok, Skarlaken and now Sirkus.
On her website she answers a question often put to her by Afrikaans readers.
“Many people ask in which order they should read my books. Each book stands on its own, but if you want to follow the characters' development, read Skoenlapper, first, then Skrapnel, Sondebok and Skarlaken. Sirkus is just out and forms the latest book in the series.”
There is now a new title, Sondag, which will also be released in English as Blue Sunday, on September 21.
Each novel so far shares a cast of characters, with a different character creating the central storyline in each book so, having thoroughly enjoyed Circus, I can’t wait to read Blue Sunday.
Circus is the story of Adriana van der Hoon, an enigmatic woman living in Johannesburg and whose violent history is revealed as the novel spools between the struggle years of the 1980s and the present.
As the tagline on the cover asks, what do you do when your past catches up with you?
Venter has an easy-to-read style, not that dissimilar to Meyer.
The sentences are short and choppy – I am not sure if this is how they read in the original Afrikaans it or if it is how translator Elsa Silke chose to present it, but it does not detract from the pace.
As with her S series where each book starts with the letter S in Afrikaans , the titles in the English translation of Venter’s novels also will follow a pattern, each named after a well-known song - Circus by Britney Spears and Blue Sunday by The Doors.

Circus by Irma Venter is published by Human & Rousseau and the recommended retail price is R280..

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