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Feeding The Leopard


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Terror and redemption are everywhere in L.T. Kay's "Feeding the Leopard," a thrilling African tale of treachery, escape and love.

The blood of Africa spills across the pages of L.T. Kay’s “Feeding the Leopard.” Rivers of blood and betrayal upon which Kay spills out the tale of Ian Sanders and Sarah Kagonye. For Ian it is a return from Australia to his birthplace of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, from where his white family fled after, when he was a child, their family farm was attacked  by government sponsored military terrorists. For Sarah, a black native of Bulawayo, it is the story of her escape from her troubled homeland after an immersion into the dark secrets of her employer. The real life background of this novel is the decades-long transition for Zimbabwe from British colonial rule to a native led government, one of Africa’s bloody periods.

Kay’s writing strength is how story feels: The dust in air, the smells of the settlements and cities, the clattering of vehicles, the intermittent use of African words and phrases that pulls the reader deep into the lives of the characters. But more, it is what lies underneath: The simmering, unescapable sensation of being watched, and the terrifying consequences of being on the wrong side of the political divide. Captain John (The Leopard of the title) is a man to be feared. The prose is direct, nearly journalistic, and it compulsively drives the story. There are a couple of neat character twists. One concern: the assassination unit loses its menace as the long chase ensues.

For Ian, the story tells of his return to Zimbabwe to write a novel. Despite warnings about being a white European in deeply troubled black Africa, his curiosity about conditions, and his interest in reliving his past drive him into an increasing tangled web that leads to Sarah and her sister Jemma. The sisters take different routes to Ian. Jemma is a maid in an apartment building where he finds lodging. Sarah is a college student who is recruited  by the government secret assassination unit. After one mission in which she has an inconsequential part, and the death of her father and her friend Thomas, Sarah is hunted  by the unit, and her sister convinced Ian that he could hide her in his apartment.

This is well crafted and entertaining, but the loving ending, while well earned and a relief after pages of terror, it is a bit too slick. In a tale like this, happiness would still come with a shadow of terror.

Reviewed by

I am a career award-winning journalist and the author of the four-book Frank Nagler Mystery series. Kirkus Reviews called Nagler "one of modern fiction's expertly drawn detectives." I have also written short stores, poetry, and literary fiction.

Prologue - December 1983

About the author

L. T. Kay was born in India but grew up and lived in Southern Africa. He worked in senior management roles in both manufacturing and service industries, and served with the Rhodesian Army in the Bush War. Today, he lives in Melbourne with his wife Maggie and writes fiction set in Southern Africa. view profile

Published on January 25, 2020

Published by

140000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Action & Adventure

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