Book Review - Double Echo

by Francois Bloemhof (Penguin) ISBN: 9781485903093

Bloemhof is a decorated South African writer and this makes his 24th novel for adults. Double Echo is translated from Afrikaans which attracted me to the book because I often find a fresh use of the English language reveals itself in the translation process. 

Ex-cop Paul Mullan finds himself employed as a chauffeur in the household of wealthy, wheel-chair bound wine farm owner Bernard Russell. Over four days Russell’s daughter makes naïve advances on Paul while his sceptical and protective household staff mistrust him immediately.  All the while Paul fights his feelings for Russell’s much younger, cliché of an ex-waitress girlfriend as well as his cop instinct on a number of mysterious fragments of this household’s past. 

I was not disappointed in the style of the writing and the well-worded descriptions for characters and scenery. The book did however fail to meet acceptable standards of a compelling thriller.  It’s as though Bloemhof pressed fast-forward just when the plot itself got underway and glided over any real depth or relevance to reach an all too convenient and thoroughly unbelievable conclusion. 
Justine Cullinan


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The Water Creature

by Francois Bloemhof (Human & Rousseau) R84,95 ISBN: 9780798156912


This is apparently the third book in the Chillers series. 


Stephen and Alana are on their annual holiday in Blue Water Bay, near Port Elizabeth. They discover a creepy house at the edge of a cliff, and they notice a frightened woman on the beach. Then they hear the local residents talking about a mysterious sea animal. The two decide to find out what is really going on.


This book is so old-fashioned and out-dated that I felt as if I were trapped in a time warp. The book reads like an Enid Blyton adventure from the 1970s. It’s even set in a caravan park. I had no sense of the setting, no feeling for the characters and I did not find it to be ‘full of blood curdling surprises’.


The only 9-12 year old children I can imagine enjoying this book are those who have no electricity, no access to television, and no access to the Internet.


Sarah Campbell


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