Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Books Read: Christopher Radmann - Held Up

Source - Received from Real Readers to review

How far do you go to rescue your child?

Paul van Niekirk, a successful white South African is held up at gun-point when driving his new BMW. He's dragged out and his abductor drives off in his car. It's an everyday car jacking. Except his nine-month old daughter is in the back seat. As a pacifist, Paul is reluctant to carry a gun, but he descends into the heart of darkness of his country determined to find his child. He uncovers a criminal gang involved in people trafficking and discovers in himself a capacity for violence. When the trail goes cold, he is on the verge of losing everything but finds redemption in the most unlikely circumstances. Moving from the enclaves of Johannesburg's northern suburbs to the throbbing heart of Soweto's informal settlements, Paul is forced to confront the changing political and social landscape of the new South Africa, questioning his own values as his perfect life crumbles around him.

I received an uncorrected proof copy of Held Up via the Real Readers review site (this is a fab site to join if you're interesting in starting out doing book reviews) last month just when I had started hearing people talking about this book so I was glad to receive a copy to review to see if it lived up to the hype.

It's the story of when Paul van Niekerk's life turns into a living nightmare... Whilst out driving in his brand new BMW, and stopped in traffic, a gunman forces him to get out and abandon his car.  But for one heart-stopping moment he had forgotten that his baby daughter was in the back seat... and then the realisation hits him that his miracle baby daughter has been taken with the car.

The story is told over different timeframes and tells of the desperate measures that Paul will go to to track down his daughter, we are taken on a journey from affluent Johannesburg into the heart of Soweto.  

However, this isn't just a story about the efforts of Paul to try and track down his beloved daughter, especially as the police weren't doing much to find her, but it also focuses on the different ways that Paul and his wife Claire try and cope with what has happened to them albeit separately.

I have to confess at times I found this a particularly harrowing story to read, not just because of the subject matter as I know that it's possible that this could happen at any time to any one of us not just in South Africa, but also because of the frequent usage of South African phrases and language.  Although I'm glad that I persevered reading this book, when at times I'd felt like giving up, to see how it would all end up.  

If you'd like to read for yourself whether Held Up is worth all the hype, then head over to Amazon to order your copy today.

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