Nechama Brodie has not seen a tokoloshe — but her description of one emerging from the inert figure of a bloated young man on a hospital bed is so vivid that the reader may be inclined to doubt that statement. In her sixth book — and first novel — sangomas, witches, herbalists and spirits emerge from the shadowy world of Joburg’s underbelly. Brodie’s book Knucklebone should not be read in the dark by readers whose imaginations are half as potent as the author’s. At the heart of this detective story are two characters who have never been remotely involved in the world of spirits and those who seemingly interact with them on earth. Ian Jack, a disillusioned former police officer, finds himself in the hunt for a killer with Capt Reshma Patel, a colleague from his old life who has been sent to investigate a routine housebreaking gone bad. Naturally there’s a body up front in true detective style and then more bodies — not only human ones, but many animal ones too. This is also a story a...

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