Jack Hanger (http://www.jackhanger.com/) by James Fouche is a crime thriller based in the beautiful but often violent South Africa, focusing on Johannesburg and Cape Town. Fouche’s writing is simply brilliant – he mixes elements of the criminal mind and the human mind, deftly navigating the thin line between morality and vengeance.
Dave Matters is one of the most complex characters I have come across in modern literature: similar to the narrator in Fight Club (Chuck Palahniuk), Matters struggles with perception and mental instability as he attempts to move on from traumatic events of his past. With new conflicts come new vendettas, and it is up to the reader to decide if Matters is moral or simply insane.
Fouche’s portrayal of a violent yet seductively beautiful South Africa educate the reader and remove some of the romanticizing about the country that Americans experience due to the celebrity connections such as Charlize Theron. Like any true author, Fouche creates for readers a challenging, complex portrait of the environment in which his characters must ultimately survive. This is not an easy task. Fluid prose, proper pacing, selective word choice, and driven dialogue combine to create this complex web in which Dave Matters wanders. Normally, I am not a fan of the direct crime novel, but Fouche delivers in such a way that this story contains so much more: crime, philosophy, and reflections on various aspects of the human condition.
I highly recommend this book, particularly to those who appreciate a book that looks at and challenges morality in the face of a violent environment. Philosophically, the book addresses issues that are (or should be) on the forefront of our minds as humans in an increasingly connected world where communication and understanding of the world’s varied cultures and environs prove to be a constant challenge.