The First Rule of Survival

The First Rule of Survival - Paul Mendelson Synopsis:
"At a farm stall in Cape Town two bodies have been found in the skip behind the premises. Two teenage boys have been shot and then wrapped in Clingfilm before being dumped. It isn’t until closer inspection that it is discovered that these teenagers are two of three boys who were kidnapped in 2007 over consecutive days and never seen again. Despite a big scale investigation that didn’t get the police force (SAPS) anywhere near finding the three boys, everyone involved believed them all dead or trafficked and spirited abroad. Now two of them are found and have only been dead a matter of days.

Colonel Vaughn DeVries was the leading officer on that particular investigation and it is a failure that still cuts deep seven years later and the realisation that these boys were alive and still local reopens his wound of failure. With a new deputy in the form of Warrant Officer Don February, DeVries is determined to find their killer and find the third remaining victim in this tragic tale. But with internal politics from on high hindering his every step and a cold trail from seven years before, DeVries feels the case taking a personal toll on him as he searches for the truth which is a lot closer to home than he could ever have imagined."


Excellent first novel that is chilling as it is thought provoking. I was interested in reading a crime novel set in a country I know little about and what a great experience it was. Pacy, stylish and filled with twists and turns that had this reader holding their breath.

At first glance Vaughan De Vries is a cookie cutter crime novel detective; Broken marriage - check
Alcohol problem - check
Maverick - check

However he is so well written I liked him immediately and was rooting for him in his quest for justice.

But for me the South African landscape was the main character - you could feel the heat and dust coming off the page.

Outstanding