Present Darkness

Present Darkness

A Novel

  • reading group guide
  • customer reviews
Five days before Christmas, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper sits at his desk at the Johannesburg major crimes squad, ready for his holiday in Mozambique. A call comes in: a respectable white couple has been assaulted and left for dead in their bedroom. The couple’s teenage daughter identifies the attacker as Aaron Shabalala— the youngest son of Zulu Detective Constable Samuel Shabalala—Cooper’s best friend and a man to whom he owes his life.

The Detective Branch isn’t interested in evidence that might contradict their star witness’s story, especially so close to the holidays. Determined to ensure justice for Aaron, Cooper, Shabalala, and their trusted friend Dr. Daniel Zweigman hunt for the truth. Their investigation uncovers a violent world of Sophiatown gangs, thieves, and corrupt government officials who will do anything to keep their dark world intact.
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  • Atria/Emily Bestler Books | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451616996 | 
  • June 2014
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List Price $11.66
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Read an Excerpt

Present Darkness 1
DETECTIVE SERGEANT, EMMANUEL COOPER crossed the ramshackle garden, jacket unbuttoned in the nighttime heat. A fat moon tangled in the branches of a jacaranda tree and the air carried the smell of fresh-cut grass and the tree’s shameless purple flowers. It was a perfect Friday night to sit with his daughter Rebekah’s chunky brown arms laced around his neck while Davida sat barefoot on the stairs. Instead he was at a crime scene in Parkview, in the flashing lights of a street cruiser.

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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Present Darkness includes an introduction, discussion questions, and ideas for enhancing your book club. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Introduction

From behind his desk in the Johannesburg major crimes squad, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is counting the hours until his holiday in Mozambique. Then a call comes in: a respectable white couple has been assaulted and left for dead in their home. The couple’s teenage daughter identifies the attacker as Aaron Shabalala—the youngest son of Cooper’s best friend. Though others in the office aren’t interested in hearing evidence to the contrary, Cooper knows the boy is innocent and is determined to ensure justice for Aaron. With the help of Shabalala and their friend Dr. Daniel Zweigman, Cooper sets out to find the truth. Their investigation uncovers a violent world of Sophiatown gangs, thieves, and corrupt government officials who will do anything to keep their dark world intact.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Race is incredibly important in the highly structured world of apartheid Johannesburg, but Emmanuel, a white kaffir, seems to almost float between the races. How does his past allow him access to the see more

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