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Friday 23 January 2015

‘Dark Heart by Tony Park

Published by Quercus,  
25 Oct 2012.

In the aftermath of the Rwanda’s genocide, 1995, Captain Richard Dunlop was shown a photo by a dying man. He hadn’t though it important at the time, but now the investigator following it up has died, and an attempt has been made on the lives of the people who saw it ...

This novel centres on three people, all affected by what they saw in Rwanda. Carmel, a lawyer, has fought off her drink problem to become a prosecutor of those responsible for the genocide. Richard, now the doctor to a game reserve, has tried to forget with drugs, drink and women. Leisl, once a war photographer, has turned to wildlife, spurred on by her family’s wildlife reserve. Each of the three characters is distinctly drawn, and the reader becomes interested in their entwined past and their fate now. The narrative threads – the photograph, the baby gorilla stolen by poachers, and the responsibility for the genocide – are drawn together as the book progresses, and the African countryside is lovingly described. The plot was well worked out, with an exciting finish and final twist. I felt that the characters reflecting on their past slowed it down at times – at almost 500 pages, it was a long read. The full horror of events in Rwanda was made vivid, and the theme of moral responsibility – for individuals as well as nations - handled well.

An interesting novel based around real events, with a well-evoked background and characters.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Tony Park was born in 1964 and grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney. He has worked as a newspaper reporter in Australia and England, a government press secretary, a public relations consultant, and a freelance writer.
He is also a major in the Australian Army Reserve and served six months in Afghanistan in 2002 as the public affairs officer for the Australian ground forces.
He and his wife, Nicola, divide their time between their home in Sydney, and southern Africa, where they own a tent and a Series III Land Rover.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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