What Amazon says
Another mystery novel set in modern South Africa. This time, the murders of a ranger and a rare black rhino in the idyllic Shangari Safari Park rattle the local community of Rutgersdrift. Sofia Helenius from Finland lives at the lodge with her boyfriend Tom Rutgers, the owner of Shangari. Sofia is tormented by a secret she yearns to share with Tom, but the cruel events grab the limelight and put everything else in the shade. One of the native Khoi-San families is known to communicate with wild animals, but what if the criminals get wind of this gift?
When another murder happens in the city of Johannesburg, smouldering secrets begin to unravel. How are the murders connected and will it be possible to halt a relentless crime-syndicate in order to save an African paradise?
The Rhino Whisperer starts with two horrific murders; the bodies of a mother rhino and a game ranger are found on Shangari luxury game farm. The horn of the mother rhino has been hacked off and stolen. The owner of the farm, Tom Rutgers, and his beautiful Finnish girlfriend, Sofia, are shaken to their cores by this heartless attack by poachers.
It must be business as usual for their game farm guests, however, and they manage to pull themselves together and host their rich and politically frequent visitor, Stan Makaroff, and his accompanying party of favoured employees, including Sofia’s best friend, Gugu who is Stan Makaroff’s PR manager, as well as their other guests who are looking forward to watching the eclipse of the moon that weekend. After the festivities, a gunshot rings out and the farm vet, Barrie Pienaar, and Stan Makaroff are both discovered in slightly suspicious circumstances. The horns of two rhino in a bag is also found and is taken by the police as evidence.
Later in the year Sofia goes to Johannesburg to visit her cousin, Astrid, for a few weeks and she is quickly drawn into a dangerous situation as the death of another person related to both Shangari and Stan Makaroff occurs under unusual circumstances during her short visit. Gugu becomes privy to some dangerous and revealing information which puts both Sofia and her own lives in danger.
This is a fast-moving tale which highlights both the best and the worst of life in South Africa. The book exposes the rhino poaching, governmental corruption, human trafficking and selling of their daughters into prostitution by poverty-stricken fathers who have degenerated into alcoholics. It also illustrates the community life of people living in Soweto, the strength and support to be found in true and close friendships and the ability of passion and perseverance in people to overcome the evil in society.
I enjoyed the character of Sofia and found her to be a strong and determined female character. Sofia has made some mistakes in her past and is guilty of trying to cover them up in her present life but when the web of lies collapses, she comes forward with great strength of character.
The information about the bushmen, their way of life and deep connection with nature as well as the beautiful descriptions of the Africa bush added to my enjoyment of this lovely book.