The Fallen: A Jade De Jong Investigation by Jassy MackenzieThe Fallen: A Jade De Jong Investigation by Jassy Mackenzie

The Fallen: A Jade De Jong Investigation

byJassy Mackenzie

Paperback | March 19, 2013

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When P.I. Jade de Jong invites Superintendent David Patel on a scuba diving holiday in St. Lucia, she hopes the time away will rebuild their conflicted relationship. Jade’s dreams are soon shattered when David calls off their affair, forcing her into the arms of environmentalist Craig Niewoudt. But the next morning, romantic issues are put aside when a scuba diving instructor, Amanda Bolton, is found brutally stabbed to death.

Amanda is a most unlikely candidate for murder—a quiet and intelligent woman who until a few months ago pursued a high-powered career as an air traffic controller. She had few acquaintances and no lovers. The only loose end is a postcard in her room from Jo’burg-based Themba Msamaya, asking how she is doing “after 813 and The Fallen.” Jade and David put their differences aside and start the deadly hunt.
Jassy Mackenzie was born in Rhodesia and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She lives in Kyalami near Johannesburg and edits and writes for the annual publication Best of South Africa. She is the author of three novels in the Jade de Jong series.
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Title:The Fallen: A Jade De Jong InvestigationFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:338 pages, 7.48 × 5 × 0.74 inShipping dimensions:7.48 × 5 × 0.74 inPublished:March 19, 2013Publisher:Soho PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1616952172

ISBN - 13:9781616952174

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1Themba Msamaya didn’t suspect a thing on the morning heopened his door to death.He was halfway through his first cup of tea when the knockcame. Over the past few months, he’d developed something of aritual. He’d get up early, boil the kettle and dunk a bag of cheap,Shoprite own-brand tea into a chipped South African Airwaysmug. He’d learned to do without milk, but a teaspoon of sugarwas an essential he couldn’t forego. Black tea didn’t have to be sostrong—it tasted better weak, in fact—and he had discoveredone teabag could easily stretch to two mugs.He would drink the steaming, reddish brew while sitting atthe desk in his tiny Yeoville bedsit, yesterday’s papers open atthe Classifieds, his elderly laptop ready to browse the Jobsearchwebsites.Over the last few days, his searching had become more stressful,because his useless Internet connection, slow at best andunreliable at worst, was close to reaching its cap. He’d nearlygot through the five hundred megabytes that his low-spec packageallowed him, God knew how, seeing it was only the twentysecondof the month, and all he’d been using it for was trying tofind work. But once the threshold was reached, he would be cutoff. Rudely, instantly and without any warning. It had happeneda couple of times recently, once while he was right in the middleof sending off his cv.Today, JobSA was slow to load and Workopolis had no newlistings, but his favourite site, nats Careers, was advertising aposition that looked promising.Email us your application and cv, the advert read. All companiesrequired candidates to do that these days. Phone calls appearedto have become redundant.A quick read through the well-worded cv that he’d paid aspecialist company to put together for him five months ago. Nowhe wished he hadn’t wasted the money on it.Did he need to change anything in the accompanying letter?He scanned the document once more, slowly, even though heknew the damn thing off by heart. He thought it sounded fine.As fine as was possible, at any rate. He attached it and pressed‘Send’, willing the email to go through the first time, prayingthat the connection would not drop, as it often did, forcing himto repeat the task and gobbling up even more of his preciousbandwidth allocation.A series of clanging sounds and shouts from outside disturbedhis concentration, and he looked up, frowning. Was this hisneighbour causing trouble again? Themba didn’t know him byname, but he was convinced the guy was a drug dealer. Peoplewere in and out of that room at all hours, talking, partying,banging on his door late into the night, and occasionally onThemba’s door by mistake; and just last week he had overheardan argument that had ended in a gunshot.No, it couldn’t have been his drug-dealing neighbour. Themorning after the gunshot, he’d been on his way to the shopswhen he’d seen the man hurrying down to the garage, carryingwhat looked like a hastily packed gym bag, half zipped up, in onehand, and his firearm in the other. A few minutes later, Thembahad heard the unmistakable roar of his black, souped-up, spoilerdecoratedbmw. The man had left and, as far as he knew, he hadn’tbeen back since.Then Themba realised what the sound was. It was the dustbinsbeing emptied. There had been a municipal strike for weeks,and the bins lined up on the uneven paving outside the buildinghad quickly gone from full to overflowing. Black bags had splitopen and vomited their contents onto the pavement and into theroad. Those that hadn’t split had been torn apart—by stray dogsor vagrants or both, he guessed. Crumpled plastic now litteredthe sidewalks, mushy piles of leftover food had swiftly startedstinking in the heat, and dirty nappies disgorged their foulcontents, which were soon blanketed by flies.Now he could hear the loud drone of the garbage truck and theclanking of its crushing mechanism. Above this, the shouts of theworkers, more clanging as empty metal dustbins were flung ontheir sides, and the clatter of the plastic wheelie bins being upended.And then a second, closer sound, only just audible above theracket. A quick, polite-sounding rat-tat-tat on his door.Themba glanced at the email. It looked like it was going through.Then he got up from his wooden chair and squeezed past his bed.As he wasn’t expecting anyone, he was sure that whoever wasoutside the door was yet another customer looking for his drugdealerneighbour.He twisted the Yale latch open with his right hand, pulled thedoor handle down with his left, and opened the door a crack,snapping out a rather irritated ‘Yes?’ before squinting out intothe shady corridor.That one word was all he had time for. The door explodedopen, its handle wrenched out of his hand, its edge smashingagainst his temple as he staggered backwards and a sharp, stabbingpain lanced through his gut.Themba slammed against the rickety desk and sprawled downonto the floor, blinking as hot rivulets of spilled tea splasheddown onto his face.And then a black-clad figure wearing a dark mask was inside,standing over him. The pain in his stomach was dreadful; hecould taste blood in his mouth, but in his shock he hadn’t begunto associate any of this with the slim black handle that now juttedfrom his midriff.Until his assailant leaned forward, grasped the handle with agloved hand, and pulled.The pain was sickening. Themba screamed, a shrill, breathysound, and clamped his hands over the deep gash, now pouringblood. He glanced up, only to see the knife coming at him again.‘Don’t . . .’ he begged, but his voice had reduced to a whisper.He mouthed the words, ‘Please don’t.’He wanted to plead for his life, to explain that this wasn’t fair,that this was the wrong room, that he was not the right man.That he didn’t deal in drugs and never had. That this was all aterrible mistake.But there was no time.He tried to stop the blade, tried to grab it with his right hand,but it sliced cleanly through his palm and buried itself in hischest.And then his attacker was gone.Themba found he couldn’t move. He wanted to cough, but hecouldn’t do that either. All he could do was lie in his own blood,watching as a dark mist rushed to cover the smeary ceiling.Outside, the clanging of the garbage truck faded into silence.2Jade de Jong was fighting to convince herself she wasn’t going todrown.She was six and a half metres under the surface of the sea andsinking, with tons upon tons of water forcing her downwards.She was burying herself in a pale-blue grave, every movement ofher fins taking her closer to the ocean’s sandy floor and furtherfrom the sky and sun above.She reached out in front of her, striking forward, pushing justa tiny fraction of all that water aside, noticing that her cuppedhand looked sickly white in the dim light. Like a sea spectre. Orperhaps more like a corpse.The thought paralysed her with fear—she was unable to keepgoing down, unable now even to breathe. Just as she had been onthe dive before. And the dive before that.God, get me out of here, she thought frantically. She knewhow easy it would be to escape. A few kicks with her flippers andshe could be hurtling up out of the depths, shooting to thesurface, ripping the mask off her face. The next big breath shetook could be real air. Proper air, not the dry-tasting cannedstuff in the tanks on her back.With her heart banging so hard she was sure it must be sendinga subsonic message of panic to all sea life within a two-kilometreradius, Jade forced herself to stay put. She did whatAmanda Bolton, her personal scuba-diving trainer, had told herto do. Gently exhale and send a rush of bubbles upwards. Thenbreathe in again. Slowly and easily. She had to force herself torelax, a command that Jade had realised on her first dive wasphysically impossible. This time, though, she managed to keepher fear at bay. She took a long, relieved gulp of air and thensignalled to the wet-suited figure who was a few metres in frontof her and looking at her enquiringly, waiting for her to communicatewhat she wanted to do next.Closing her fist with her thumb towards the surface, Jadegestured upwards.Get me out of here.Amanda signalled back ‘ok’. Escaping locks of her dark hairswirled, mermaid-like, around her face. Then she made anothersign that Jade knew meant: slow. Take it slow going up. Nopanicking.As Jade kicked towards the surface, she saw a shoal of fishswimming past. Small silvery-looking fish that seemed almostimpossibly bright in the clear water—a scattering of marquisecutdiamonds on an aquamarine backdrop. They swam fast andpurposefully, as if they were late for an important appointment.Pretty, yes. But worth the dive? Jade didn’t think so. And asfor the rest of the sea life she’d heard so much about but hadn’tseen yet, like the huge leatherback and loggerhead turtles thatthe St Lucia estuary was famous for—well, she was sure there’dbe some in a glass tank, ready for viewing, at uShaka MarineWorld in Durban.Jade had thought learning to scuba dive would be easy, but itwas proving to be the opposite. She’d managed her trainingdives—eventually—but open water terrified her, and she hadnever thought it would.She’d expected that she’d take after her mother in this regard,as she did in so many other ways. Her late father had been areluctant swimmer, a man much more comfortable out of thesea than in it. Although he’d never spoken much about hermother, Jade was certain that she remembered him saying oncehow much she had loved scuba diving.Now she realised she must have inherited her father’s dislikeof the ocean.At last she broke the surface and pulled off her claustrophobicmask. Treading water, she looked up gratefully at the cloudlesssky and felt the coolness of the air against her face. It wouldn’thave this effect for long—not in this heat, with the humiditysmothering the estuary like a pillow, but the first few minutesout of the water always felt refreshing.Miles of sea all around her in every direction, stretching allthe way to the horizon on the seaward side, and the faraway rollingoutline of the forested dunes on the shoreward side. Thevastness of that distance didn’t worry Jade too much. It was thedepths below her that gave her the shivers.Then Amanda surfaced beside her.‘Short break?’ she suggested.Jade nodded and they swam over to the dive boat waitingnearby and clambered on board.‘Well, that seemed to go better,’ Amanda said in an accentthat Jade had originally thought was from southern England, butwhich she had laughingly confessed was pure East End. ‘Fifteenminutes under, this time. That’s two minutes longer than on thelast dive, and you went further, too. Quite an improvement, Ithink. How do you feel?’Jade frowned.‘It still doesn’t feel like my environment. I’m just not comfortablegoing so deep, although I know by scuba standards sixmetres is barely underwater.’Bending over, she eased her finsoff, then unzipped the wetsuit, which was already feeling toowarm, and pulled it down off her shoulders.‘You’ll get there, don’t you worry. Most people take to it likea fish to water, ’scuse the pun, but some never get the hang of it.Others learn how to do it, but just don’t like it.’‘Does that ever change?’ Jade asked, glancing longingly at herT-shirt and shorts that were folded up on the bench.‘Oh, it often does.’Amanda sounded so chirpy that Jade had no idea whether shewas humouring her or not.‘Just you wait. In a couple more days, we’ll have you out onthe big boat, diving in a group with your boyfriend. That’s whereyou really want to be, isn’t it?’Jade didn’t miss the sympathy in her voice. But she couldn’targue with her, because the scuba instructor was spot on. Onehundred per cent correct. She didn’t want to be here, takingprivate lessons that were being offered at no extra charge, thanksto Amanda’s kind-heartedness. She did want to be out on the bigboat with police Superintendent David Patel, who might ormight not be her boyfriend, but who was most definitely goingto be her partner on this trip.David already knew how to scuba dive, so Jade’s plan had beenfor her to complete the diving course with a couple of otherbeginners at the resort, which rejoiced in the name of ScubaSands, and then to join David in exploring the rich coral reefsthat lined the estuary in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park—reefsthat Jade had been interested to learn were the southernmost inthe world.But nothing had gone as planned.Jade’s own fear of open water had held her back. The otherbeginners had completed the course without trouble and had leftthat morning for a full-day’s diving out on the reef with Moniquedu Preez, the other instructor.And David wasn’t even at the resort yet. He’d been supposedto drive down with Jade at the start of the week, but he hadbeen delayed in Jo’burg after a drug-smuggling case he wasworking on had, in his own words, ‘hit the bloody fan harderthan a shit-bomb’.He’d messaged her last night to say that he was getting an afternoonflight from Jo’burg today and would be landing at KingShaka International Airport in Durban at four-thirty. As soon asshe and Amanda got back to shore, Jade would set off to fetch him.But before that, she had one more dive still to get through.She stepped over to the prow of the boat and grasped themetal railing. Just a few minutes out of the water and she wasalready starting to feel sweaty in the oppressive humidity. Thesea was as flat and still as a pond, and the sun burned down froma metallic sky.‘I’m not used to failing,’ she admitted. It was easier to say thewords when she wasn’t looking at the other woman. ‘Up till now,I’ve always managed to do everything I’ve wanted to do. Somethings have been easy, like . . .’She stopped herself. She’d been going to say: like shooting.That had come naturally to Jade. The first gun she had fired atthe age of twelve had been a rifle almost as tall as she was, andshe’d hit her target—a Coke can—at a distance of more than ahundred metres.Admittedly, that gun had had telescopic sights. But the handgunsshe’d fired since then had not. Guns felt like an extension ofher own body; shooting was almost as instinctive as breathing.She had made a promise, though, that she wasn’t going to talkabout her work activities on this holiday. Not with David there.Her ability to shoot, and what she had used it for, had causedproblems between them that, at one stage, Jade had feared werepermanent and would never be resolved.Amanda laughed, obviously misinterpreting Jade’s suddensilence. ‘Yeah, I know. You can never remember all the things youcan do easily when you’re thinking about the one thing you can’t.’‘Cycling,’ Jade said, picking a safer subject. ‘I love to cycle. Ibought a mountain bike a while ago and I try to get out on it atleast three times a week. I’m good with uphills. They don’t botherme at all. Not when I’m cycling or when I’m running. I do thatas well, and I’ve been training myself to run barefoot.’‘Well, that’s incredible. Hills just about kill me, whether I’m ona bike or my own two feet. But I can see you keep yourself fit.’‘I’d like to do the long cycle races one day. The 94.7 kilometreone up in Jo’burg and the Cape Argus.’‘Ah,’ Amanda said. ‘And have you done the L’Eroica Chianticycling race in Italy? I was wondering when I saw your shirt.’Jade glanced across at her faded T-shirt that had, indeed, beena free gift to all entrants from the race organisers a few yearsback. She hadn’t completed the ride, though. She’d been assignedas security detail to a wealthy British businessman’s wife who’dgone there hoping to cycle the medium-distance route. But thewoman hadn’t put in nearly enough training for the tough,135-kilometre course over rough, hilly terrain, and she’d beenforced to retire before she’d even reached the halfway point.That meant that, as her bodyguard, Jade had had to swallow herdisappointment and put her own bicycle in the back of the pickupvan together with her client’s when it came round to collectthe stragglers.‘I didn’t finish it,’ she said. ‘I was there with a client who pulledout before the halfway mark. I was disappointed, but there wasnothing I could do. It felt like a failure, too, even though it wasn’tmy fault.’Amanda gave a small nod and a shadow crossed her face.‘Failure’s never easy to cope with,’ she said in a soft voice.‘Especially when it’s not your fault.’Her hand strayed to the small gold airplane pendant that shewore on a chain around her neck, and she slid it from side toside; an instinctive gesture that Jade had seen her make before,but thought Amanda herself was unaware of.Taking comfort from the familiar action, perhaps.Jade wondered what failure Amanda had experienced. Whateverit was, she clearly didn’t want to talk about it, and Jade wasn’tgoing to ask.Changing the topic, she said, ‘That’s a pretty piece of jewellery.’The dark-haired woman smiled.‘My mother gave it to me when I started work at Heathrow.’‘Flight attendant?’Now Amanda’s smile widened. ‘No. Actually, I’m an air-trafficcontroller. I started out in England and then travelled aroundthe world. That’s what I’m qualified to do; what I’ve alwaysdone. The scuba diving is just a hobby, really.’Jade nodded, hoping her surprise didn’t show on her face.She’d never have imagined that the woman who had been sopatiently teaching her to dive had held down one of the toughestand most responsible jobs in the world—co-ordinating theapproach and departure of airplanes at what must be one of theworld’s busiest commercial airports.‘I see,’ she said. ‘Sorry.’‘For what?’‘Underestimating your abilities.’‘You wouldn’t be the first one to do that. People see a diveinstructor in her thirties, working in a little resort like this, andthey assume she’s a drifter who never had any ambitions in life.At least you asked.’Jade smiled.‘That was my old life,’ Amanda continued. ‘Up until last year.I’ve been here almost six months now.’‘Are you enjoying the change? It must be far less stressful.’Jade had thought Amanda would agree, but instead she lookedaway.‘Not really,’ she said.Her words struck a chord with Jade. Made her reflect on herown situation. She was qualified as a bodyguard and had years ofexperience as a private investigator, working on her own andwith big firms. But that might well have to change now.She knew David didn’t approve of the work she did, becauseof the danger to which it exposed her. Not to mention the factthat in solving her cases she often chose to go beyond the law, orthat some of the cases she handled were not legal at all.Could she do what Amanda had done? Turn her back on herprevious life and start afresh doing something else? And if so,what on earth would that new career involve? Would it be toolate to finish the law degree she’d started long ago, before shehad decided that her heart and her talent lay elsewhere?One thing was for sure—becoming a scuba-diving instructorwas definitely out of the question.‘Shall we go under again? Aim for sixteen minutes this time?’Amanda asked.Jade dug her fingernails into the palms of her hands. Onemore dive. Another visit to the depths. The time stretched aheadof her, endless as a prison sentence, but she had to do it. Theonly thing she feared more than being under the water wasgiving up on trying.‘Ok. Let’s give it a go,’ she said.

Editorial Reviews

“Searing… Mackenzie’s blend of contemporary South African issues with Jade’s inner turmoil is pitch perfect, and the true cliffhanger will leave fans eager for more.” —Publishers Weekly STARRED REVIEW“A white-knuckle thriller with an utterly chilling finale.”—Tess Gerritsen "[H]igh suspense, complex story, and almost non-stop action." —Gumshoe ReviewPraise for the Jade de Jong series:“Remarkable.”—The New York Times Book Review