On surprise endings
The novel's Mat Joubert is also a believable example of the damaged police protagonist, his everyday struggles perhaps easier for the reader to identify with because of their very homeliness. A damaged protagonist need not be a total wreck in order to involve readers.
I'm less sure about the novel's ending, its solution to a string of killings that have galvanized much of South Africa's media and thrown a nervous police hierarchy into near-panic. The killer is, in fact, plausible, and Meyer lays some especially convincing false trails. I never guessed beforehand who the killer was, but I didn't slap myself in the forehead either and exclaim, "Oh my god, that's right!" when I did find out.
So, what makes for a successful shock ending? For an unsuccessful one? Give examples — if you dare.
© Peter Rozovsky 2008