When the South African Police Service receive a panicked call for help from the wayward daughter of a former Apartheid-era politician, they discover only her body but, within it, a message which will take Colonel Vaughn de Vries and Don February of the Special Crimes Unit on a journey through their country - and their country's past - to decipher and resolve. As organised crime grips South Africa, new players arrive in Cape Town, determined to exploit the poor and hopeless, promising redemption. While other government agencies snap impotently at the small fish, De Vries, linked by a personal connection, resolves to follow this trail to its source and take it down from the top. As decades old webs of corruption and influence are exposed, and the boundaries of morality blur, his decisions begin to impact on his friends, colleagues and family.Shortlisted for the Crime Writer's Association Gold Dagger 2014 (Crime Novel of the Year)Praise for Paul Mendelson:'An excellent, uncompromising crime thriller made even better by its setting . . . the story is two journeys in one, and I'm glad I took both' Lee Child'Mendelson is fast becoming a worthy rival to Deon Meyer . . . raw and atmospheric' The Times'Mendelson plots so smoothly and writes so powerfully' The Guardian'A jaw-droppingly brilliant crime thriller. Imagine The Killing moved to Cape Town and into the landscape of the hot and dusty African veld' Philip Glenister'The First Rule of Survival is an incredibly atmospheric, complex and dazzling debut from a thrilling and authentic new voice in crime fiction' Brian McGilloway
Paul Mendelson has written for the theatre and television and is the author of eleven non-fiction titles concerning mind-sports such as bridge and poker, as well as being a crime novelist whose first novel, The First Rule of Survival, was short-listed for the CWA Golden Dagger Crime Novel of the Year in 2014. His second novel, The Serpentine Road, was long-listed for the same prize in 2015. Both have been translated into several languages and a television adaptation is already in preparation.