Cries of the Forgotten
A Murder Mystery of Postapartheid South Africa
Author: Percy Makhuba
Genre: Murder mystery; Paranormal
Price: 0.99 USD
Cover art: Louca Matheo
John Burdett, internationally best-selling mystery author of Bangkok 8 (Sonchai Jitpleecheep Series), The Last Six Million Seconds and A Personal History of Thirst calls Cries of the Forgotten, “A moving insight into Zulu shamanism and Christian forgiveness in today’s troubled South Africa.”
From a new, powerful voice in the post-apartheid South African canon of authors, comes Cries of the Forgotten, a murder mystery that explores the scars left by the inner war of a nation.
A seemingly ordinary man with an extraordinary secret…
One day, Tshepo Nonyane, a mild-mannered government statistician walks into the Johannesburg Metro Police Department and confesses to the brutal rapes and murders of several women. He describes his crimes in grisly detail, even as his clean-cut, sincere appearance completely belies the violent man he claims to be.
As Detective Eloff Mueller and her police partner, Joseph Langa, investigate Nonyane’s horrifying confessions, they find themselves pulled into a world where appearance and reality are blurred beyond recognition. They could never have prepared for what is uncovered along with the skeletons of the long-dead and forgotten victims of South Africa’s epidemic violence against women.
Tshepo, the son of one of the country’s most powerful sangomas (medicine men), has long-denied his heritage and believes he has gone mad from refusing to follow his ancestral calling. His madness has led him to murder and brutality…or so he believes. Along with the visions of his unthinkable crimes, the act of confession opens up long-forgotten wounds and secrets he has been keeping from himself. Unlocking the depths of his soul leads to consequences he, and everyone else in his beloved South Africa, could never have imagined in a million lifetimes.
Part murder mystery, part social statement and part spiritual journey, Cries of the Forgotten is one man’s odyssey to protect and heal the nation he loves from its self-inflicted wounds. With a cast of characters who yearn for justice in a nation where men and women have long been at war against themselves and each other, Cries of the Forgotten explores the pressing question of what it will take for the violence to end, once and for all.
“Tshepo, you’re not a killer. Let’s go home, please.”
Tshepo stopped on the steps of the police station and looked briefly at his wife. The devotion and admiration Nandipha’s eyes reflected for him was unbearable. He’d never deserved her, not after his great act of cowardice had led only to brutality and death. “We’ve discussed this endlessly, Nandi. I’m a killer. I must pay for my crimes. Go home. I promise I will call you. You shouldn’t have got out of the cab.”
Nandipha’s large, beautiful eyes filled. Behind her, the traffic of Johannesburg passed on Main Street. A tear trembled on her lash and rolled down her smooth dark cheek. “You’re not a killer. I know what you are. Why won’t you listen to me?”
“Because you’re prejudiced in my favour. I can do no wrong. You do not see who is in front of you.”
“I do see you. Of all the people in the world, I see you when no one else will. I can’t let you do this. I beg you, Tshepo.”
He turned and went in. There was a line ahead of him. Thankfully, Nandi stopped her tearful begging, but she stood and sniffled endlessly. He could hear her silent pleas, however. When two people had been soulmates since birth, the connection was so deep they could hear each other’s thoughts and finish their sentences. Finally, when he could bear her suffering no longer, he looked at her. He restrained the overpowering urge to wipe the stains of her tears from her cheeks. The near obsidian hue of her skin contrasted with the orange house dress she wore. She’d always worn dresses like that, simple and humble. She wore a matching band to pull back her abundance of perfect, smooth braids. No doubt, she craved his touch after so many years, but he would not mar her beauty with his monster’s hands. She never complained. His beautiful Nandi. “Please, my love,” he murmured. “Go home now. I will call you. I promise.”
“All right. But what you’re doing is wrong.” She turned and walked out of the station.
Tshepo watched her leave. Perhaps there was a time he would have relented and followed her, but he could no longer allow the carnage to continue.
The line crept forward. The clock read well after lunchtime when he finally reached the window and leant slightly inward so that the woman behind the desk would hear him over the din of ringing phones and numerous conflict resolutions happening around them. “I’m here to confess to murder.”
The weary desk sergeant stared at him. Her dark eyes seemed to be assessing whether he was a crackpot she should send away. Of course, she wouldn’t. Anyone who was confessing to murder had to be questioned, at least. Her eyes rested an extra moment on his forehead. Eyes always did rest there, at the crudely fashioned image of a dragon-like snake consuming its own body. The true semiotic of a serial killer. And rapist. “Name?”
He cleared his perpetually dry throat. “Tshepo Nonyane.” Tshepo held out his ID card.
Her round, smooth dark cheeks reminded him of the faces of the women whose lives he had ended. If he looked any longer, he would once again be swimming in a pool of blood; a pool full of the bodies of his victims. “I’m not crazy. I’m telling you the truth.”
“One moment, please.” She picked up a phone and pressed a button. “Yes. Someone has come in named Tshepo Nonyane. He wants to make a confession to murder.” She listened and nodded. Whoever was on the other end was obviously giving her instructions. “Yes, sir,” she answered and replaced the receiver. She signalled to a nearby officer. “Put him in Room Three.”
The officer, young enough to be his son, took his arm. “This way.”
About the author::
Percy Makhuba was born on 18 June 1967 in Honeydew, South Africa. He grew up living on a farm and attended school at Paradise bend School and Witkoppen High School. Percy studied transport management at Rand Afrikaans University qualifying in 2002. He founded a church in 2008 and is currently a Visionary Leader and a Senior Pastor of Percy Healing Word Ministry.