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Mike Nicol Books In Order

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Publication Order of PI Fish Pescado and Vicki Kahn Books

Of Cops & Robbers (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
Agents of the State (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sleeper (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Revenge Trilogy Books

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Powers That Be (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Day And Age (1992)Description / Buy at Amazon
Horseman (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Ibis Tapestry (1998)Description / Buy at Amazon
Power Play (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Collections

Among The Souvenirs (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
This Sad Place (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

A Good-Looking Corpse (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Waiting Country (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sea Mountain, Fire City (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Firm (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Invisible Line (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Mike Nicol is a South African author of nonfiction thriller and mystery books. He is also a journalist and a teacher of online courses on non-fiction narrative and creative writing. Though he’s a resident of Cape Town, Mike Nicol has had writer-in-residence positions at Berlin and University of Essen.

The author was born, raised in Cape Town and was educated in Johannesburg where he began his career as a journalist. In the 1980’s Nicol went back to Cape Town where he worked on the Magazine Leadership for a couple of years. Towards the end of the decade, Nicol published his first book The Powers That Be and quit his day job from the magazine and began a full-time writing career or what he refers to as the scary life of a freelance writer and journalist.


Mike Nicol, who lives in Cape Town, is versatile. Because apart from an author he is also a journalist, teacher of online writing courses creative writing and non-fiction stories. Also, he also works, by invitation, as a writer-in-residence at the universities of Cape Town, Berlin and Essen. Before Nicol started writing thrillers, he wrote novels and non-fiction, including the Mandela published in 2006: the authorized portrait. The first part of his successful Cape Town trilogy, Payback, has been nominated as a thriller of the year 2015 by the UN Thriller and Detective Guide.

In a previous life, Mace Bishop and his friend Pylon Buso were successful weapons smugglers. Because they wanted to slow down, they have been running a security service for rich tourists for some time. One day, Mike is approached by Isabella Medicis, a woman with whom he did business ten years earlier, but also had a relationship with it. At her request and because he can use the money well, he agrees with his last arms smuggling. A risky company. Also, he gets to deal with Sheemina February, a not always discreet lawyer. What is her motivation to take revenge on Mike?

After the prologue that plays in the present, which makes you curious, the story makes a jump to 1998, after which the sequel runs chronologically. Then also begins the introduction to the most important characters that have been worked out pretty well in the beginning. Because these characters are numerous, they initially also cause some ambiguity, but as soon as you get to know them better, and that’s pretty fast, that’s over, and you can go into the story.

The latter is not difficult. The story breathes the atmosphere of the raw Cape Town from the very beginning. It shows that crime plays a significant role in this city of size. Apart from this side of Cape Town Nicol has also created space for South African culture and history in the story, but politics is not left untouched? Yet his objective, and that is to make Payback an exciting and fascinating story, does not lose sight of.

One of the strongest points of the book is the dialogues, especially those between Mace and Pylon. Sometimes they are serious, sometimes humorous, but also have a slightly aggressive undertone. With these two characters, Nicol has created a well-coordinated duo. Also, the role of Sheemina February should not be underestimated. She is a lawyer, but at the same time mysterious and seems to have a double agenda. Three strong characters, but that also applies to some others.

The story has no constant tension. That does not matter, because from start to finish it remains fascinating. Indeed, there is so much that it is almost impossible to keep the attention out of it as the denouement approaches, however, the exciting moment’s increase. And it is revealed what the reason for Sheemina’s revenge is.

In spite of the rather criminal past of Mace and Pylon, you can connect them in your heart. They do their best to be a good family man but still, go near the bottom of society. Maybe that’s what makes Payback what it is: a great thriller. Not only is Payback a thriller but also a story that gives the reader a glimpse into the daily lives of people in South Africa. A resident of Cape Town, it’s certain that Mike Nicol has accustomed himself with different communities in the country, the life of Cape Town’s underworld and how crime is solved.

Killer Country

Killer Country is the second novel in Revenge trilogy and follows the adventures and misadventures of two realistic but unsympathetic characters named Pylon Buso and Mace who are relentlessly but secretly ill-treated by Sheemina February, a woman they tortured and interrogated during the apartheid years in South Africa when they worked as counter-intelligence agents for the liberation movement. Sheemina is straight to her mission- to destroy them, drive them mad and if possible kill them.

Despite surviving career as spies, arms dealers, struggle soldiers, mercenaries, and smugglers, Pylon and Mace are portrayed as incompetent, variously brilliant, impressive, capable and stupid as Sheemina manages to manipulate her to her evil deeds. All the events unfold in Cape Town, a beautiful city in a way that its another character in this beautiful story. The author writes in a confident style, narrating the story of Killer Country from a different point of views, tracing all the thoughts and the actions of all the main characters. Additionally, the characterization is brilliantly done, and each character in the book is complex and multi-layered, and each is flawed in some way. In fact, there are no good guys in this book as all are involved in corruption, deceit, and violence characterizes their everyday life.

On the other hand, the writing is strong, and each scene in the story is detailed described. Each scene operates as nice flash fiction scenes that piece into a large whole especially as the story unfolds from different perspectives. The story also evokes a strong sense of place and also gives a fascinating glimpse into the intricate social relations in South Africa, one of the most developed countries in Africa.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Mike Nicol

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