When Killers Cry is a thriller set in 1981 South Africa during the turbulent and violent apartheid years. While it is a work of fiction, it is based on facts and in events that actually happened. A fast-paced, action packed story that shows the true effect of the Nationalist Government’s racist policies, which affected people of all colours, creeds and races. The author grew up in South Africa during this time and it is based on her memories and experiences, plus subsequent research into that period of history. It’s 1981 and South Africa is in the grip of apartheid. The ANC’s armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe, is stepping up violent retaliation; detentions, strikes and riots are increasing daily. Reporter Hannah Smith, stumbles into a quagmire of political conspiracy when she begins investigating the deaths of black activists and dissidents. What she learns puts her life and that of her friends and family in danger. No one can be trusted, not even Tom Maartens, the police detective who has been helping her. With the support of her friend Themba Ntini, a black journalist working covertly, and illegally, alongside her, and best friend Dani, Hannah uncovers a plot that, if it succeeds, will plunge the country into a chasm from which there will be no return.
“Excellent story that leads to some understanding of that tumultuous time”
Five Star Review on Amazon By Gary van Eck
As a young adult growing up in the era that the book is set in, I found it a riveting and well written story that was very easy to relate to. For those outside South Africa who never experienced that tumultuous time first hand it will help to understand the psyche of protagonists on both sides, and the many innocents caught in between.
About the Author
I grew up during apartheid in South Africa and was greatly influenced by how it affected the lives of all South Africans. As I grew older and the armed struggle intensified, I was forced to confront the things I’d been taught and came to the realisation that the constant propaganda school children were fed was nothing but the attempt of the government to indoctrinate and control us. As an English South African I was confused about my role in the country, as historically the ‘English’ were the enemy.
My father and brother both served in the armed forces and a number of my friends died while serving on the ‘border’ – either South West Africa (now Namibia) , Angola or Mozambique, despite the government’s constant assertion that South Africa was not involved in the Angolan conflict. Others have still not recovered from their time in the Defence Force. I witnessed first hand the effect that National Service had on families and friends.
I trained as a teacher and taught in a white-only school, but as the political landscape changed was personally involved in the integration of schools. A song I wrote was performed for the United Nations Observers before the first democratic elections in 1994, an event few ever expected to happen, let alone peacefully. Part of my struggle in the classroom was dealing with children whose parents were in the Defence Force and who’d been taught their whole lives that blacks are inferior. This spilled into the classroom and playground and was hard to handle, but it gave me insight into how the change in the country was affecting all of us.
I left teaching to become a television scriptwriter and worked on the Prix Jeuneux winning Kideo. During a national script writing competition I was selected to be on the team of Generations, a multi-lingual soap. As a white writer I wasn’t ‘allowed’ to be in the public eye and for the first time experienced apartheid from the ‘other side’.
I moved into writing industry specific literacy programmes for illiterate adults, and saw the results of the apartheid policies on education over the past decades. Black learners suffered greatly under the previous regime and this has impacted my writing.
When Killers Cry is based on my own experiences of life during apartheid, although it is fictional, inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings set up after Nelson Mandela’s election as the country’s first black president. It’s important to mention that as I grew up Mandela was considered a terrorist and it was forbidden to speak or write his name. Censorship effectively strangled the truth and very little of what actually went on was revealed to the average white man in the street. One of the greatest influences on my writing this book, was the research I did into the death squads operated by the government.
I also write YA and children’s fantasy and scifi under the pen name Katy Krump.
I regularly speak as an after dinner speaker to businessmen’s clubs, the Women’s Institute and other organisations and am the ‘Voice of South Africa’ at the Empire and Commonwealth Museum.
If you’re interested in having me visit your school or club, please get in touch via my website or publisher.