I have been meaning to read Zulu by Caryl Férey for a while. I got to another one of his novels, [b:Utu|11523445|Utu|Caryl Férey|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328046716s/11523445.jpg|7159859], first and knew that Férey's style is intensely violent. The violence is gratuitous because it could be an equally effective story without the violent descriptions, but at the same time supports the overall feel of social breakdown and amorality that Férey's main characters must confront through the course of their investigation. So, it works but it also takes some getting used to.Originally writing in French, Férey's work takes place in radically different places. [b:Utu|11523445|Utu|Caryl Férey|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328046716s/11523445.jpg|7159859] is set in New Zealand, and Zulu in South Africa. Setting gritty noir novels in these exotic locations makes for an even more out of place feeling with the narrator. Violence between racial groups, especially the colonizers and newly enfranchised colonized, is the main mode.In Zulu, the main character, Ali Neuman, witnessed the murder of his father and brother during ethnic violence predating the ending of apartheid. The violence continues much later, both in the townships and in the murders of two well off white girls. Neuman is of course trying to find the murderer, this is a mystery novel after all, but at the same time stumbles upon crimes that are much worse (if that's even imaginable). The connections between the surprise and conspiracy elements of the plot are strained at times, unless the reader is perfectly willing to go along with the plot and try not to guess at plot points ahead. At times the narration takes a step away from the actions of the broad cast of main characters to explain some aspects of the distinctly South African concerns. AIDS plays a major role in the plot as well as the committees set up after Mandela's election to address the wrongs of apartheid. These long explanatory passages are breaks from the intensity of the plot. Ordinarily this would be very useful background, but the movement away from the otherwise tightly plotted and thrilling crime novel can be frustrating.