Winner of the 2020 Ned Kelly Award for Debut Crime Fiction
Short-listed for the 2020 Davitt Awards for Best Adult Crime Fiction &
Best Debut Crime Fiction
Present Tense is a riveting hard-boiled police procedural set in modern South Africa.
Veteran cop Schalk Lourens is trying to put the past behind him. But when his old boss, retired police chief Piet Pieterse, is murdered Schalk finds history has a way of infecting everything.
Meanwhile, it’s also an election year. People are pinning their hopes on charismatic ANC candidate Gideon Radebe but there’s opposition and in this volatile country, unrest is never far from the surface.
Schalk must tread a difficult path between the new regime and the old, between the personal and the professional, between justice and revenge.
Natalie Conyer was born and grew up in Cape Town, so she knows the physical and political landscape of her novel’s setting.
Praise for Present Tense
"tough, gripping…a first class murder investigation…
I eagerly look forward to [Natalie's] next book"
- Murder, Mayhem and Long Dogs
"punchy writing, intriguing characters, South Africa’s
complexities laid bare. A must read"
- L.A. Larkin
"this superbly structured novel with its cast of engaging
characters is among other things an almost
incidental masterclass in the realities of
life in South Africa"
- Kerryn Goldsworthy
The Age/The Sydney Morning Herald
"so well written…I look forward to
a second in the series"
- Enid Lacob
Capetonian will revel in the authenticity"
- David Shevel
"Present Tense does not read like an author’s first work. It is confident, has a steady pace and progression and Conyers ties all the ends up neatly as a good crime novelist should. With a convincing sense of time and place and in Schalk Lourens a promising addition to the pantheon of fictional detectives, it augurs well for a series worth reading."