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Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

Please welcome author JASSY MACKENZIE for a special Friday-only feature!

 

Her website is here: 

http://www.jassymackenzie.com/

 

Jassy Mackenzie - thriller writer

 

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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

[ Edited ]

Biography

Jassy Mackenzie is from a family where books weren’t just more important than television, they were so important that television was banned from the house.

Jassy is the second youngest of five daughters. Her mother Ann Mackenzie was a well-known short story writer in her day. Jassy’s sister Vicky Jones, who lives in New Zealand, is a prize-winning author of children’s books.

Today, Jassy is the editor of HJ, a hair and beauty trade magazine. She has had numerous non-fiction articles on a wide variety of subjects published locally and internationally over the past 11 years. 

 
Jassy was born in Rhodesia (as all ex-Zimbabweans still prefer to call it), and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. She loves the energy, danger and excitement of Johannesburg, and believes there is no better place for a thriller writer to live.

Jassy herself has been hijacked at gunpoint outside her home, and had her car taken from her by force. When she was younger and less sensible, she had an uncanny knack of choosing unsavoury boyfriends who were involved in everything from cocaine dealing to smuggling.

She is 39 years old and lives in Kyalami with her wonderful partner Dion, two horses and two cats.

About Random Violence, Jassy says, “Writing a first novel is a scary process, almost as frightening as having a gun jammed against your head and being dragged out of your car by your throat. But while an act of violence is committed in a heartbeat, a novel takes much longer. Writing a book takes months. It’s like living with a psychopathic axe murderer whose sanity might snap at any moment. My belief in the story kept me going. I am inspired by the hope that one day I can share the terrifying, exhilarating essence of Johannesburg with readers across the world.”

 

© Jassy Mackenzie 2007
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

Pale Horses (Jade de Jong Series #4)  

 

The latest novel in the gritty Jade de Jong series, set in contemporary Johannesburg, weaves together two tales: the first, of a young base-jumper whose parachute fails to open, drawing Jade into the woman's muddled past at a newly abandoned commune, and the other, of a young mother who has lost nearly everything to a mysterious biological disaster, and is held hostage as chauffeur to a killer with her son's life on the line.

 

 

 

According to Booklist's STARRED REVIEW, PALE HORSES is “sure to appeal to fans of Liza Marklund, Zoe Sharp, and Mackenzie’s fellow South African crime writer Deon Meyer.” Publishers Weekly also calls the story "gripping . . . hurtl[ing] toward a devastating climax."
 

Overview

 

Book 4 in the PI Jade de Jong thriller series set in South Africa

 

At first, the case appears to be one of simple misadventure. Sonet Meintjies, a base jumper, falls to her death while attempting to parachute off a newly built sixty-five-story Sandton skyscraper. But Sonet's jumping partner Victor Theron insists that this was no accident, and he hires private investigator Jade de Jong to uncover the truth.
 
Glad of the distraction from her conflicted and seemingly doomed relationship with police superintendent David Patel, Jade immerses herself in the case. She discovers that Sonet worked for a charity that helped impoverished communities become self-supporting farming units. Sonet's ex-husband, though, has nothing good to say about his wife or the work she has done. He tells Jade that Sonet's efforts were a useless waste of money and that the farming projects were not sustainable.
 
When Jade travels out to the Siyabonga community's farm in Limpopo, hoping to prove him wrong, she finds it not just abandoned but razed to the ground. Digging deeper for answers about where the residents went and why they left their fertile valley, Jade finds out that one man died from a terminal illness. Then, to her concern, she learns about more sicknesses and more deaths... a fatal but unknown disease that swept through the entire community.
 
Jade then discovers that Sonet's sister Zelda, a journalist, was investigating this mystery too. Teniel had discovered that one woman and her son had survived the plague and had left the area, and she was doing her best to track that woman down so she could hear her story.
 
But now Zelda is missing, and Jade will have to race against time in order to find her. A deadly harvest has been gathered in, and the only person who knows the real truth about it has been forced to become collateral in its trade.

 
 

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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

http://jsydneyjones.wordpress.com/2010/03/31/jassy-mackenzies-jo%E2%80%99burg-top-of-the-crime-pile/

 

 

Jassy Mackenzie’s Jo’burg: ‘Top of the Crime Pile’

 

South African crime novelist Jassy Mackenzie hit the ground running with her 2008 publication, Random Violence,featuring gutsy PI Jade de Jong. Set in contemporary Johannesburg, the novel earned local acclaim. South Africa’sSunday Times declared that this debut “excels in its ability to translate our propensity for violent crime into a clever plot that could take place only in South Africa. Just released in the United States,Random Violence earned a starred review in Publishers Weekly, with the critic terming it a “triumphant debut,” and further noting, “Readers will wish Jade a long fictional career.”

 

Mackenzie’s 2009 title, My Brother’s Keeper, a finalist in the Best Paperback Original category of the International Thriller Awardsis another gritty novel featuring a psychopathic villain and also set in Johannesburg, but this one does not feature JadeMackenzie reprises her resilient PI in Stolen Lives, in which Jade is hired as a bodyguard by a wealthy housewife whose husband has disappeared. That novel is scheduled for a 2010 publication in South Africa.

Jassy, welcome to Scene of the Crime, and thanks for coming on board to investigate spirit of place in crime fiction.

First, could you describe your connection to Johannesburg?

I’m originally from Zimbabwe, but my family moved to Johannesburg when I was eight. Apart from a few years spent overseas, I’ve lived here ever since. Jo’burg is an enormous, sprawling city but I love to drive, and over the years I think I’ve been to just about every part of it.

 

The juxtaposition of wealth and poverty makes it a fascinating, if somewhat disturbing, social study. In ten minutes, you can drive from the most ostentatious five-star hotel in the wealthy CBD of Sandton, to an informal settlement with tumbledown shacks cobbled together from cardboard and corrugated iron.

What things about Johannesburg make it unique and a good physical setting in your books?

Jo’burg has a dark side – its high violent crime rate – and this is what makes it such a compelling location for a thriller writer. The city came into existence when vast gold deposits were discovered in the Witwatersrand basin. Unlike most other major cities, it is nowhere near a waterway or even a water supply. It was built in an arid, treeless dustbowl. One of the most interesting facts about Johannesburg is that, over the years, its residents planted so many trees that today it is officially classified as a forest.

If Cape Town can be compared to San Francisco, Johannesburg can definitely be compared to New York. The city has an amazing energy, even if it is somewhat shallow and superficial. Everything here has to be big and bling, from the cars to the hairstyles to the houses, and this translates to our crime as well. Threaten a Jo’burg resident with a knife and he’ll laugh at you. When we get robbed, it’s by large gangs armed with automatic weapons.

Did you consciously set out to use Johannesburg as a “character” in your books, or did this grow naturally out of the initial story or stories?

I set out to make Jo’burg a character in my books. I wanted to paint a picture of the city for international readers, from its gridlocked heart to its wild rural outskirts; from the beggars holding cardboard signs at street corners to the new rich speeding uncaringly by in their SUVs. The city has so many faces – the beautiful old Parktown mansions designed by renowned architect Herbert Baker, the elegant span of the recently built Nelson Mandela Bridge – the largest cable-stayed bridge in Southern Africa. Then there are the crumbling buildings in Hillbrow, long abandoned by their original owners, their walls patterned with graffiti and blackened by rogue fires. And, of course, those dreadful high-walled, fake-Tuscan housing estates that are mushrooming in the wealthy northern suburbs and beginning to characterize the “new” Jo’burg.

How do you incorporate location in your fiction? Do you pay overt attention to it in certain scenes, or is it a background inspiration for you?

Some of my scenes are set in specific places and I have enormous fun researching and describing these. The Catz Pajamas in Melville, which appears in Random Violence, is a real restaurant and it really does serve the best nachos in town. Other locations are fictitious, but they are still based on the reality that I see and read about every day. For me, scene setting is a lot like dreaming. In my dreams, some scenes are crystal clear and familiar, while others are shadowy and indistinct – and, of course, any dream can turn into a nightmare.

How does Jade de Jong interact with her surroundings? Is she a native, a blow-in, a reluctant or enthusiastic inhabitant, cynical about it, a booster? And conversely, how does the setting affect your protagonist?

Jade de Jong, the heroine of Random Violence and its just-completed sequelStolen Lives, is a die-hard Jo’burg woman. Like me, she loves the city despite its flaws. Like me, she’s been a victim of crime herself. The difference is that I stay behind a computer and write, while Jade ventures out onto the streets to investigate crimes and occasionally dispense her own brand of vigilante justice.

Has there been any local reaction to your works?

I’ve been fortunate that both my books – Random Violence and My Brother’s Keeper – have had excellent local reviews. A reviewer from theSunday Times was kind enough to say, with tongue firmly in cheek, “Mackenzie deserves a vote of thanks from Jozi residents for restoring their city to its rightful position at the top of the crime pile.”

Random Violence has been translated into German, and has had good reviews from critics in that country as well. I think that with the Fifa World Cup football taking place later this year, there’s a surge of international interest in South Africa, which is great news for local thriller writers.

Of the novels you have set in Johannesburg, do you have a favorite book or scene that focuses on the place? Could you quote a short passage or give an example of how the location figures in your novels?

From Random Violence:

“Whiteboy shifted his weight in the seat and turned the heater down. He slowed at a traffic light. This was Diepsloot. On his left. A dark, smoky labyrinth of tin shacks and cardboard walls and the shells of cars. From the smell of it, the residents weren’t only burning wood to keep warm. They were burning anything they could lay their hands on, from garbage to car tires. A few houses had electric light, but their power was stolen, channeled down from the main lines via illegal cables. Every so often, he knew, some power thief would hit the headlines by getting fried when trying that trick.

“Taxis bumped off the tarmac and stopped and started in an endless rhythm, floods of passengers emerging from the doors, hunched and hurried. He saw two prostitutes standing at the light. Their short, brightly colored skirts revealed brown chunky legs, and their arms were wrapped around their bodies for warmth.

“’Okay,’ Whiteboy said to himself. ‘Where does a white man go to find trouble in this place?’”

And another one:

“The Townview police station was dusty and dirty, with yellowing notices on the wall informing the public about things nobody bothered to read. David shook his head as he thought what Jade’s father would do if he saw the average police station today and how it compared to the ones he had commanded.

“Commissioner de Jong would have exploded in a bout of furious energy, a trait that Jade had inherited and, because of that, always amused him. He would have scrubbed the place down, put in a request for new chairs, ripped the old posters off the walls. He would have repaired and patched and given the place a fresh coat of paint. Removed those dusty old blinds and brightened the place up. And knowing Jade’s father, if it still wasn’t bright enough, he would have knocked another couple of windows into the wall himself without bothering to ask permission first.

“David’s greeting was not returned by the large lady constable at the front desk. She looked up at him with dull eyes.

“’Yes?’

“’I’d like to see your station commander.’

“’In connection with?’

“’Private matter. And urgent,’ he added, as she heaved herself to her feet and lumbered across the room. She was unfit and unkempt and her uniform was stretched to its limit in every direction.”

Who are your favorite writers, and do you feel that other writers influenced you in your use of the spirit of place in your novels?

I love thrillers with a strong sense of place, and I’ve always believed that place is an essential aspect of a crime novel because crime is a reflection of society, and society in turn is a product of its environment.

 

My favorite writers today include Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver and Harlan Coben, as well as local author Deon Meyer. I remember being spellbound by the descriptions of the Florida Keys in John D. MacDonald’s Travis McGee series, and fascinated by Edward X Delaney’s New York in the novels by Lawrence Sanders.

Jassy, once again many thanks for taking the time to be with Scene of the Crime,and good luck with the U.S. publication of Random Violence.

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http://www.thebloodybookweek.co.za/jassy-mackenzie.htm

 

The Bloody Book Week | JASSY MACKENZIE

 

JASSY MACKENZIE

JASSY MACKENZIE works as a magazine journalist. Her passion, though, is writing crime novels. She is the author of Random ViolenceMy Brother's Keeper,Stolen Lives and Worst Case. Her books are published in the United States and in Germany and have been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and an international thriller award. She lives and works in Johannesburg.

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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

http://geosireads.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/an-interview-with-south-african-writer-jassy-mackenzie/

 

An Interview with South African Writer, Jassy Mackenzie

Credit: cca.ukzn.ac.za

Brief Biography:

Jassy Mackenzie was born in Zimbabwe and moved to South Africa when she was eight years old. Mackenzie is from a family where books weren’t just more important than television; they were so important that television was banned from the house.

Mackenzie’s first novel, Random Violence(2008), was shortlisted for Best First Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Africa region in 2009. It has also been nominated for a Shamus Award in the Best First Book category in the USA and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Her second book, a standalone thriller called My Brother’s Keeper(2009), was shortlisted for Best First Novel – Paperback Original in the International Thriller Awards.

Mackenzie’s next book in the Jade de Jong series, Stolen Lives, was published in 2010. The following year, Worst Case was published (in the USA as The Fallen in 2012), and has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Pale Horses will be published as part of the series in South Africa in 2012, and will be published in the USA the following year.

Mackenzie is also the editor of HJ, a hair and beauty magazine. She lives in Johannesburg with her partner, where the high levels of crime experienced by citizens daily, provide a fertile field of inspiration for an up-and-coming thriller writer.

Note: The interview was conducted at the just ended 15th Time of the Writer Festival in Durban, South Africa.

GeosiReads: What brought you to South Africa?

Jassy Mackenzie: Family move. My father had a job offer in South Africa and so we moved.

GR: What books did you read growing up as a child?

JM: I read all sorts of books. Our house was filled with books. For example, I read books like Lord of the Rings, Crime books like Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey and many others.

GR: Your books have won various prizes. What does that mean for you?

JM: I have rather been shortlisted. It is a great honour. Prizes are important because they get your books out there.

GR: When did you begin to write?

JM: I have always written ever since I was young. I wrote poems and short stories.

GR: Any reason why you write?

Myself and Jassy Mackenzie

JM: I love to tell stories. I enjoy telling stories.

GR: Have you ever had any rejection(s)?

JM: So many rejections.

GR: When do you write?

JM: I normally write in the mornings when there is fresh energy.

GR: What theme(s) do you write on?

JM: I write on big themes readers can identify with: developments, human-trafficking, environmental concerns and so forth.

GR: Any favourite author(s)?

JM: Lots of them but most influenced by Lee Child. But there are too many to name.

GR: Are you working on any book?

JM: Yes. I am editing my new book titled Pale Horses.

END!

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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

Please welcome JASSY MACKENZIE!

 

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maxcat
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

Hi, Jassy, I'm not familiar with your books but would be willing to try one. Thanks for being here today.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

Hi Jassy - Thanks for joining us today! I've never been to Johannesburg, but friends of mine livd in South Africa for a few months and they said the scenery is breathtaking! 

 

Are you already working on your next book? Can you tell us what it's about, or is it too early to say?

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ErinFaye
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

Hi--Jassy is trying to log in, but cannot. Can someone contact her via email, phone or Facebook, please?
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becke_davis
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE


ErinFaye wrote:
Hi--Jassy is trying to log in, but cannot. Can someone contact her via email, phone or Facebook, please?

Erin - Tell Jassy to email me: Treethyme@aol.com. I'll see if I can help.

 

So sorry about the hassle!


Becke

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eadieburke
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

Welcome Jassy:

Your books look very interesting. I will have to check them out.

Thanks for blogging with us!
Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
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becke_davis
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

I'm so frustrated that Jassy wasn't able to sign in! The gnomes are at it again, blocking people from joining us. :-(

 

If she manages to sign on later, we'll extend her feature.

 

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Ryan_G
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE

The 2nd cover of the random book is awesome.

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE


becke_davis wrote:

I'm so frustrated that Jassy wasn't able to sign in! The gnomes are at it again, blocking people from joining us. :-(

 

If she manages to sign on later, we'll extend her feature.

 


Not the gnomes again, becke! Bummer. :cattongue:

Jassy, welcome, and hope you're able to sign on soon!

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
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Re: Special One-Day Feature: JASSY MACKENZIE


Fricka wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

I'm so frustrated that Jassy wasn't able to sign in! The gnomes are at it again, blocking people from joining us. :-(

 

If she manages to sign on later, we'll extend her feature.

 


Not the gnomes again, becke! Bummer. :cattongue:

Jassy, welcome, and hope you're able to sign on soon!


Sadly, it's not just Jassy - Peter Lovesey is also battling the gnomes!