The Ice on Mars
Samuel Steyn is a surgeon in his early forties. Recently divorced, he lives alone in Johannesburg in a high-rise luxury apartment. In the throes of an inexplicable malaise, he is both emotionally and physically isolated from the rest of the world. His eight-year old daughter, Samantha visits occasionally from Cape Town, where she lives with her mother, Anita. One winter morning, as they are about make a trip to the zoo, Sam is caught in a violent shoot-out between police and a group of robbers in the attempted cash-in-transit heist of a security van near Grayston Drive. Samantha is fatally wounded by a stray bullet, together with a Portuguese motorist, both of whom happened to have been at the wrong place at the wrong time. Distraught, Sam’s world falls apart. Sam seeks succour and comfort – in varying degrees, from his ageing father, Richard, with whom he has a fractious, uneasy relationship. He also has a nascent romantic involvement with the recently-arrived Helve Kivimaa, an Estonian specialist working at the hospital. Seeking to find out who killed his daughter – it’s unclear if it was a bullet from the police or the robbers – Sam spirals increasingly out of control.