Before reading Chaser, hard-hitting street-lit writer Miasha was unknown to me, but I quickly realized that she’s big and she’s here to stay. She may have only been in the writing business for two years, but in that time she’s had six novels published and received high praise from numerous critics.
Chaser is the story of Leah, a sweet young girl who has fallen in with the wrong crowd but is determined to turn things around for herself. After her boyfriend, Kenny, lets her take the blame for his latest scheme, she realizes enough is enough and makes a deal with the police that will change her life forever.
The opening lines to Chaser made me sit up and pay attention; I’d heard that Miasha’s novels were graphic and blunt but I was wholly unprepared. Her shocking beginning yanks the reader into the story:
‘I cried for my life. It wasn’t even about the baby anymore because I was sure it was dead. There was no way it could have withstood the blows Kenny delivered directly to my stomach.’
Chaser is an explosive novel full of sex, drugs, car chases and general debauchery, but there is a softer side to Miasha’s work. At the center of everything is a great love story, and the friendship between Brock and Nasir is extremely well-written and touching.
Love story aside, it’s characters that make a novel great for me, and, unfortunately Chaser lacks any great characters. Leah is a nice enough girl, and Nasir is written to be the sexy hero, but there’s nothing distinctive about either of them - nothing that made me think twice about the book once I had finished it. That’s a shame because at times Miasha delivers some top-quality writing.
Despite the drab characters and persistent feeling that I was reading a first draft rather than a finished novel, Chaser is an exciting street-lit story told by one of the genre’s top-selling authors.