DEADLY HARVEST has been shortlisted by ITW for best paperback original thriller of 2013.

DEATH OF THE MANTIS is one of the six finalists for the 2012 ANTHONY AWARD for best mystery of 2011 in the category of paperback original.

DEATH OF THE MANTIS winner of the Barry Award for best paperback original of 2011.

DEATH OF THE MANTIS is one of four novels selected for the short list for Best Genre Fiction at the Minnesota Book Awards in 2012.

DEATH OF THE MANTIS is one of five nominees for the Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America for best paperback original in 2012.

DEATH OF THE MANTIS has been chosen by LIBRARY JOURNAL in the US as one of their top ten new mysteries for 2011.

DEATH OF THE MANTIS was rated number 5 in THE STRAND MAGAZINE'S top 12 mysteries for 2011.

2006 Debut Dagger Finalist

MYSTERY NEWS and DEADLY PLEASURES announced today that A CARRION DEATH has been nominated for a 2008 Barry Award in the Best First Novel Category.

A Carrion Death has been nominated for the Mystery Readers Journal's Macavity award for Best First Novel.

A Carrion Death is finalist in the fiction genre of the 2008 Minnesota Book Awards.

A Carrion Death is a finalist for the Best First Novel of 2008 in the Critics Awards of Strand Magazine.

Publishers Weekly - Starred and boxed review

Best yet. Intriguing plot twists

David “Kubu” Bengu, an assistant superintendent in the Botswana CID, investigates a particularly baffling murder in his sixth, and best, outing (after 2015’s A Death in the Family). Ian McGregor, the pathologist for the Botswana Police Service in Gaborone, discovers some striking anomalies when he performs an autopsy on the body of a Bushman discovered in a game preserve: the youthful internal organs don’t match the victim’s aged exterior, and an old bullet inside him has no apparent means of entry. Soon afterward, the corpse is stolen from the morgue, strongly suggesting that it held secrets someone wanted kept hidden. Clues are hard to come by, but Kubu is interested to learn that the dead man, identified by acquaintances as Heiseb, recently met with anthropologist Christopher Collins, a researcher from the University of Minnesota. Collins, who has gone missing, was studying the Bushmen’s oral traditions, which included a mode of storytelling in which the narrator pretends to have been present at events that predated his birth. Stanley (the pseudonym of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) keeps the intriguing plot twists coming. 

Kirkus Reviews - Best Yet

Ingenious mystery and a deeper and more textured depiction of modern Botswana

A detective with the Botswana CID tackles two baffling cases while managing his growing department and dealing with family issues.

An elderly Bushman found dead in the Kalahari is more of a nuisance than a mystery to Botswana DS Batwe Segodi. That is, until an autopsy reveals that the internal organs of the dead man place his age at about 40. Though the man died of a broken neck, the coroner also finds a bullet in his body, dating back several decades. Assistant Superintendent David Bengu, nicknamed Kubu (“hippo” in the Setswana language) for his size, has little patience for the paradoxical, but he does take notice when the corpse is stolen from the morgue in Gaborone, Botswana’s capital. Though thefts like this are not uncommon, usually to harvest organs, here the Bushman’s was the only corpse taken. Meanwhile, Kubu’s first female detective, Samantha Khama, is following up on the disappearance of famous witch doctor Botlele Ramala while also battling sexism in the department. For her part, Kubu’s wife, Joy, has little use for old-fashioned witch doctors.

Kubu’s investigation of the Bushman takes him to a professor in Minnesota; Samantha finds blood evidence in a home in Gaborone. Could the two cases be related? An additional disappearance adds credence to this theory. On the home front, an illness rocks Kubu’s world.

The sixth installment in Stanley’s franchise (A Death in the Family, 2015, etc.) is the best yet, with both an ingenious mystery and a deeper and more textured depiction of modern Botswana and Kubu’s piece of it.

Library Journal starred review

International police procedural with heart and soul

In this sixth Botswana-set title, Assistant Superintendent (“Kubu”) Bengu is called to investigate the baffling death of Heiseb, a Bushman—one of the San people of southern Africa—who is found dead near the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. The case becomes more perplexing when peculiar details about Heiseb’s physiology emerge and the Bushman’s body is stolen from the morgue. Kubu uncovers a connection to a missing anthropologist who was studying the oral traditions of the Bushmen as well as a link to the case of a missing witch doctor that Det. Samantha Khama is probing while contending with departmental sexism. VERDICT Stanley once again mixes strongly developed characters, puzzling plot twists, and a textured African setting in an international police procedural with heart and soul that will appeal to fans of Kwei Quartey and Alexander McCall Smith.

Cape Argus Review
Lots of muti to chew with an unrelenting, dangerous

It has been suggested that Detective Kubu Bengu, hero of this series of detective thrillers set in Botswana, should be a contender for his own series like Alexander McCall Smith’s and I agree.
This sixth book in the series was my introduction to the African crime fighter; I look forward to reading all the books.
Real Africa, colloquial language, Botswana and the Kalahari unfold like the evening sky anywhere on the continent.
In this novel, already acclaimed by critics world wide, the likeable, home-loving Bengu and his resilient young detective assistant Samantha Khama, plus a collection of savoury and non-savoury characters, tell a tale of death, deceit and intrigue in the sun, with conviction.
Greed in Africa is a contemporary calamity, ruthless people from all communities including foreign ones, daily conspire to plunder whatever in Africa spells quick bucks.
Kubu is faced with an intriguing mystery of a Bushman’s body which on autopsy appears ancient, but possessing the internal organs of a much younger man.
There is a lot of muti to chew – literally, as you will discover – but the plot, woven into the harsh desert back drop, is as unrelenting and dangerous as the arena in which the investigation twists its way.
No detective novel worth its salt is without a forensics man, and here it is provided by a Scottish doctor, as dry as the bush in which he plies his trade, but nonetheless, fond of a tipple. He acts as a placating sounding board for Kubu (Setswana for hippopotamus) and with the police director, the energetic Khama, an enterprising Bushman policeman what turns out to be… Well, I won’t spoil the story.
Brought up on Simenon, Christie and Sayers, masters of their trade, it was refreshing to read a book devoid of gratuitous violence and saturated with sex.
Don’t be fooled, however, there is plenty of graphic detail and description to keep every one satisfied.
As academics, the writers have had the experience to include a glossary so that readers unaccustomed to Africa and the local language may feel more comfortable with the vernacular.
Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, and both were born in South Africa.

Here is a selection of some of the great reviews for Dying to Live from the Orenda Blog Tour! Please take a look:

Goodreads Review

Rachel Hall writing in Goodreads said that
"DEADLY HARVEST was a truly compulsive thriller which has instead allowed me to discover a whole new culture and gives a very welcome voice to the residents of Botswana. Busting many of the myths which abound regarding traditional African medicines and delivering an impartial look at the power of witch doctors and their place in the African culture, the authors have delivered a captivating and insightful novel."

St Paul Pioneer Press

Mary Ann Grossmann reviewing A Death in the Family in the Pioneer Press said:
"This is an involving and inventive series that introduces modern South Africa through the eyes of an endearing protagonist." 

Booklist Review

Booklist says of A DEATH IN THE FAMILY:
This fifth mystery featuring Detective Kubu is another fast-moving procedural notable for its warm characterizations and vivid sense of place. A natural for fans of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency.

Cape Times Review

"The lovable larger-than-life detective Kubu is back; frustrated this time because it is his father who has been murdered and he is banned from involvement in the investigation…Writers Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip deliver a great story set in Africa.”

Sunday Times

 Awarding A DEATH IN THE FAMILY four stars, Jennifer Platt wrote:

"The fifth rip-roaring mystery in the Detective Kubu series. If you haven't read the others, the lovable return characters, exceptional police procedural plot and close-to-home Botswana setting will make you want to.  Kubu's father has been stabbed and he is not allowed on the case. The killing of an official in the mining sector, plus a riot in Shoshong, soon distract him - and turn out to be connected.  Be prepared for government corruption, Chinese imperialism, bribery and murder."


"DEADLY HARVEST was a fascinating read. Not only does it bring the problems and issues facing Southern Africa to the fore, but it very skilfully combines many different characters and subplots into a convincing whole. ... There is some great interplay between Kubu and his new female detective Khama, who turns out to be an extremely skillful and tenacious detective. ... This is the best book in the series so far, and I can't wait for the next installment."

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine

“Tight plotting is seasoned with African culture and the uglier presence of political corruption, AIDS, and black magic. Detective Kubu is joined by Detective Samantha Khama, who helps unravel a mystery involving a witch doctor who is believable and utterly menacing.” 

Pioneer Press

Mary Ann Grossmann reviewed DEADLY HARVEST summarizing it as "a fascinating police procedural," and noting that it "is the most complex book in this series. Besides being an intricate crime puzzle that Kubu and his team must untangle, it also looks at societal issues."

The New York Journal of Books

"DEADLY HARVEST is number four in this fascinating crime series. Detective David “Kubu” Bengu is a wonderful creation, complex and beguiling. The exotic smells and sounds of Botswana fill the pages as well as the changes and struggles of a country brimming with modern technology yet fiercely clinging to old traditions. Compelling and deceptively written, it’s the perfect summer read."


This popular whodunit series created by the South African writing team of Stanley Trollip and Michael Sears shares its Botswana backdrop with McCall Smith’s Mma Ramotswe mysteries, though the similarities between the two largely end there. These darker, grittier entries featuring the portly and perceptive Detective Kubu blend intricate plotting and a compelling cast...Though the cat-and-mouse chase that ensues propels the novel ever forward, Stanley also peppers the tale with richly detailed descriptions of Botswana and the lively lives of its citizens."

Renowned mystery writer, R. L. Kline, said this about DEADLY HARVEST: 

"This book took me to a world I didn't want to leave. It kept me reading, it kept me guessing, and it kept me gasping at its many twists and surprises. Highly recommended."

Starred and boxed review from Publishers Weekly. 

Calling DEADLY HARVEST "richly atmospheric", Publishers Weekly went on to compare the "gritty depiction of corruption and obsession" with the gentler McCall Smith series. You can read the whole review here.

The Strand Mystery Magazine

This fourth adventure of Detective Kubu is a vibrant mixture of themes that infuses the traditions of old Botswana against the shock of the new. However, the real appeal of the book is the easy-going voice that Michael Stanley deploys, leading the reader into the darkest of places with little warning. This makes Deadly Harvest into one of the finest crime thrillers of 2013...

Judge for Minnesota Book Awards 2012

Commenting on DEATH OF THE MANTIS, the judge said: "Fantastic scene-setting; the Kalahari Desert is as much a character as the detective and suspects.”

The Sun Chronicle

A well-paced complex plot keeps the reader guessing, and the novel's sense of place is so masterfully rendered that the snowbound reader will happily burn in the heat of Botswana's Kalahari desert.
Reminiscent of Tony Hillerman's love of Navajo culture and customs, "Death of the Mantis" incorporates legendary mystical elements with a lament for the disappearing culture of the nomadic Bushmen.

The Sun Chronicle, January 1, 2012.

Bookreporter Review 

...DEATH OF THE MANTIS is a wonderful piece of work, a novel that is quietly perfect in every way of those rare books that transcends its rich genre. While there is a mystery at its core, it is also a study of the human condition, of the best and worst of people who do what they do for the best and worst of reasons. And Kubu is one of the best friends you will make between the pages of a book.

Read the full review HERE.

Bookreporter October 27, 2011

Canberra Times Review

The information on the Bushmen ... is fascinating. Stanley does an exceedingly good job of presenting their plight and culture in an interesting and sympathetic manner. He also conveys the other characters, both black and white, in rich, multi-layered dimensions… a very readable novel that offers fascinating reflections on life in modern Botswana.

The Canberra Times Nov 5,2011

TLC Virtual Book Tour Reviews

"DEATH OF THE MANTIS is an engaging, thrilling mystery with an exotic backdrop. It's not one readers will easily put down. But it also goes beyond; it's a challenging statement of politics and humanity, forcing readers to step out of what's comfortable and experience the extraordinary unknown." JENS BOOK THOUGHTS. Read the full review HERE.

"The story itself is well told with secrets slowly revealed, events happening at a good pace, and a fine mixture of 'detective' event mixed in with the personal. And, I didn't figure out 'who done it' too early either!" HELEN'S BOOK BLOG. Read the full review HERE.

"I say check out the series if you are a fan of detective stories or books set in Botswana." A BOOKISH WAY OF LIFE. Read the full review HERE.

 "I very highly recommend this book. If you enjoy a good mystery, I think you will really enjoy this one, plus you also get exotic landscapes and foreign cultures. This is the first Kubu mystery I have read and I really enjoyed it. There’s lots of intrigue, mystery, suspense, twists and turns. It’s a wonderful escape that takes you away to another place. I really liked Kubu and his family. This was the first book I have read in this series but I would love to read more of them." LIFE IN REVIEW. Read the full review HERE

"There is suspense and intrigue about the Bushmen, who call themselves the people of the Mantis, and about their sacred places in the desert. I found the book intriguing and would read the previous mysteries in the series." BOOK DILETTANTE. Read the full review HERE

"The harsh desert environment of the Kalahari both threatens and beckons, its call to the adventurous clear. Detective Kubu is a character the reader wants to know better and to follow in his adventures." TED LEHMANN'S BLUEGRASS, BOOKS and BRAINSTORMS. Read the full review HERE

“Detective David "Kubu" Bengu is a detective that I really think Hercule Poirot would have enjoyed working with, though he would never admit it… It's rare for me to really love a detective that wasn't dreamed up by one of yesteryear's mystery mavens. So when it happens, I want to dive into every book they are in. I'll now be going back and reading the books I've missed, and I'll be looking forward to the new ones as they come out.” WORDSMITHONIA. Read the full review HERE


Death of the Mantis, by Michael Stanley, is the best book I’ve read in a very long time. I’m fascinated by Africa and now I really want to visit Botswana. Through this book, I’ve come to love the people there, and fall totally for the main character – a policeman, nicknamed Kubu, the Setswana name for Hippo. He is gentle, wise and loyal to his family, his colleagues and his friends. He is altogether a lovely man. Death of the Mantis is a fantastic read. Brilliant!
Louise Penny, multiple award-winning author of the Inspector Gamache mysteries

VERDICT Impossible to put down, this immensely readable third entry from (Michael Stanley) delivers the goods. Kubu’s painstaking detecting skills make him a sort of Hercule Poirot of the desert.

Library Journal starred review

Alexander McCall Smith fans interested in a different take on modern-day Botswana will find it in the intriguing third mystery from the team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Khumanego, a Bushman, asks his police detective friend, David "Kubu" Bengu, to intervene to prevent an injustice. Three fellow Bushmen have been charged with the bludgeoning murder of game ranger Tawana Monzo, despite the absence of solid evidence against them. Much to Kubu's satisfaction, his discovery of traces of an unknown other at the crime scene leads to the release of the accused Bushmen from custody. But the gourmand sleuth, who's adjusting to new fatherhood, soon feels less satisfied after another man is beaten to death in a similar manner. The cultural conflict between the Bushmen and their fellow countrymen lends color.
Publishers Weekly, July 4, 2011

Booklist reviewed Death of the Mantis saying:

"The third Detective Kubu mystery finds the genial Kubu having a hard time adjusting his lifestyle of fine wine and good food to accommodate the arrival of his long-awaited baby girl and the stress on both him and his wife of being new parents. When a murder in the Kalahari is blamed on the three Bushmen who found the body, Kubu is only too happy to take off for a few days to help out his old school friend, now an advocate for the Bushmen. As the investigation progresses, Kubu is drawn deeper into the hot, dangerous, and mysterious Kalahari, chasing a killer and the legendary source of the Namibian diamonds. As in the previous titles, Stanley creates a seamless and complex mystery, replete with the unique atmosphere of modern Botswana. The mystery plot is neatly combined with scenes of Kubu’s home life and family."

Booklist starred review May 1, 2009

Assistant Superintendent Kubu is back! In Death of the Mantis, a killer stalks the Kalahari Desert—and it’s a page turner from start to finish. Michael Stanley’s enthralling series with its very likable Botswana policeman is a must-read for anyone who enjoys clever plotting, terrific writing, and a fascinating glimpse of today’s Africa. Kubu, Death of the Mantis, Michael Stanley: the perfect mystery trifecta for any crime fan.
Charles Todd, New York Times best-selling author

Death of the Mantis is the best book yet in one of the best series going: a serious novel with a mystery at its core that takes us places we've never been, thrills and informs us, and leaves us changed by the experience. I loved this book.
Tim Hallinan, author of The Queen of Patpong & A Nail Through the Heart

Most fascinating is that the story surrounds and reveals many of the ancient traditions and current ways of the Bushman in the red Kalahari ... you will want to keep reading about the desert and its prey to the very end.
Cape Times, June 3, 2011

Kubu himself, intelligent, honourable, a fine detective, a loyal friend, and proud family man who delights in good food and drink, is always a pleasure. In him, Trollip and Sears have created a robust and believable series character... Full marks.
The Witness July 20, 2011

The authors have gone to great pains to achieve verisimilitude in this tale of misadventure in the Kalahari sands of Botswana … Now with three Detective Kubu, a.k.a Rra David Bengu, crime-fiction thrillers out, a firm foundation has been set for many more.
Mmegi Online, June 10, 2011

…the authors have created a solid plot and thrown in enough curved balls to keep you turning the pages. It is an absorbing read, made more enjoyable by a cast of characters you find yourself caring about from the beginning.
Business Day, June 11, 2011

I was gripped and entranced from the first page. A wonderful, original voice – McCall Smith with a dark edge and even darker underbelly.
Peter James – Bestselling British mystery writer

Calling Kubu the African Columbo, Entertainment Weekly gave The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu an A rating and said it was "a smart, satisfyingly complex mystery".

Entertainment Weekly - A rating – May 6, 2009

The Weekender called Kubu the most engaging litereary detective in Africa:

Move over Mma Ramotswe: there’s a new player in town, none other than Gaborone’s Assistant Supt David “Kubu” Bengu, of the Botswana Criminal Investigation department, and he is without doubt the most engaging literary detective in Africa.To make use of a horribly abused and overused cliché, the story is as fresh as tomorrow’s headlines and as refreshing as a cold beer, at sunset, in the hot African bush.

The Weekender September 19, 2009

This is what Booklist has to say about The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu in a starred review:
. . .. a brilliant sequel to last year’s Carrion Death. . .. . Stanley (the pseudonym for the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip) is not content with a single plot line, effectively juggling the murders with cross-border drug smuggling and the circumstances surrounding an upcoming African Union meeting. Kubu, a dedicated gourmand, is just one of many fully fleshed and charmingly realistic characters. From slightly annoying sister-in-law Peasant to Kubu’s intense and acerbic boss Mabuku to Scottish pathologist MacGregor, each character is memorable and adds depth to this tense and involving police procedural. Suggest to fans of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, who will appreciate Kubu’s laid-back style and happy home life, and to Henning Mankell fans, who will respond to the complex plots and palpable sense of place.”

Booklist starred review May 1, 2009

Library Journal highly recommends The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu.

"Following his spectacular debut, A Carrion Death, Stanley comes roaring back with an even better tale. Bringing a love of Africa similar to Alexander McCall Smith's popular "No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency" series, the author has created an excellent new venue for those who love to read about other cultures while enjoying a good mystery. Highly recommended."

Library Journal Reviews April 1, 2009

Robin Agnew in the Ann Arbor Chronicle called Kubu an instant classic:
The settings in the book are so gorgeously rendered you can almost see and hear them, and obviously the writers have a deep love for their subject. … This is a very rich novel – rich setting, rich characters, and many of them with a complicated story that is told in a kind of laid back way. The author has his own rhythm, but if you give yourself time to adjust to it (as with a Tony Hillerman novel, for example) the pleasures are many.

Detective Kubu is a gift to mystery readers – he’s an instant classic. These books are a shade darker than McCall-Smith’s, including rape, drugs, and several brutal murders, but the surroundings are just as comfortable. Somehow, only two outings in, I feel certain that Kubu will get to the bottom of everything.

Ann Arbor Chronicle June 13, 2009

Clea Simon, reviewer for the Boston Globe, said:

If you liked A Carrion Death, you're in for a real treat with The Second Death of Goodluck Tinubu. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book, but in the second all the diverse elements -- the harder-edged crime (a multiple murder at a tourist camp) and the cozier parts of Detective Kubu's character (he's still enjoying his meals, only not quite as often, plus we hear more about his family and background) -- seem to come together better. I feel like the authors have found a better compromise and Detective Kubu has found his own pace

Clea Simon March 4, 2009

The challenge of unraveling the many mysteries of Africa has been taken up by Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, natives of Johannesburg and veterans of many flying safaris. Writing as Michael Stanley in A Carrion Death, ...the two adventurers have produced a first novel saturated with local color . . . the oversize plot is a reflection of its protagonist, Assistant Superintendent David Bengu of the Botswana police, whose great girth and immense appetite account for his nickname, Kubu, the Setswana word for hippopotamus. Happily, Kubu is also hugely appealing – big and solid and smart enough to grasp all angles of this mystery... Readers may be lured to Africa by the landscape, but it takes a great character like Kubu to win our loyalty.
New York Times Book Review, April 13, 2008

This impressive debut from Stanley, the South African writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, introduces overweight assistant superintendent David Bengu of the Botswana Police Department, whose nickname is, fittingly, Kubu (Setswanan for hippopotamus). In investigating the case of a partially consumed human body found in a remote area of a game reserve, Kubu keeps running across tangential links to Botswana Cattle and Mining, the country`s largest company. As more people connected to the case turn up dead, Kubu realizes that multiple murder may be just the byproduct of a much more heinous crime. The intricate plotting, a grisly sense of realism and numerous topical motifs (the plight of the Kalahari Bushmen, diamond smuggling, poaching, the homogenization of African culture, etc.) make this a compulsively readable novel. Despite a shared setting with Alexander McCall Smith`s No. 1 Ladies` Detective Agency series, this fast-paced forensic thriller will resonate more with fans of Patricia Cornwell`s Kay Scarpetta.
Publishers Weekly, February 25, 2008

Clea Simon writes in th Boston Globe, "Kubu himself is a marvelous creation, his distinctive characteristics - his weight, his taste in music - as well considered as the plot. And if his Botswana is more violent than McCall Smith`s, it is depicted with its distinctive beauty intact as well. This is a marvelous debut, and with any luck, Kubu`s next outing will be as filling and tasty as one of the large man`s dream meals."
Boston Globe, April 14, 2008

[A] fast-moving story . . . Rich with the atmosphere of modern Botswana, and peopled with interesting and well-drawn characters, this is an exciting debut, which will leave readers looking forward to reading the next investigation of Assistant Superintendent Kubu. Recommended to readers who like the Botswana setting of Alexander McCall Smith’s stories and all readers who enjoy international police procedurals with a strong sense of place.
Booklist, February 1, 2008

This well-plotted debut introduces a new mystery series and will enthrall readers, who should be aware that the author`s detailing of the cultural and social background of the Botswana people shares equal footing with the solving of the murders. Stanley is the writing duo of South Africans Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, who have shared adventures in the Kalahari. For readers who enjoy crime novels with African settings, such as those by Richard Kunzmann and Deon Meyer.
Library Journal, March 1, 2008

The police procedural story line is superb with a strong obstinate hero; however the tale belongs to the insightful look at Botswana, a landlocked South African presidential representative democratic republic. The action-packed story line brings to life the people and cultures of a country struggling to avoid the problems besetting many of their neighbors to include tribal rivalries, government corruption, and avaricious poachers and smugglers ripping off the natural resources. The author team Michael Stanley provides the excellent debut of a police detective and readers will clamor for more investigations by this lover of the Magic Flute.
Harriet Klausner, Genre Go Round Reviews, February 9, 2008

A stately debut whose pseudonymous authors, Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, are both experts on the region. Their generously detailed portrait of Botswana and of larger-than-life Inspector Kubu augurs well for the proposed series....
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2008