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“Scream, and I’ll Kill You” is a fast-paced must-read. The thematic landscape of the book is dark and sinister, dealing with child abuse, rape, abuse of power and political corruption. A murder investigation, a personal journey of discovery and a dramatic, passionate love story intertwine to produce a powerful work.
Child abuse and rape are not exactly common topics for a work of fiction. What prompted von Rudloff to use these controversial areas as a basis for his novel?
‘I have always been angered by the idea of child abuse. Whenever I read about it – such as the numerous cases we regularly read about in the local press – my blood boils, and I must confess the idea of violent retribution comes to mind: You know what I mean: “If you don’t know how to use it mate… maybe you don’t deserve to keep it…”
‘I feel that people tend to underplay the gravity of abuse, that to some extent, society is in denial. This book lays it all on the table... no holds barred, and challenges the reader with its directness.
‘Obviously, abuse and murder don’t make up the entire book. There is a strong theme of romantic love, some humour, various Setswana and Afrikaner cultural values and customs are highlighted, and I explore the evolving political landscape of Southern Africa and the changing ways in which people of different races and backgrounds are learning to interact. But Scream, and I’ll Kill You is first and foremost a suspense drama, a psycho-thriller.
‘Almost my entire life has been spent in Southern Africa. My own involvement in the fight against apartheid, my decision to go into exile in Botswana and my subsequent adoption by this beautiful country have obviously played their part in inspiring me to write this book.’
This is how the book begins:
Despite the Germanic origin of his family name, Maurice Anthony Wentzel was as English as could be. Rugger, beer and seducing horsy debutantes were his preferred amusements, and he exuded the compelling bouquet of self-assured public school gentry.
His breeding, education, financial background and social station were impeccable. His friends would have called him supremely confident, if a bit loud. The rest of the world would unanimously have thought him arrogant and stuck-up, the epitome of an upper-class prick. He was enjoying life at university; the parties were wild and the girls attractive and generally very willing.
None of this mattered to him at the moment, as he stared wide-eyed at the ceiling, waiting for death. He strained futilely against his bonds and the gaffer tape gag.
He could still see the horrifying sight of the gloved hand holding up his blood-gushing genitals for him to examine. The blood had caked across his face where they had smeared his ruptured scrotum, and he could still smell the nauseating odour of his own raw flesh; still taste his own blood. The pain was excruciating. It would no doubt get much worse before it was all over.
Apart from the soft rumble of traffic along the Tottenham Court Road, and the faint reverberation of the windows as a tube rattled along the Central Line far below, the only sound he could hear over his own sobbing, snotty nasal breathing was the steady drip-drip of his blood into the bucket they had placed under the table beneath his mutilated groin.
In the morning when Roger had told him that the girl had been raped, he didn’t make the connection at first. It took a little time, through the hangover and splitting headache for Maurice to comprehend that he was being fingered as the culprit. There had been talk of arrest and charges, frantic thoughts of scandal, of Daddy, and of prison. A miasma of panic and despair had enveloped him.
What a relief when he got the text message inviting him to her flat to ‘talk it over’ . . .