BOOKS & REVIEWS | Author Spotlight “The Zebra Affaire” by Mark Fine

The Zebra Affaire by Mark Fine

ZebraAffaireRomance FINALGenre – romance/suspense


In the spring of 1976 matters of the heart are strictly controlled by South Africa’s racist doctrines. In that toxic mix of dehumanizing discrimination an unlikely union between a black man and a white woman shocks the nation.

The intimate and emotional love story of Elsa and Stanwell is exposed for all to see as the lovers find themselves in the cross hairs of the racist regime’s cold-blooded enforcer, Mal Zander; who will stop at nothing to crush their union and future hopes for a colorblind nation. In a narrative that’s intense—vividly authentic, and thought provoking—Elsa and Stanwell’s desperate struggle to remain together takes the reader on a deadly hunt from the golden city of Johannesburg to the dangerous wilds of the African bushveld.

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He struggled to get out. Blinded by blood flowing in his eyes, he desperately scrabbled at the door handle. But the door wouldn’t budge. The vehicle’s crushed frame had jammed it tight. Trapped, he attempted to cry for help. It was futile. Except for a gagged gurgle, no discernible sound sprung from his mouth.

Stanwell’s bloodied hands were cramped in the rigor of panic. Having failed in their task to free him, they spasmodically flailed in and out of sight. It was an instinctual sign of life, a frantic signal for attention in a desperate quest for salvation.

Elsa noticed.

Her impulse was to aid the stricken stranger. Noting the lack of damage on the side away from the impact, Elsa chose her course of action well. She forced open the passenger-side door, leaned in, fumbled, then found the lap-seat buckle, decoupled it, grabbed the victim around the midriff, and then hauled with all her might, backing them both out.

Nevertheless, the distressed man was still in jeopardy. His head had taken the full brunt of the impact. Flesh and bone had bent the weathered steering wheel and shattered the windshield. Bloodied sputum from his broken nose and slashed tongue engorged the back of his throat. Despite his failing cognitive senses, Stanwell realized that he was drowning in his own bodily fluids and that there was absolutely nothing he could do about it.

With a simple act of common sense, Elsa saved Stanwell’s life. She turned him on his side. The viscous gore, encrusted with shattered glass pellets, ebbed out of his mouth—to be replaced with lifesaving air.

The relief he sensed was immediate, and his gratitude was complete.

It was no wonder that when he witnessed his savior for the very first time, through blood-infused, heavy-lidded eyes, he appreciated it solely in transcendent terms; a presence was not bound by race, gender, color, or creed.

He peered up, curious, grateful. His head bobbed and weaved as his eyes attempted to focus, a task made more difficult by the halo of the midday sun gleaming behind the silhouetted figure.

Finally all came into focus. Every detail of her face was apparent to him. It was reassuring and friendly. Even with the worrying circumstances, remarkably there appeared to be a cheery gleam emanating from her almond-shaped eyes. Freckles danced across the bridge of her nose and gathered in amorphous clouds on her finely sculpted cheeks. Her lashes were lush and her brows generous, hinting at her apparent Dutch heritage. Smile lines in the corners of her mouth mirrored the luminescence in her eyes.

Her mouth was full, wide, and generous. Her teeth displayed just enough imperfection in their alignment to assure they were genuine. Her nose was not the synthetic ski slope created by a plastic surgeon; rather, it was strong, and with the suggestion of a bump at the bridge, proudly noble.

Her warm honey-toned skin complemented her lustrous, shoulder-length golden tresses—both kissed by the African sun. All this was underscored with a perfectly inscribed jaw line. The only blemish was a fine scar on the cusp of her chin. Her pastel appearance was something most unfamiliar.

About the Author

Mark Fine B&W (300dpi)PrintMark Fine was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has made the United States his home since 1979, living in New York, Minneapolis, and Los Angeles.

For four decades he has worked alongside world famous recording artists. He eventually launched his own award-winning record label, Hammer & Lace, with a mandate to produce benefit albums in support of such causes as breast cancer awareness, at-risk children, and wildlife conservation.

For these philanthropic initiatives Mark was voted by Variety magazine as the “Music Executive with 20/20 Vision.” He has also contributed articles to entertainment industry publications, and conducted public speaking engagements at multimedia events.

Now he resides in the South Bay, where he lives with his two sons, his “significant other” and Charlie, a neighborhood dog that drops in from time to time. There he wrote the historic romance novel, The Zebra Affaire. Set in apartheid South Africa, Mark brings an insider’s perspective to the gripping account of a bi-racial couple’s forbidden love.

Follow Mark on Social Media

Twitter @MarkFine_author

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