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Wake Up Dead: A Thriller by Roger Smith
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Wake Up Dead: A Thriller

by Roger Smith

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Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very good thriller set in present-day South Africa, which appears to be, if this story and its characters are any indication, nearly unpoliceable. Two other Smith Cape Town thrillers were published after this one. I've read neither, but based on the quality of Wake Up Dead, I'm going to re them ( )
  TiedGame | Aug 22, 2012 |
This one is not for the faint of heart, Its set in the brutal world of South Africa and I am not sure there is a good guy in the whole book. A simple car jacking sets off a chain reaction with lethal results for everyone. Smith is an excellent writer and though its an ugly story, he brings it alive. I'm not sure enjoyable is the right word but its a worthy read. ( )
  norinrad10 | Feb 24, 2012 |
Beyond hard-boiled - This brutal thriller set in the Cape Town Flats of South Africa is an uncensored view of poverty, gang violence, drugs, corruption, greed and racial disparity.

Two gangbangers from the Flats out to score some easy cash stumble upon Roxy and Joe Palmer. Roxy is an ex-model who has been living off her looks and as they fade so has her easy lifestyle. Her current husband is a "private security broker" with a drinking problem, a bad temper, and worse friends. The couple drive a nice car, they eat in expensive restaurants, and they live in a very exclusive neighborhood behind locked gates. They are the perfect targets for Disco and Godwyn the meth heads that followed them home.

Billy Afrika is also from the Flats. A former gang member and ex-cop turned mercenary he has just returned from Bagdad where he was fired after being injured on the job. Billy is determined to collect his back wages, a cool $30,000, from his ex-employer Joe Palmer. Billy has a long history with the Flats mostly scars, bad memories, and broken promises and he also has a few vicious enemies including Piper a lifer at Pollsmoor maximum security prison.

Piper has brought the Flats with him to prison and he has his own plans which revolve around Disco and Billy. The opposite ends of his obsession -love and hate - Disco and Billy don't stand a chance when this ruthless killer breaks out of jail.

Bad decisions, old crimes, greed and revenge spiral out of control in this unflinching crime thriller from Smith. So raw and relentless you'll love it or hate it. Absolutely guaranteed to make you cringe. ( )
  MurderMysteryMayhem | Jun 7, 2011 |
read, read 2010
  LastCall | Oct 7, 2010 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This book is beyond gritty, it is razor-edged gravelly. Set in (exotic to me) South Africa it is a very quick-paced, multi-player tale of mercenaries, cops- good, bad and deluded, an American ex-model trophy wife longing for a child and charcters whose childhoods were so nightmarish I can't imagine how they have survived this long. If I hadn't previously seen a show on the gangs in South Africa's Pollsmoor prison it might not have had the same impact, but I couldn't put it down. Definitely not for the squeamish but a fascinating glimpse of a world very different and uneasily the same. I could see the South African Tourist Board trying to get this suppressed for its unflattering portrayal. ( )
  Shelen | Sep 5, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
In outline, this pinballing ensemble tale of a mercenary, an ex-model, an ex-con, an arms dealer, a cop, a kid, a revolutionary, a prostitute, assorted gangsters, and a suitcase full of cash isn’t all that different from other entries in the crime subgenre birthed by Elmore Leonard. What sets this one apart is its setting—sunbaked, blood-soaked Cape Town—and its relentless intensity. Billy Afrika, back from Iraq, just wants the money he is owed for getting shot at. Unfortunately, the security broker who hired him just got carjacked. In his ensuing scramble for compensation, Billy must confront, in addition to the motley crew listed above, the physical and psychic scars of growing up in poverty-stricken Cape Flats. Smith (Mixed Blood, 2009) keeps the pacing brisk and the introspection brief in this gory tour, which surely won’t be on the recommended-reading list of the Cape Town tourism board. But his bullet points—which include racial tension, gang warfare, prison life, and witchcraft, with a nod to cannibalism—will make this thriller a prime destination for readers who like to detour from crime-fiction’s beaten path. --Keir Graff
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805088768, Hardcover)

An amphetamine-fueled thriller about a bombshell American widow on the run in Cape Town’s violent badlands—from a writer being compared to George Pelecanos and Richard Price

A split-second decision with no second chance: get it wrong and you wake up dead.

On a blowtorch-hot night in Cape Town, American ex-model Roxy Palmer and her gunrunner husband, Joe, are carjacked, leaving Joe lying in a pool of blood. As the carjackers make their getaway, Roxy makes a fateful choice that changes her life forever.

Disco and Godwynn, the ghetto gangbangers who sped away in Joe’s convertible, will stop at nothing to track her down. Billy Afrika, a mixed-race ex-cop turned mercenary, won’t let her out of his sight because Joe owed him a chunk of money. And remorselessly hunting them all is Piper, a love-crazed psychopath determined to renew his vows with his jailhouse “wife,” Disco.

As these desperate lives collide and old debts are settled in blood, Roxy is caught in a wave of escalating violence in the beautiful and brutal African seaport. With savage plotting and breakneck suspense that ends in a shattering cataclysm of violence, Wake Up Dead confirms Roger Smith as one of the world’s best new thriller writers.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:41 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

On a blowtorch-hot night in Cape Town, American ex-model Roxy Palmer and her gunrunner husband, Joe, are carjacked, leaving Joe lying in a pool of blood. As the carjackers make their getaway, Roxy makes a fateful choice that changes her life forever.

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