Smith, Roger. Mixed Blood. Holt. Feb 2009. c.320p. ISBN 978-0-8050-8875-5. $25. Fiction.

Smith’s debut is a fast-paced crime story set in Cape Town, South Africa, where an uneasy relationship exists between white, black, and “colored” people of varying ethnicity. Jack Burn, an American security systems expert, fled the United States with wife and child in tow following his forced participation in a bank robbery during which a cop was killed. Now living in the wealthy heights of Cape Town, he and his family find their life further roiled when two thugs on meth invade their home one night. In order to save his pregnant wife and young son from harm, Jack is forced to kill both men. This event will threaten his marriage and his son’s life; entangle him in the affairs of Benny Mongrel, an ex-con also trying to escape a desperate past; and put him in the cross hairs of fat Rudi Barnard, a corrupt Afrikaner cop who kills with the ease of a psychopath. Cleverly plotted, this is a gripping thriller that follows believable (if sometimes grotesque) characters along a desperate rush to ruin. The brutal landscape will remind readers of Deon Meyer’s best South African novels. Highly recommended for all public libraries.

Library Journal, vol. 133, no. 20 (December 2008), 120.

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