Mixed Blood by Roger Smith
Published by: Picador
Published on: December 2009 (papperback)
Page Count: 320
My Reading Format: Audiobook sent to me by a friend
Audiobook Published by: Highbridge Audio
Narrator: John Lee
Audiobook Length: 8 hours 6 minutes
Available Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook, audiobook
Jack Burn is outwardly a loving husband and father, but all is not happy and normal for this American and his family. They fled to Cape Town, South Africa after a bank heist, brought about after a long history of gambling problems, went very wrong. As much as Jack was hoping that he and Susan could put the past behind them and be happy with their son in a new setting, his pregnant wife felt trapped in every imaginable way. She doesn’t approve of the gambling and certainly does not like the violence. Unfortunately, Cape Town is not a quiet, safe place. While they may be living in an affluent area off the millions Jack managed to leave the country with, violence catches up with them in the form of drugged thugs who have wondered off the beaten path. This unexpected violence also brings two other hardened South Africans in the lives of Jack’s family: Benny Mongrel, a tattoed ex-con serving as the night watchman at a nearby building site, and Rudi Barnard, a fat, corrupt cop who rules his drug infested area with terror.
When I think of South Africa, I usually think of apartheid, Nelson Mandela and Bono. I knew that it had been a land of oppression for a long time, but I wasn’t familiar with how violent life could be there. Roger Smith captured the dark side of life in Cape Town in this novel. People very well may go their for vacations, but it’s far from safe. On a flight recently, I met a middle aged woman from Johannesburg. She confirmed just how unsafe life can be there. This book can be gruesome at times and made me thankful to live in a tranquil environment.
John Lee is a superb narrator. He brought this violent world alive with his reading. I was sitting on the edge of my seat the entire way through the book. While I enjoyed him so much in Pillars of the Earth, his narration in this intense and fast moving novel suited his talents best.
I don’t have the stomach to read many novels such as Mixed Blood. In some sections it reminded me of scenes where people were killed by necklacing in the TV show The Shield. It is violence like that that gives me nightmares more than anything else. Still, I enjoyed this book a great deal. Recommended.
It was sent to me by Jason from Brain Candy Book Reviews. He sent it to me after I mentioned how much I like John Lee. His gift allowed me to expand my horizons and I thank him for it.