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Hard Dog To Kill Kindle Edition
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"Bones Don't Lie" by Melinda Leigh
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Action/adventure is not my usual reading genre of choice. What kept me turning the pages was the tension between Stan and Frank, his fellow mercenary. These hard-to-like toughs are teamed in a tense, conflicted relationship based on past obligations and years of working for hire in Africa. As the two of them wreak havoc in pursuit of a quarry their boss, Zhou, wants killed, the Congolese (suitably) term them “FranknStan.”
From the beginning, Stan, the narrator, emerges as a reader and a bit of a philosopher. (His early reference to The Lord of the Flies hints at what’s to come.) Brutal though he is from the outset, Stan’s level of awareness, acts of kindness along the way, and his persistent efforts to save Frank from himself earn the reader’s attention, and (eventually) regard.
With that existential perspective and very sharp dialogue, A Hard Dog to Kill is an engrossing read.
There were also parts that had me laughing, usually from Stan's witty reflections. "The sober part of me shouted Stanley, you are a boob!" Not to mention, I learned plenty of new vocabulary: hirsute! veldt! middens! tuckpointing! cordite!
I finished this book over a long weekend, because Stan is a compelling and endearing character (despite his terrible dark side) and that makes the reader want to see how he makes out. A very worthwhile read, and I look forward to whatever Holt publishes next.
I read this book in three days – what’s not to like about an interesting story, intriguing characters, descriptive, bone-chilling settings, and hilarious dialogue? Oh, and diamonds. Lots of diamonds.
If you are looking for a book that will defy categorization, make you laugh—loudly—out loud, will chew up and spit out any preconceived idea you had of [take your pick: the Congo, ex-military, 1st-person narrative, bad guys, good guys], then this is your book. I look forward to reading the sequel (and there’d better be a sequel!).
Hard Dog to Kill is about Stan and Frank, two mercenaries who are sent into the Congo jungle to hunt down and kill a man who has wronged their boss. Along the way, Stan begins to question his own morality, trying to convince himself that despite all of his bad deeds, he’s the good guy. Even with Stan’s brutal history, I was drawn to his sharp intellect and black humor.
Craig Holt is a master storyteller, painting a vivid picture of one of the most remote parts of Africa. Hard Dog to Kill is gritty and insightful yet also darkly funny. I found myself laughing and cringing in suspense in equal measure.
This is the kind of book that warrants multiple readings, with lush settings and incredibly deep and complex characters. Highly recommended!
I hope there is a sequel in store for this character.