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Wake Up Dead: A Cape Town Thriller (Cape Town Thrillers) by [Smith, Roger]
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Wake Up Dead: A Cape Town Thriller (Cape Town Thrillers) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of this stellar thriller from South African author Smith (Mixed Blood), Cape Town meth heads Godwynn MacIntosh and Disco De Lilly hijack wheeler-dealer Joe Palmer's Mercedes. When the two black men shoot Joe in the leg, the reaction of Joe's gold-digging American wife, a former model, is to say the least, unexpected. While honest cop Ernie Maggott tracks the carjackers, and sociopathic killer Piper pursues Disco, once his jailhouse wife, half-white Billy Afrika, a former police detective and now a mercenary to whom Joe owed a ton of cash, is bent on revenge for Piper's savage two decades-old murder of Billy's mentor. Bad choices, not bad luck, drive human depravity in this brutal fable, where the human ideals of beauty and goodness and truth can't save their possessors and even fatally attract the soulless. One fundamental irony unforgettably lingers: that these characters, trapped in poverty, ignorance, and prejudice, have really had no choice at all. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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

Product Details

  • File Size: 599 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.; Reprint edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Publication Date: February 2, 2010
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003H4I5BW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #187,284 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book flat out kicks a**! I think the most amazing aspect of Smith's writing style is how he allows you to see the characters in a certain manner for a few chapters and then he puts you into their heads and turns your impression of them completely upside down. The characters all have their own story to tell and Smith tells them all with a style that keeps you hungering for more of their narrative. Smith is one of those writers that switch narrators and when he leaves one perspective you feel angry because you are into that character's point of view, but then you start the next chapter and think "Oh...I couldn't wait to see what this character was up to". Smith is one of the newer hard-boiled noir authors along with Millar, Zeltserman, Flexer and Chaney that is giving the genre new life. Smith has already established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the noir field and his writing seems to have gotten even better in his second book.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know the etiquette about reviewing on amazon a book that you blurbed, but man, I love this book and its great compulsory vibe. With its large cast of characters that violently collide throughout the course of Wake Up Dead, this book reads a bit like very violent Elmore Leonard. Roxy Palmer is looking to escape a bad marriage and bad situation (as well as bad life decisions), soldier-for-hire Billy Afrika is looking for payment and redemption, a cold-blooded killer and gangbanger Piper is looking for his true love---and how these 3 lives are going to intersect in Cape Town, South Africa leads to one of the best crime thrillers to come around in years. Right now I don't think anyone is writing better crime thrillers than Roger Smith.
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Format: Hardcover
After a carjacking in Cape Town leaves Roxy Palmer's gunrunner husband dead, she must stay out of the sights of the carjacking gang members, Disco and Godwynn, two of the many dark and disturbing characters, an ex-cop turned mercenary, Billy Afrika; and Piper, a psychopath bent on renewing his vows with his jailhouse "wife," Disco.
Roger Smith definitely paints a dark image over Cape Town, especially the Cape Flats area. Dont' expect any heroes in this latest thriller. What you get is a dark and unsettling thriller that will make your stomach curl. The atmosphere the author creates is real and palpable. A crime thriller that will surround you with its bleakness. Don't expect a happy ending in the old fashion sense but more in an authentic sense.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My big disappointment with Roger Smith is I have now run out of his books....damn that man.
Undoubtedly my best author in this kind of genre which is murderous, dark and pacy. Every character introduced is a major player as the story line unfolds and there is nothing ever superfluous ever. I love his writing. Please get more out there.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
You don't read any Roger Smith book to make your life feel better! They are as tough as they come and paint an unrelenting bleak outlook on life through the eyes of the local characters. Almost no redeeming qualities for any characters in this book, there are no Goodies, just all Baddies! I thought this was the best of Roger's books that I have read to date. A tight story and there are never too many characters in any of his novels and this book is no different. You quickly identify with all of them and keep saying "OMG" as you read further into the story. I read this novel through in 2 sittings, I literally could not put it down.
I was also astounded to see that Roger lives in Capetown, having read these books, I never want to go back there!
A top story from a top author.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am always looking for a new author so that when I like the book, I can look forward to more good reads. For that reason, I like a series because the character development grows. Sometimes stand alone books are lacking in the character development. BUT NOT HERE! Not only do the characters act, they are revealed thoughtfully. The reader knows what they are thinking, their past and present, and can anticipate the future and be delighted when the future throws them for a loop.

This was gritty, compelling, brutal, and forced me to think about life in a different way. I hoped for heroism in the characters, but didn't expect it. I hoped for a promising outcome, but didn't expect it either. I always welcome the end of a book that leaves me feeling something other than the fact that I enjoyed the book. Feeling is good, and remembering the feeling is better. I will definitely read more from Roger Smith. I only wish he had about 15 books all ready to go so I didn't have to wait for him to write them.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
WAKE UP DEAD is another Cape Town Thriller from Roger Smith. He is knocking on the door of my top ten favorite authors because each read has been consistently excellent. This book has some really mean characters and intense scenes that topped some of his previous reads for me. The were a couple of early scenes in the book that I had problems following at the time but they came together as I kept reading. I enjoyed how he weaved the plot and it was interesting seeing how it all tied together by the end. He is a unique author for me because he surpasses the boundaries that I would normally expect. Looking forward to reading DUST DEVILS next.
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