Mixed Blood ), Cape Town meth heads Godwynn MacIntosh and Disco De Lilly hijack wheeler-dea"/>
 

Wake Up Dead

Roger Smith, Author
Roger Smith, Author . Holt $25 (290p) ISBN 978-0-8050-8876-2
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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.)

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