Wake Up Dead

A Cape Town Thriller

Roger Smith

Henry Holt and Co.

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An amphetamine-fueled thriller about a bombshell American widow on the run in Cape Town’s violent badlands—from a writer being compared to George Pelecanos and Richard Price

A split-second decision with no second chance: get it wrong and you wake up dead.

On a blowtorch-hot night in Cape Town, American ex-model Roxy Palmer and her gunrunner husband, Joe, are carjacked, leaving Joe lying in a pool of blood. As the carjackers make their getaway, Roxy makes a fateful choice that changes her life forever.

Disco and Godwynn, the ghetto gangbangers who sped away in Joe’s convertible, will stop at nothing to track her down. Billy Afrika, a mixed-race ex-cop turned mercenary, won’t let her out of his sight because Joe owed him a chunk of money. And remorselessly hunting them all is Piper, a love-crazed psychopath determined to renew his vows with his jailhouse “wife,” Disco.

As these desperate lives collide and old debts are settled in blood, Roxy is caught in a wave of escalating violence in the beautiful and brutal African seaport. With savage plotting and breakneck suspense that ends in a shattering cataclysm of violence, Wake Up Dead confirms Roger Smith as one of the world’s best new thriller writers.

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Wake Up Dead
chapter 1THE NIGHT THEY WERE HIJACKED, ROXY PALMER AND HER HUSBAND, Joe, ate dinner with an African cannibal and his Ukrainian whore.The African, languidly elegant in a hand-tailored silk suit, was blue-black with tribal scars on his cheeks. He spoke beautiful French-accented English, and he could have recited the Cape Town phone book and made it sound poetic. The whore had yellow braids, the dark roots cross-hatching her skull like sutures on a cadaver. She didn't say much, spent most of the meal hating Roxy for her naturally blonde hair and perfect American teeth.

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Reviews

Praise for Wake Up Dead

"Violent, uncompromising, unflinching, Roger Smith's superb second Cape Town crime thriller, Wake Up Dead, grabs you by the throat from the first page and announces Smith as the new poet laureate of visceral, violent crime fiction. Wake Up Dead will haunt you long after you've finished its last blood-soaked pages."—Dave Zeltserman, author of Small Crimes

"Wake Up Dead is proof that Noir is alive and flourishing. With his second novel, Roger Smith reaches another level of unrelenting Noir, with all the elements of the genre given homage yet wonderfully mutated. Dark and brutal, the novel has a focused, poetic style that stays with you long after you finish reading. Smith is Charles Willeford via James Ellroy, and South Africa is his Noir kingdom."—Ken Bruen, author of Guards

"From the terrific first sentence, the reader is firmly hooked in this dark South African thriller of murder, drugs, corruption, and revenge . . . with bizarre characters Elmore Leonard might appreciate and an intricate plot of tangled relation-ships across racial divides. Highly recommended for those wanting their noir as hard-boiled as it gets" —Roland Person, Library Journal (starred review)

"An intricate Robert Altman–like narrative that, when the pieces finally connect, forms a terrifying portrait of Cape Flats…. Smith swiftly and steadily blasts away with abrupt, crude and profane conflicts."--Kirkus

"Smith keeps the pacing brisk … A prime destination for readers who like to detour from crime-fiction’s beaten path."—Booklist

"Stellar."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

 "If you are a fan of George Pelecanos or Dennis Lehane, give Roger Smith a close look." --BookPage


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About the Author

Roger Smith

Roger Smith, an accomplished screenwriter, director, and producer, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now lives in Cape Town. He is the author of the thrillers Mixed Blood and Wake Up Dead and is writing a third novel. Visit Roger Smith's website at www.RogerSmithBooks.com.

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Available Formats and Book Details

Wake Up Dead
A Cape Town Thriller
Roger Smith

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Henry Holt and Co.
February 2010
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781429953498
ISBN10: 1429953497
304 pages
$7.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Picador
January 2011
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312680480
ISBN10: 0312680481
5 1/2 x 8.25 inches, 304 pages
$18.00
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From The Publisher

Henry Holt and Co.

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