An American fugitive hides out in Cape Town—one of the world’s most beautiful and violent cities—in this riveting debut thriller that asks: Can you ever outrun your past?
Reluctant bank robber Jack Burn is on the run after a heist in the United States that left $3 million missing and one cop dead. Hiding out in Cape Town, South Africa, he is desperate to build a new life for his pregnant wife and young son. But on a tranquil evening in their new suburban neighborhood they are the victims of a random gangland assault that changes everything.
Benny Mongrel, an ex-con night watchman guarding a building site next to Burn’s home, is another man desperate to escape his past. After years in the ghetto gangs of Cape Town he knows who went into Burn’s house. And what the American did to them. He also knows his only chance to save his own brown skin is to forget what he saw.
Burn’s actions on that night trap them both in a cat-and-mouse game with Rudi "Gatsby" Barnard—a corrupt Afrikaner cop who loves killing almost as much as he loves Jesus Christ—and Disaster Zondi, a fastidious Zulu detective who wishes to settle an old score. Once Gatsby smells those missing American millions, the four men are drawn into a web of murder and vengeance that builds to an unforgettable conclusion.
Roger Smith takes a look at the good and bad sides of Cape Town.
“Smith plays out … that chilling sense of inevitability that is at the heart of the best noir. Like George Pelecanos, [he] captures lives trapped by poverty and prejudice without sentimentalizing those lives or downplaying the havoc they can produce. A fine debut.”—Booklist
“Smith does an outstanding job of bringing Cape Town to life, taking us through the twists and turns of the local criminal world and the confusing labyrinth of racial identity in post-apartheid South Africa. His prose is crisp and efficient … [with a] fascinating and vividly conjured location.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A gripping thriller that follows believable (if sometimes grotesque) characters along a desperate rush to ruin. Highly recommended.” —Library Journal
“Smith offers a gritty tale of corruption and vengeance set in South Africa in his absorbing debut … Smith’s taut prose bodes well for future thrillers from his pen.” —Publishers Weekly
“[A] well-told, brutal tale…. Riveting.”—The Roanoke Times
"Mixed Blood is an unnerving thrill ride that kept me on edge from beginning to end. The set-up is terrific and the bad guy is really bad - but so are the good guys. Mixed Blood is a top notch debut thriller and I'm looking forward to Roger Smith's next book."—Phillip Margolin, author of Executive Privilege
"Startling, vivid, frightening. A first-rate debut from an up-and-coming talent."—Eric Van Lustbader, author of First Daughter and The Bourne Sanction
“Smith's characters fight for their lives against a Cape Town heavy with heat, grime, corruption, and gang violence. With its shattering sense of place and satisfying plot twists, this book will grip you from page one.”—Chelsea Cain, author of Heartsick and Sweetheart