Wake Up Dead: Book summary and reviews of Wake Up Dead by Roger Smith

Wake Up Dead

A Thriller

by Roger Smith

Wake Up Dead by Roger Smith X
Wake Up Dead by Roger Smith
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  • Published Feb 2010
    304 pages
    Genre: Thrillers

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Book Summary

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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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. From the terrific first sentence, the reader is firmly hooked...Highly recommended for those wanting their noir as hard-boiled as it gets." - Library Journal

"Only a slightly sentimental ending relieves his searing vision of characters trapped in a fetid purgatory." - Kirkus Reviews

"Starred Review. 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." - Publishers Weekly

This information about Wake Up Dead was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

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Mack

Crime Thriller from South Africa
Wake Up Dead is a fast paced crime thriller set in Cape Town, South Africa. It has become one my favorite books and one that I use as a benchmark for the genre. What I appreciate about it is that it doesn't sacrifice character for plot. The story tends to dominate in thrillers but Smith populates the book with well developed, interesting characters that range between low level street thugs and an former model from the U.S. The main character, Billy Afrika is a little better than the forces he is up against but he has a depth that makes him intriguing. I hope the author brings back in future novels. There is one main plot and several secondary ones that wind around and intersect each other before coming to a satisfying climax. The location of the story is very important. The vivid descriptions of Cape Flats area of Cape Town brought me forcefully into the story. The Flats were apartheid's dumping grounds, where the government forced non-whites to live. It is also home to gangs and drug trade. Think of the Baltimore of the HBO show, The Wire, only tougher. Wake Up Dead does have scenes of brutal physical violence but the violence is a reflection of the environment and not there for its own sake.

In the interests of disclosure, this review is based on an ARC of Wake Up dead but my review is solely my opinion and without outside influence. It is so good that I am purchasing a published copy for my personal library.

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Author Information

Roger Smith

Roger Smith, an accomplished screenwriter, director, and producer, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now lives in Cape Town. He is also the author of the thriller Mixed Blood.

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