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Mixed Blood: A Thriller

3.86  ·  Rating Details  ·  450 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
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 fo
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 3rd 2009 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published 2009)
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Richard Vialet
Set in Cape Town, South Africa, described in the novel as the "rape and murder capital of the world," Mixed Blood brings together an ensemble of disparate characters that all collide after a violent suburban home invasion that ends in bloodshed and cover-up.

This book by Roger Smith, just like his hard-hitting novella that I read last year, Ishmael Toffee , is rough, violent, and not for the faint of heart. If I could describe Smith's writing in one word it would be: "extreme." Not necessarily e
Jun 28, 2011 Ed rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hard-core noir fans
This brutal, fierce neo-noir--I liked reading it--set in South Africa's Cape Town is probably more suited for male readers. The relentless pace reminds me of Charlie Huston. No character (all despicable in their own dark way) wins much reader sympathy. Violence, corruption, greed, and evil marinate the storyline that fulfills the genre's expectations. So you know what you're getting. The setting is vivid and often gritty. Gatsby, the obese boer inspector, has to rank as the most bent cop I've ev ...more
May 18, 2015 Col rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, s
Blurb...... 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 vict
Dec 19, 2008 Cheryl rated it really liked it
Jack Burn is a bank robber. Unfortunately one of his jobs has gone wrong. Three million dollars and a dead cop, now finds Jack and his family making a new life in Cape Town, South Africa. One night, something terrible happens, while the family is eating dinner. Something, so bad that it causes Jack to take matters into his own hands. .

Benny Mongrel is an ex- con. He is trying to turn his life around. Benny is now a night guard watchman for a building site. The site is right next to the Burn’s h
Craig Sisterson
May 17, 2015 Craig Sisterson rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime, africa
South Africa is definitely gaining in stature on the international crime fiction stage. Deon Meyer has garnered plenty of acclaim, and other authors like Smith and Margie Orford, amongst several others, are certainly putting their local crime fiction on the map.

In MIXED BLOOD, 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, he is desperate to build a new life for his pregnant wife and young s
Lukasz Pruski
Dec 04, 2013 Lukasz Pruski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Roger Smith's "Mixed Blood" is an extraordinarily brutal thriller. Thrillers are not my favorite mystery genre, but I have read a fair number of them - certainly more than 50 - and never have I encountered scenes of similar savagery. Some of the brutality in this novel is gratuitous, but most of it is warranted and serves to convey the message of wretchedness of life in one of the world's most violent places - the ghetto in Cape Town.

Jack Burn, an American fugitive from justice (an ex-Marine and
Clive Sacke
Dec 05, 2008 Clive Sacke rated it it was amazing
It's always a special moment when you discover a writer who can actually write. This book barely puts a foot wrong in the stylistic department. The characters exist on the edge of a world that has two faces. The sunny cosmopolitan part of Cape Town where the Euro trash bask in days that seem filled with only promise, and then the other side where there is no promise and no way out. Violence is as normal as bottled water in Camps Bay. Smith captures that contradiction perfectly.
There is no let up
I won a copy of this book through FirstReads. I was disgusted by the style and language that the book was written in, but they helped the visualization and seemed to sincerely portray the events that were being described in the book, i.e. drug dealers, ex-cons and corrupt cops. I think that the ending was a good one to show that there is no really justice served to anyone and it remains a world where stronger and more powerful individuals suppress the rest. Overall, for me, it seemed an average ...more
Ville-markus Nevalainen
Mixed blood is a thriller full of poor choices, undeveloped characters and backgrounds with a story that doesn't manage to hold the readers interest for long.

The book starts when two robbers break in and try to rob Jack Burn's family. Fortunately, or not, Burn is a man of action and he refuses to let these robbers scare his family. So he murders them in front of his wife and son. There's a lot of blood and then he has to get rid of the corpses while promising his wife that everything will be oka
Bernie Charbonneau
Jan 17, 2014 Bernie Charbonneau rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any Noir Fan
This is my second novel by this author and it was fantastic! I must admit that I read Capture about a year ago and instantly liked Mr. Smith’s writing style. This was the first novel published in North America by Smith and so I requested this book for Christmas. Now, the first few pages had me believing that I had read this book before but with continuance reading I realized that it started off similarly to Capture but then went on its own wild roller coaster ride into corruption and life in the ...more
Jan 18, 2015 1864 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Armin Hennig
Jan 20, 2014 Armin Hennig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Doppeltes Barbecue
Südafrikanischer Remix eines Erfolgsrezepts

Nachahmer haben es oft leichter als die Erfinder, vor allem, wenn sie sich aus einem umfangreichen Repositorium bedienen können. Wenn man die Fehlerquote als Maßstab nimmt, dann ist Roger Smith der bessere Elmore Leonard, dessen Personal und Konstellationen er auf südafrikanische Verhältnisse übertragen hat.
Beim auslösenden Konflikt überwältigt und ermordet ein weißer Ex-Marine zwei zugedröhnte Mischlinge aus den Elendsvierteln, die wä
Toni Osborne
Apr 08, 2013 Toni Osborne rated it it was amazing
Book 1, in the Cape Town series

This fantastic story almost impossible to put down recounts how, why and what happened to Jack Burns, an American who relocated to Cape Town, South Africa with his family.

Blackmailed into participating in a bank heist that went terribly wrong in his home town of Milwaukee Jack realizes he needs to get out of town and go into hiding with his wife and son. At first everything seems to be going well, then one evening all hell breaks loose when Jack is forced to defend
Kara Jorges
Dec 20, 2012 Kara Jorges rated it really liked it
Jack Burn is on the run since his gambling debts got him involved in a bank job gone wrong, resulting in the death of a cop in Milwaukee. His pregnant wife, Susan, knew nothing of his nefarious activities, but she took their young son and left their home behind to join him in Cape Town, South Africa, where they live quietly in an affluent suburb. The idyll is shattered one night when a couple of thugs invade their home, and Jack kills them both. He can’t afford to involve the police, so he dumps ...more
Nov 01, 2011 William rated it really liked it
This is one book that truly lives up to the sobriquet, a thriller. A page turner that is violent, entertaining, scary, and a joy ride. The words brutal and brutish keep coming to mind when I think of this book. Set in the Cape Flats section of Capetown South Africa, its the South Africa thats never seen by tourists unless they've made a dangerous wrong turn. Some of the language at first gave me serious reservations but after being assured by people you live there that yes, calling people half-b ...more
May 31, 2010 Maddy rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009-reads

Jack Burn thinks he's come up with a foolproof plan to escape arrest for a three million dollar bank robbery. In reality, he was a reluctant participant, but of course the authorities don't know that. Jack has managed to go underground by changing his identity and moving with his wife, Susan, and young son, Matt, to Cape Town, South Africa. After an idyllic interlude, a random event threatens to uncover Jack's subterfuge. Jack and his family are the victims of a gangland assault, and
Nov 26, 2008 J.C. rated it really liked it
Recommended to J.C. by: Amazon Vine Program
Shelves: 2009-reads, arc
Gritty and Intense... Tough to Put Down

Mixed Blood, by Roger Smith, was a gritty thrill ride from start to finish. I must preface this review by saying this book may not be for the faint of heart because the book is riddled with drug, prostitution, rape, and gang reference, to name a few. If that doesn't bother you, this book is a fantastic read from start to finish.

The story follows many unique characters from significantly different backgrounds. We have a gang officer trying to make a better l
Aug 08, 2011 Loren rated it liked it


In the late nineties, I spent close to a month in three countries near Africa's tip, and my memories of each nation couldn't be more different. In Swaziland, I recall sipping sweet tea and eating oranges in a dirt courtyard behind a Reformed church. The scents of boiled sadza and stewing meat fill my thoughts of Zimbabwe. But when it comes to South Africa, I mostly remember the bars on the windows in Johannesburg and how every car seemed outfitted
An American attempting to outrun his past runs afoul of Cape Town locals on both sides of the law in this debut thriller.After Jack Burn participates in a bank robbery that leaves a cop dead, he and his pregnant wife decide to start a new life with their four-year-old son in this bustling city on Africa's southern tip. Things are going well until two small-time gangbangers, high on crystal meth, decide to break into Burn's house, terrorize his family and take what they want from his home. Of cou ...more
Best Crime Books & More
Jun 19, 2012 Best Crime Books & More rated it it was amazing
This author only came to my attention after reading it as a recommended book by another author I love Sean Black. I figured that as I enjoyed the Sean Black books so much, I would take his recommendation up and give the new author Roger Smith a go.

As I had brought this book on my Kindle, by the time I got around to reading it I had no idea what the book was about so just started to read. The first thing that is noticeable with this book is there is no `typical' hero copper who has an attitude to
Mar 20, 2010 Mark rated it it was amazing
In Mixed Blood Smith has a way of taking the most obnoxious, despicable character and painting them in such a fashion that you find yourself rooting for them, all of them. As each main character is introduced, each one worse than the previous one, you are able to find some unbidden trait that makes you want to see them succeed. From Jack Burn, the American bank robber, hiding out in Cape Town under an assumed name, to Benny Mongrel the ex-jail-bird and long time gang-banger to the slime-ball, po ...more
Feb 27, 2010 Erik rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A friend of mine recommended this one to me based solely on my penchant for grit lit and George Pelecanos's urban noir. But I've got to say, the Cape Town thugs and corrupt cops in this one make the characters in a Pelecanos story look like the lollipop guild. I read this book in two days, definitely getting that can't-put-it-down sensation you get from a good, fast-paced crime story. I did take issue with the fact that pretty much all of the characters were detestable in one way or another, jus ...more
Oct 12, 2009 Mack rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: To anyone who likes fast paced action thriller with violent acts.
Sometimes, what I really want to read is a scorched earth, no prisoners, no quarter, no good guys just degrees of badness, thriller. It's like running Sodium hydroxide through the plumbing, it cleans out the pipes. This is why I was happy that I came across Roger Smith's Mixed Blood. But for me, Mixed Blood is more than a read-and-toss thriller, it reaches me at intellectual and emotional levels as well. My family lived in Pretoria, South Africa from 1952 and 1956 and I've become interested in S ...more
Doug Cornelius
May 29, 2010 Doug Cornelius rated it really liked it
Roger Smith has written a gritty, violent thriller full of deeply-flawed people trapped in bad luck and the violence of Cape Town, South Africa.

Some books slowly weave a tapestry of ideas. Mixed Blood is not one of those books. It’s rapid roller coaster with scenes quickly moving through the ups and downs of his cast of characters. The background and flaws of the characters are fired with the staccato of a machine gun into the narrative.

You probably won’t like any of the characters. Most of th
Rob Kitchin
May 06, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing
Mixed Blood starts at a nice quick pace and steadily gathers more speed, rattling and twisting along like a rollercoaster by the end. This pace, however, is not at the expense of plot, sense of place or characterisation. Indeed, Smith manages to pack an awful lot into three hundred pages and Mixed Blood is a masterclass in tight, taut and tense writing. Smith perfectly captures the troubled post-Apartheid politics and geography of Cape Town, its racism, poverty, crime and corruption. The charact ...more
Mar 03, 2010 K rated it liked it
Shelves: suspense, more-by
Set in contemporary Cape Town, South Africa, with most of the action in the lawless Cape Flats, where the apartheid regime relegated the city's non-whites. Stuff goes down in a rapid and violent fashion when one dude murders two other dudes and another dude sees it.

Had a hard time reading the first third of the book because there's a disfigured ex-con character who really loves a dog and it's the first time he's ever loved anything etc, so I was in constant dread that something bad was going to
Mar 16, 2009 Becky rated it liked it
Although the book started off fast and kept up a good pace with twists and turns, I had a hard time getting into it. First of all, the language was difficult for me. Don't get me wrong, I have a potty mouth from time to time, but it was pretty pronounced and hard for me to ignore. The author also used the slang dialect of the area which was hard to get used to, but not as distracting toward the end of the book as it was during the beginning. I did find that the further I read, the harder it was ...more
Nov 06, 2012 Jennyamy rated it really liked it
I jumped into this head first and eyes closed, and I felt like I swallowed a mouth-full of saltwater! So terrible, but in a good way. This book was recommended by a friend with an interesting taste in films and crime culture, and I thought anything he recommended would be unique at a minimum. Additionally, I have not read anything that takes place in Cape Town. While the writing style may leave something to be desired, I couldn't put the book down. I explained to my friends and family that the c ...more
Tony Knighton
Jun 06, 2015 Tony Knighton rated it it was amazing
Roger smith does a fabulous job in "Mixed Blood," keeping many balls in the air.

The multiple points of view are compelling and ring true.

He writes about Cape Town in a way that makes me feel like I've lived there all my life, even though I've never set foot on the continent.

Best of all, the story is great. Read this book!
M.L. Thor
Sep 14, 2013 M.L. Thor rated it liked it
As has been amply noted here, Roger Smith’s Mixed Blood is not for the faint of heart. Violent, despicable characters reign throughout, and it's hard to dredge up much sympathy for anyone except Bessie, Benny Mongrel's decrepit watchdog. With characters named Disaster, Burns, and Mongrel, in fact, and, of course, the incomparably evil Gatsby, Mixed Blood tips its hand from the start. What I found particularly engaging was the plotting. With a number of subplots running through the book, I was cu ...more
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Movie deal coming? 1 8 Jul 30, 2011 07:49AM  
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Roger Smith's thrillers Nowhere, Man Down, Sacrifices, Capture, Dust Devils, Wake Up Dead, Mixed Blood & Ishmael Toffee are published in eight languages and two are in development as movies in the U.S.

His books have won the German Crime Award and been nominated for Spinetingler Magazine Best Novel awards. He also writes horror under the pen name Max Wilde.

“Roger Smith writes with brutal beau
More about Roger Smith...

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