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Diablos de Polvo

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  439 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Framed for murdering his family, South African journalist Robert Dell's only ally is his oldest enemy: his father, an ex-CIA hitman with one last shot at redemption. Hunting the real killer, father and son take a bloody road trip into the heart of darkness, uncovering a conspiracy reaching to the highest levels of the state.
Paperback, Colección Pulpo Negro, 344 pages
Published May 2012 by Es Pop ediciones (first published June 27th 2011)
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(I received a free copy of this book from New Pulp Press for this review.)

This book starts out with infidelity, murder, more murder and political/police corruption.

Then things really get dark.

Robert Dell is a white South African journalist who protested apartheid. He’s a liberal, a committed pacifist and married to a black woman. His father, Bobby Goodbread, proves that sometimes the apple falls a long way from the tree. Goodbread is an American who got up to all kinds of evil deeds as part of h
Jul 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardboiled/noir fans
Recommended to Ed by: previous reader of his work
For my money, the top echelon of literary crime noir creates separate narrative threads of the main characters and then, somehow, weaves them together into one volatile, propulsive story. Roger Smith does just that and with seamless ease. I enjoyed reading his Mixed Blood earlier this year, and I consider Dust Devils even a notch better. The antihero, Robert Dell, South African journalist, finds his family killed, and reacts with fiery red in his eyes. His seeking revenge and justice feels right ...more
Jason Bradley
(New Pulp Press offered me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review)

In this story, the author takes you on a twisting, turning jaunt that not only introduces you to some of the most interesting, fully fleshed-out characters I have ever read, but also keeps your heart racing for the entire read. This is one read you will never forget.

Don Bradshaw
Set in the corrupt days after apartheid in South Africa, this is a story vividly spiced with native culture, modern thinking and the space between the two. The abject forced poverty and the utter disregard for human life made this story a tough one to read. The writing was flawless and kept the story moving well. The characters and their customs especially the Zulu, were well developed and three dimensional whether you liked them or not. I highly recommend this thriller.
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The violence piles up quickly in Roger Smith's action packed yet depressingly realistic thriller Dust Devils. Set in South Africa, it tells a story full of deception, corruption, murder, revenge and pretty much everything else you might find in a thriller. The author's strength is not just that he can handle all of this and keep you on the edge of your seat but that he can also transport you into the South African culture in a way that makes you feel you are there. At the end you may be glad you ...more
Dust Devils by Roger Smith is a 2011 publication.
It's bad enough that Robert Dell, a white journalist in South Africa, has lost his family, but now he is being blamed for it. In order to hunt down the real killer, Robert must team up with his father. The thing is, he hates his father. The two have a few differences when it comes to politics. But, Robert is out of options by this time and has no choice but to join forces with his father.
The person behind Robert's frame up is set to marry his fo
Benoit Lelièvre
You have to understand two things to fully enjoy this novel. First, it's a very angry political novel, so the purpose is bigger than the story and you have to stop sometimes to let the horror seep in. Two, while Roger Smith is a decent writer, where he truly leaves everybody behind is as a storyteller. He will constantly mess with your expectations, but will articule a story of a spectacular scope without ever betraying your trust. Dust Devils is a noir novel as fine as anything ever written in ...more
Oct 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never write reviews, someone has always said what I want to say. This book won't be for everyone. It's violent, shocking, raw and confronting. A gripping story, but there's no happy ending. A reflection of African politics, culture and issues of that era. It won't be the last book I read from Roger Smith, but at least I'm prepared. ...more
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My reading tastes lean mostly towards crime and thriller and horror. But I'm getting jaded. When looking for a little 'darkness' fix, noir mainlines my enjoyment 100%.

There are many great writers and great books but personally, truly excellent ones are rare.

Dust Devils sat on a charity shop shelf. Creased like a pensioners face. Heavily dog eared and discoloured. The synopsis: Robert is a journalist framed for murdering his family. The only friend he has is his father, an ex CIA hitman. They ar
David Bridges
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfectly executed noir novel right here. This is my first round with Roger Smith but will definitely not be my last. I don't know much about South Africa, but despite that, I totally felt like I was there. From the metro coasts to the scorching heat of a Zulu village, Smith has you right there with his characters.

The book clocks in at 302 pages but I have to admit that I blew through the book quickly. The storytelling is gripping and the characters are flawed yet believable. The narrative is c
Z.A. Coe
Dust Devils is bleak and gritty but apparently quite accurate in its portrayal of the setting. The book is very well written and Roger Smith has an exquisite command of language. I don't think I'll read more of his books because this was a bit too bleak for me, but for anyone who likes well-written action or thriller novels, Dust Devils is a good showcase of Smith's talent. ...more
Mark M. Williams
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read

Exciting and setting captures your imagination. Cultural interplay was also rewarding. I would recommend this book without hesitation. Reminds me a little of Wibur Smith novels.
Jeremiah Dube
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. Thrilling all the way. Very stark and harsh writing, but it describes the reality of the crime context in which these poor people have to survive.

Very dark and violent and very exciting to read.
Blake Tomlinson
Jan 20, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very good. Violent and stark but very authentic. The characters are drawn in broad outline with little complexity but that works well for the kind of thriller we have here.

Sparse dialogue, and the action is dark and thrilling. Most enjoyable to read.
Elizabeth A.
Jul 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A man who protested alongside black South Africans for the end of apartheid, freelance journalist Robert Dell is a devoted pacifist with a deeply ingrained sense of justice. When his wife and children are killed after a truck deliberately forces them off the road, Dell's grief turns into outrage when he is accused of being the one responsible for their deaths.

Initially placing his trust in the justice system to set things straight, Dell quickly realizes those responsible for the deaths of his fa
Quentin Stewart
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
DUST DEVILS is one of those hard to put down books once you get started. It gives one an over view of what life is like in South Africa with one portion of the country stepping into the 21st century and part of the country still living by the rules and standards set in the times of tribal rule throughout Africa. I found this clash of belief systems to be interesting and fascinating. It shows that the hatreds created by the British rule continue to simmer just beneath the surface and at times bre ...more
Kevin Bowser
I have always been intrigued by the apartheid and post-apartheid period in South Africa. And Dust Devils by Roger Smith weaves an interesting if not convoluted story into a complex plot with many characters. The method of storytelling made it a little hard to follow for one who reads only a few chapters per night. So, my first step each time I picked up the book was to try to remember who was who!

The book is set in present day Cape Town in South Africa. It opens with a woman who is involved with
DUST DEVILS by Roger Smith is an exciting South African crime thriller set in present day Cape Town,South Africa. It is well written with depth and details. The characters are believable,engaging and will capture your heart. It has corruption,revenge,redemption,arranged marriage,conspiracy,AIDS,South Africa,violence, lawlessness,political and civil corruption and murder. This is a fast paced,heart pumping thriller where the characters are engaged in political and civil corruption and where young ...more
C.K. Raggio
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Couldn't put this down!!

DUST DEVILS by Roger Smith kept me on the edge of my seat from the first sentence. This was a quick, highly entertaining read. Set in present Cape Town in South Africa, it starts with a woman who makes a mistake, one her family pays the worst price for.

Add in drug lords, a crooked cop, a man wrongly accused, a young Zulu girl betrothed to a monster, a native son of a chief who left behind his demons in search of more; and you have one heck of a roller coaster ride.

Mar 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: review, favorites
I'm left a little speechless by how engrossing this book is. Thrilling, enlightening, caustic, moving, and thought provoking. The toxic legacy of colonialism scars this narrative, leaving all its characters damaged and lashing out with pain, ignorance, and grief that just won't go away. Smith's facility with point of view leaves you hating a character in one scene and empathizing with him in the next. This book burns with a distilled rage, and paints a devastating portrait of the many-sourced in ...more
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think Roger Smith is the best writer of crime fiction today. I have read them all over the years starting with Mickey Spillane to Joseph Wambaugh, then Lee Child, James Lee Burke. Elmore Leonard and John Sandford (and on and on). They are absolutely great and I wait for each book they publish, but someone has to be the best and Roger Smith has taken that position.

If you enjoy crime fiction do yourself a favor and read "Dust Devils". Everything about this book is perfect. It is very violent and
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read this book, I rushed back round to Foyle's and bought Roger Smith's two other books which were available there. The real crime here is that Smith is not huge, worldwide, New York Times list and all the rest. Highly entertaining, but utterly believable South African noir, which at times will make you laugh, and at others will make you cry. Cape Town is the setting and the cast of characters is awesome.
A cracking tale, I hope he gets the recognition he deserves very soon. Far, far bette
Gavin Greenwood
Another great book from Roger Smith. Evil characters like Inja make one's skin crawl.

And a clear ability to capture African moments: "Dell followed the coast road, along the edge of Africa. To the left the cane fields, to the right the Indian Ocean. He caught glimpses of water, flat and greasy, through the fungus of condos and golf estates - the privileged hunkered down behind razor wire and electric fences, staring off toward far Australia and wondering why the hell they hadn't got the hell ou
Robin Jonathan Deutsch
Roger Smith delivers again. He weaves another amazing South Africa novel replete with the same dark, gritty and realistic flair he's offered in his previous novels.

I will not write much about Dust Devils except to say that it's an absolute page turner; but then again, every one of his novels are. There are enough descriptions of Dust Devils around to get the basic details, but you really have to spend time with it to get the complete story. I found myself re-reading passages. Smith's depictions
Bernie Charbonneau
This is my third book by this wonderful author and I seem to enjoy his tales more and more. His writing is both gritty and dark that you must not enter his books on a full stomach! The scenery and characters are so seedy that at times you will need to force that days lunch down. The story centers in the outskirts of Johannesburg in the Zulu district and let me tell you, after reading this thriller, I have no desire to visit that part of the world any time soon! Mr. Smith does such an excellent j ...more
Trent Smith
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dark. Bleak. Violent. Noir.

When you start out a novel with adultery and the murder of one's family the trajectory hopefully arcs upwards. Not so with Smith's latest. He grabs a hold of the reader, throws you in a runaway coal cart, and heads you to the depths of human suffering, mining one disturbing image after another.

Redemption and hope, faith and love, are in short supply. Roger squeezes joy until it's naught but a burnt photograph left to fade in the African sun.

Other reviews can be found
Roxanne Grenville
Aug 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great thriller. Violent, dark, very noir. Interesting insights into current day violent crime in South Africa. Lots of action, very reflective of the real world (as far as I can see from the daily reporting from that country). Very enjoyable. Some might think the violence is gratuitous. Not me: I think it's real and very present, and in your face. Maybe to unrelenting. Would like to see more reflective moments showing the human side of these dark characters. Interesting to read other authors fro ...more
Robbie Denvil
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this last week and finished it on June 16th. Maybe because of that it made me realise how far and how not so far we've come as a country.

I liked it even more than I liked Ian Patrick's first two books Devil Dealing and Gun Dealing. Those were brilliant, and I intend to read the others in his series. But this one is even more exciting. Lekker action, amazing violence, lovely characters. Must get more of this guy to read when I finish the 'Ryder' series.

So much to read. So little time.
Dec 20, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book, but if you don't like violence, this book is not for you. It's dark and raw and gritty. There are multiple story lines on a converging path that build tension right up to the last page. I particularly enjoyed Smith's use of similes. Never were they strained, something lesser writers never quite master. The setting is South Africa, complete with warlords and corruption that I'm afraid is all too real. If you're looking for an exciting read, I recommend Dust Devils. ...more
Rory Costello
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Smith captures an absolutely horrific underside of South Africa, but without ever having set foot on the continent, you can tell that his vision is true. It is extremely graphic, but that's what makes it compelling too. I appreciated the many small cultural details.

This book could be the harder, meaner grandson of Robert Ruark's Something of Value (1955), which was set in Kenya against the backdrop of the Mau Mau rebellion.
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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 beauty

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