When they refuse to back down, the cartel escalates its threat, kidnapping Ophelia, the boys' playmate and confidante. Ophelia's abduction sets off a dizzying array of ingenious negotiations and gripping plot twists.
The synopsis: It’s a hot, dry night in Cape Town when gun-runner Joe Palmer and his ex-model, American wife Roxy are car-jacked, leaving Joe lying in a pool of blood. As the thieves, meths addict Disco and his sidekick Godwyn, make their getaway, Roxy makes a split-second decision that changes her life forever.
This decision brings her on a collision course with Billy Afrika, a mercenary to whom Joe owes money, Disco's prison-loving gangster “husband” Piper, a would-be African insurgent leader, and a dirty cop determined to use Roxy to escape his dangerous Cape Flats beat.
The review: It simply doesn’t get more “noir” than this. This is easily the most violent book I’ve read this year, with a degree of carnage that could almost push this book into the horror genre. However, it is a violence that is germane to the characters and springs from the author’s understanding of the people he is writing about, rather than violence just for the sake of it.
With his neat prose and breakneck pace, Roger Smith has conjured an excellent read. I’m guessing that this is not a book that the South African tourist board will be touting; it is undoubtedly a book that will place this country’s thriller writers in the forefront of a world readership.
Now a group of disgruntled former soldiers has begun its own smuggling operation, and what is being moved is infinitely stranger and more terrifying than anyone can imagine. Anyone, that is, except private detective Charlie Parker, who has his own intimate knowledge of the shadows that reside in men's hearts.
Speeding past and stopping off along the way, the driver meddles, mixes and murders, heading towards the edge of the New World and to his own sick realisation of the American Dream.
This is not a book you can carelessly skim; every word demands your attention as Wilding creates a patchwork quilt of experience moving from the past to the future to the present with a searing detail that burns into your conscience.
Even the secondary characters, each deep in a well of their own unhappiness are prone to act in ways that surprise and shock. This work is almost certainly destined to become a cult classic and if you are ever stuck as to how to offer the definition of “noir” I suggest you point to this book.
The writing is hypnotic and carries the lyricism and precision of a poet. “Cross Country Modern Song” is a 21st-century road trip that will grip you in the heart of its darkness forcing you to think about our world and it’s excess.
I kind of ran out of energy there, people - besides you can only deal with so much awesomeness at the one time. So come back another day and I'll give you the rest of my faves.