roger smith
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About Me:
I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Before turning to a life of crime, I was a screenwriter, director and producer. I now live in Cape Town, a city as violent as it is beautiful.

My first novel, MIXED BLOOD, was published in the U.S. in hardcover by Henry Holt in March 2009 and Picador paperback in December.

MIXED BLOOD was named among the best books of 2009: Dave Zeltserman @ Flashlight Worthy, Alan Cranis @ Bookgasm, and Deadly Pleasures Magazine (a best first novel)

MIXED BLOOD was published in Germany as "KAP DER FINSTERNIS" and won the DEUTSCHER KRIMI PREIS 2010 (German Crime Award) and was voted #1 crime novel of the year by the influential KRIMIWELT.

My next book, WAKE UP DEAD, is now available in the U.S.


"[A] stellar thriller. Bad choices, not bad luck, drive human depravity in this brutal fable. One fundamental irony unforgettably lingers: that these characters, trapped in poverty, ignorance, and prejudice, have really had no choice at all." – Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"From the terrific first sentence, the reader is firmly hooked in this dark South African thriller of murder, drugs, corruption, and revenge . . . with bizarre characters Elmore Leonard might appreciate and an intricate plot of tangled relationships across racial divides. Highly recommended for those wanting their noir as hard-boiled as it gets" – Library Journal (starred review)

"An intricate Robert Altman–like narrative that, when the pieces finally connect, forms a terrifying portrait of the Cape Flats. [A] searing vision of characters trapped in a fetid purgatory." Kirkus Reviews

"Racial tension, gang warfare, prison life, and witchcraft – with a nod to cannibalism – will make this thriller a prime destination for readers who like to detour from crime-fiction’s beaten path." – Booklist

"Violent, uncompromising, unflinching, Wake Up Dead grabs you by the throat and will haunt you long after you've finished its last blood-soaked pages." Dave Zeltserman, author of Small Crimes & Pariah

"With his second novel, Roger Smith reaches another level of unrelenting noir, with all the elements of the genre given homage yet wonderfully mutated. Dark and brutal, the novel has a focused poetic style that stays with you long after you finish reading." Ken Bruen, author of The Guards & Once Were Cops
I Am A:
Books And Authors I Like:
James Sallis, Elmore Leonard, Cormac McCarthy, Pete Dexter, Jim Thompson, Richard Stark, Patricia Highsmith, Ken Bruen, Dave Zeltserman, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, Denis Johnson, James Ellroy, Ian McEwan
Movies And TV Shows I Like:
No Country for Old Men, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead, Fargo, Dr Strangelove, Raging Bull, Point Blank, The American Friend, Sunset Boulevard, Big Lebowski

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Roger smith's Blog

Wake Up Dead: Interview with a Killer

While I was researching WAKE UP DEAD, I met a man who had spent 30 years in prison in Cape Town, South Africa, and had become a general in one of the feared Number Gangs. I based WAKE UP DEAD's psychopathic Piper on some of what he told me. Recently he allowed me to shoot an interview with him. Much of what he decribes -- including a brutal prison murder -- has never been captured on video before.…


Posted on June 10, 2010 at 12:18am


2009 was a great year for my debut thriller MIXED BLOOD. It was published internationally, is in development for a movie with Samuel L. Jackson, and made a number of end of year lists. A huge "thank you" to all who have supported my novel.

Dave Zeltserman @ Flashlight Worthy (#1 Crime pick of the… Continue

Posted on January 12, 2010 at 6:30pm — 3 Comments

My FIVE BEST READS of 2009 (in alphabetical order)

AMERICAN RUST - Philipp Meyer, AWAIT YOUR REPLY - Dan Chaon, PARIAH - Dave Zeltserman, RAVENS - George Dawes Green, ROAD DOGS - Elmore Leonard.

Posted on December 26, 2009 at 2:02am

Okay, just to prove that authors DO read rotten Amazon reviews, here are my three favorites for MIXED BLOOD in 2009:

J. STORM: “It was like sitting through jury duty, waiting for your name to be called, all the while pretending to glance through the subpar magazine selections in the waiting room. (Not a lot of love in that waiting room . . .)

SALLY ATMAN: “I barely made it through this book; I dreaded what I was going to find on the page every time I picked it up.” (Bits of yesterday’s breakfast… Continue

Posted on December 24, 2009 at 7:33pm — 4 Comments

Comment Wall (25 comments)

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At 2:55am on January 14, 2010, John Sullivan said…
Haven't seen it yet, but we can usually get anything we want with a request to the publisher. I see the U.S. release date is Feb. 2 -- usually the same in Canada, or very close. I'd love to be able to read it in time to review for my next column, which will appear Saturday, Feb. 13. I'll speak to our Books Editor about getting a copy from Holt. cheers, js
At 7:24am on April 4, 2009, steve reeder said…
Roger, I've been offered a chance to be e-published in Uk, you've been around the writing business a while, what do you think of it?

At 12:33pm on March 18, 2009, Karen Dionne said…
Just finished MIXED BLOOD and loved, loved, LOVED it. Wow. Talk about a book that resonates long after it's over. Well done!
At 2:54am on February 26, 2009, Jason Chambers said…
Hi Roger, I'll add that movie rights bit to the blog later this week. Hope to see you here in the states sometime, too.

At 4:53am on February 10, 2009, Alison Bruce said…
I don't think you get much cooler than Robert Mitchum. There's a photo of him from around then where he's wearing a suit but paddling in the sea, it's a great shot. I have to dash I was cooking dinner, now I'm just burning it, A x
At 4:37am on February 10, 2009, Alison Bruce said…
Well I quite like her! She had great movie posters too. Given my line of work perhaps I should aim to be more like a crime writer and less like a dead actress! Who do you fancy being today?
At 4:30am on February 10, 2009, Alison Bruce said…
I think I don't have the wit for Harlow or the assets for Van Doren. Can I be Veronica Lake for today? That would be flettery!
At 4:21am on February 10, 2009, Alison Bruce said…
Hi Roger,

sorry I was so slow at responding to your 'add', I wasn't being rude! All the best, Alison
At 12:49pm on February 4, 2009, crimogenic said…
Hi Roger, I'm in Chicago and I think our state government can compete with South Africa. Good luck with Mixed Blood! :)
At 8:08am on February 4, 2009, Jack Green said…
Hey Roger, It seems McGuane spends most of his time raising Quarter Horses and fishing. I loved that whole Montana group of writers, Crumley, McGuane, and Jim Harrison. It's a shame about Westlake. Have you read the Stark novels with Alan Grofield as the main character? The booze got a hold of me pretty good. I somehow managed to break away. I read an autobiography that centers around England, Ireland, and drinking that as good a book as I've ever read; 'The Grass Arena' by John Healy. I hope you can find it although I think it's being reprinted this year. Congrats on your book, I'll be grabbing a copy in March. Good luck!

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