Roger Smith

The truth is just the lie you believe the most

As four-year-old Sunny Exley drowns in the icy waters off a luxury beach house, her father, Nick, smokes weed on the shore and her mother, Caroline, is lost in the arms of a lover. Hidden on nearby boulders, rent-a-cop Vernon Saul watches the child die and chooses to act only when it is too late.

In the days following Sunny's death, gutted by grief and guilt, Nick falls under the spell of Vernon who presents himself as a friend in time of need. When the sinister Vernon's true motives are revealed, Nick is drawn into a spiral of manipulation and murder that leaves him fighting for his sanity and his life.


"A harrowing psychological page-turner. Gripping." The Times

"A stark reflection on the insidious nature of guilt and grief. One of the most deeply satisfying books I've read this year." Florida Times-Union

"The plot is operatic in its violence and tragedy and the characters are heartbreakingly real and immensely flawed. Smith’s impeccable prose hits you on a physical level." Spinetingler Magazine

"Violent, chilling and as black as sin. Smith is a master of suspense." The Witness

"One of the most powerful reads you will find this year. Unmissable." Crimesquad

"A chilling read written with great power." Shotsmag

"An explosive, diabolical thriller." Paris-Match (France)

"Plunges us into a sea of  suffering and brutality. Terrifying." Le Figaro (France)

"Venomous and haunting." Liberation (France)

"A wild ride. Fasten your seatbelts." Marianne Magazine (France)

"Excellent. Nobody can peel back the layers of damaged people and, indeed, a broken society, so poetically." Top 5 Crime Novels of 2012

"Painfully realistic. Smith masterfully delves into the psychology of Cape Town like no other crime writer. Read it if you dare." The Big Issue, Cape Town

"A terrifying indictment of South African society." Business Day

"Sends chills down your spine." The Citizen

"A brutal, bloody portrait of a broken society." Die Welt (Germany)

"A novel of existential force. Smith’s best book to date." Title Magazine

"Roger Smith writes like the bastard child of Patricia Highsmith." Krimicouch (Germany)

"Murder, drugs, blood and horror are described in a style reminiscent of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness." Göttinger Tageblatt (Germany)

"A masterful thriller." Sonntagszeitung (Switzerland)

"A tough, captivating thriller. Not for the fainthearted." DRS3 (Swiss Radio)

"Magnificently written. High voltage!" Oön (Austria)

"The Best Crime Novel  of 2012." Dead End Follies

"What neo-noir is all about: the same  twisted, desperate characters found in original noir plus the faster pace and action usually found in thrillers. Tension ratchets up to a shattering and satisfying denouement." The Drowning Machine

"Filled with dangerous, flawed people and dark delights." Jack Ketchum, author of The Girl Next Door

"The best thriller I've read this year." The Gamblers Blog Top 5 Books of 2012

Nominated for a 2013 Spinetingler Magazine Best Novel Award

Winner of the 2013 Golden Post Award for excellence in crime fiction