HOUSE OF JAGUAR by Mike Bond

HOUSE OF JAGUAR

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Bond’s (The Last Savanna, 2013, etc.) military thriller, a former U.S. Army pilot witnesses soldiers slaughtering a village in Guatemala and makes himself a target when he starts asking questions.

Vietnam vet Joe Murphy is earning money by flying to Guatemala to pick up a load of marijuana. But before he can get his plane back in the air, the Guatemalan army attacks, and Murphy flees into the jungle. The pilot, injured and taken in by villagers, evades the army again but watches as they massacre the village. When Murphy makes it back to the States, he goes to the press with his story, but there’s evidently no media interest. A short article, however, is enough to catch the attention of Col. Lyman, who was in Guatemala on a CIA op and who’s been obsessively pursuing Murphy, blaming him for the murder of another CIA insert, Kit Gallagher—a death that Murphy heard while hiding in the jungle. Murphy is now dodging killers, including cops, in his native country, hoping to learn what the CIA was doing in Guatemala and determined to go back for Dona Villalobos, a doctor he fell for during his recovery. Bond’s kinetic novel abounds with intense scenes—Murphy trekking through the spider- and snake-laden forest with a broken arm; Dona and a group of guerrillas raiding an Army base for medicines, a plan that has unexpectedly bloody results. But even without someone running or ducking bullets, characters are rarely given a chance to stop and take a breath. The adept Dona simultaneously tends to Murphy, who’s aggravated his injury, and a pregnant woman who needs a cesarean section. Bond also includes elements of mystery; readers are aware of the CIA’s presence in Guatemala but learn most things right along with the protagonist. The characters are fully limned, though none is more delectably warped than Lyman. His fixation on Murphy borders on psychotic and leads Lyman to enact seriously disturbing deeds. Not surprisingly, the novel ends with a shock, one that might have a few readers gasping.

A high-octane story rife with action, from U.S. streets to Guatemalan jungles.

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1627040105
Page count: 387pp
Publisher: Mandevilla Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
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