Ishmael Toffee

Ishmael Toffee - Roger  Smith This tale follows the title character, a career hitter for local Cape Town gangs. He and his knife have been doing good work for about 30 years, 20 of those behind bars, killing efficiently and without remorse. Then one day, he just doesn't want to do it anymore. Maybe you can call it rehabilitation, or maybe you can just call it a simple mid-life crisis. He discovers a love for gardening and is soon paroled. Suddenly in a new, tough outside world that's moved on since he's left it, he tries his best to stay out of trouble But trouble finds him after he takes a job pulling weeds in a rich lawyer's yard, and befriends the man's 6-year-old daughter. Ishmael soon finds another reason to take up a knife after discovering that the lawyer takes nightly trips into his daughter's bed at night.

This Kindle novella is a REALLY brutal one, but powerfully written. I had a hard time reading about some of the violence and terror inflicted upon children, but the struggle that Ishmael goes through to do the right thing, and his relationship with little Cindy, kept me reading. It's tightly paced and nerve-wracking. The author never makes the big mistake of apologizing for Ishmael's terrible past or asking us to forgive him.. Instead he just asks that we believe in rehabilitation.

The book also includes a bonus short story called "Falling," another hard-hitting story of the struggle for redemption. In this one, the main character is a cinematographer (which is what I do for a career, so I got a kick outta that!) who, through bad choices now, only shoots low budget porn flicks, and sparks a connection with one of the actresses.

I had never heard of this author before. Thank you to Goodreader Paul for recommending this and helping me discover that this writer has a bunch of thrillers set in inner city Cape Town that sound really intriguing! Time to add another writer to the to-read list! But his novels might not be for the faint of heart...