Billionaire Joe Sinclair is bored. To him, life is one big “been there, done that. ”However, there is one thrill Joe has yet to experience and he's willing to pay any amount to make it happen: Joe wants to know what it's like to kill a man. Courtesy of his illicit connections, Joe hires Haden, a mysterious ex-mercenary to take him and his three best friends on the kind of African safari you won't read about in travel brochures. But when the bullets start to fly, Joe and company find themselves on the absolute wrong side of the predator vs. prey equation.
A bit of a Boy's Own adventure without the wholesomeness. Joe, Billy, Steve and Trey are friends, though as they grow older there's a bit of distance between them. Joe has mega bucks courtesy of an inheritance from his father. He's the alpha male; rich, arrogant, entitled, shallow and unlikable. His wealth separates him from the others. Billy is the hanger-on. He's an unsuccessful musician, craving a break, happy to take whatever crumbs Joe throws his way. Trey and Steve are the normal guys. Trey's a bit of a player and a hit with the ladies. Steve is the only one married. Em is expecting their first child. Steve is kind of conflicted about his future with a bit of regret about moving on with his life and leaving his friends firmly in the rear view mirror.
Every year Joe organises a trip for the lads and bankrolls the outing...... Vegas, the Caribbean, gambling, hookers, drugs, drinks, scuba diving, climbing. This year with Steve's reluctance to join up, pussy-whipped according to Joe, it feels like it will be the last. Time to go out with a bang.
An African surprise, a safari and some hunting in Zimbabwe with a hardened ex-mercenary as a chaperone. First to give them a crash course in survival and impart some basic hunting skills and second to deliver them to their prey. Only the three tag-a-longs are in the dark as to Joe's true target.
Hedonism, a plane journey, hookers, dancers, coke, vodka, Harare, the military, the jungle, camp, training, target practice, poachers, rebels, death, conflict, in-fighting, flight, and a helluva lot more.
Loyalty, friendship, trust, bravery, sacrifice, selfishness, greed, advantage, manipulation, self-interest, power, forgiveness and regret are all under the microscope as the trip turns sour and the four along with Haden, their guide end up fleeing for their lives.
Plenty of excitement, testosterone and action - enough to fill two books. Quite a fast read. A bit of a change with the Zimbabwe setting and the contrast between the poor locals and the rich Americans in town to play.
A conclusion which confirms that money alone can't buy decency, happiness or peace.
4 from 5
Mark Rogers work has been read before - Red Thread (2016)
Read - September, 2019
Published - 2019
Page count - 300
Source - review copy from author, Mark Rogers
Format - MOBI file read on laptop