House of Jaguar by Mike Bond oozes testosterone. It is a visceral thriller that combines elements of corruption, deceit, mass-murder, death squads, drug running, covert operations, torture, bravery, selflessness, nation building, and even a touch of love.
Murphy, former American military pilot, flies through the darkness in Central America on a mission to trade thousands of dollars for hundreds of pounds of marijuana. Just as he is about to take off with his illegal cargo, his plane is ambushed. Bullets fly. Unable to save his companions, he escapes into the jungle, leaving behind a trail of blood. He is seriously injured. After a horrific journey through the jungle, he is rescued by a small band of indigenous people who offer food and shelter. Soon, a lovely doctor arrives to treat his wounds. Unfortunately, Murphy’s life will never be the same. Lyman, a mysterious American operative, begins to hunt for Murphy with only one goal-to kill him.
The setting is drawn with such detail and clarity that readers will feel as though they are wearing a virtual reality headset. Bond, obviously an expert on all the locations, leaves no meaningful detail unaddressed. With total clarity, readers will hear the animals, see the constellations above, smell the vegetation, and realize the beauty of nature. Bond’s mastery of language results in beautiful, graceful prose.
The complex plot moves with the speed of a runaway train and is sure to leave readers breathless. The action follows Murphy through an epic journey as he heads home to America and then back to Central America again. The plot trajectory is anything but a flat line. Numerous roadblocks thwart Murphy’s plans at every turn. Lyman and his henchmen continue to stalk him. Only Murphy’s intelligence and military skills keep him alive.
Even though the two main characters are in direct opposition, they have more in common than one might realize at first. Murphy is a sort of anti-hero. Like Lyman, he kills people without much thought. He does not hesitate to engage in nameless, faceless sex. He transports and uses illicit drugs. Some readers may wonder which character is the good guy and which is the bad guy.
Readers who enjoy war, and battles, and action will love House of Jaguar. However, most of them will be men. The average woman may be put off by the way Murphy uses certain women while claiming a mystical love for the lady doctor. Derogatory terms that refer to women and sections that depict scenes of horrific torture may put off sensitive readers.
House of Jaguar is more than an adventure story. It is an honest commentary on a cruel reality that afflicts Central America and its citizens. It may serve as a wake-up call those who have been thus far unacquainted with the situation.