House of Jaguar by Mike Bond, is based on Bond’s personal experiences as one of the few journalists to survive his assignment covering a civil war in Guatemala that was funded with American dollars. I know he must have seen some horrific and even traumatizing atrocities of war. Perhaps writing this novel was cathartic for him. I hope it was, but it was too graphic for me.
Bond does a superb job of relaying the truths about war, corrupt governments, and the accompanying atrocities, such as genocide and rape. We all know these things happen, no matter how much we hate the fact, but the graphic descriptions of rape and slaughter were nauseating.
House of Jaguar is definitely not a book for the faint of heart. Apparently, I am one of those folks, because I could not finish this book. I usually enjoy action/adventure novels, especially spy thrillers, but this was simply too realistic for my taste.
The story finds Joe Murphy, a Vietnam vet, trafficking marijuana in Guatemala when he witnesses an attack on a village by the Guatemalan Army. Their bullets shatter his arm, and he escapes through the jungle to a village that takes him in, and cares for him. He is treated by a guerrilla physician, Dr. Dona Villalobos, who insists he must leave, because the corrupt army will torture him until he reveals the location of the village that helped him, and then will destroy the village and its people. Of course, he falls in love with her, and things really get dicy. It’s a great story based on true events. Read it if you can handle the truly horrible aspects of warfare.
What Makes This Book Reviewer Grumpy?
- The extreme graphic descriptions of horrific events.
- The use of incomplete sentences. Example: “No wider than his hand.” and “Before him through the jungle.” What was no wider than his hand? What was before him?