Roger Smith's South African noir novels explore conflicts between the lives of the privileged white population and the grindlingly impoverished black majority in the post-Apartheid era. They're deeply uncomfortable books, filled with flawed characters who do despicable things.Capture takes the reader on a relentless descent as it explores an act filled with guilt: the drowning of a child. It's an act of complicit guilt, involving a stoned father, an unfaithful wife, and Vernon Saul, the security guard who watches it happen so he can take advantage of it later. That's the starting point of this uncomfortable book: a character, Vernon Saul, who is so shorn of mercy that like a top predator, he sees in a child's drowning not potential for heroism but advantage. The book only grows more intense from there. I'm a big fan of Smith's books (Mixed Blood, Wake Up Dead, Dust Devils, Ishmael Toffee), but it's taken me some time to know how to approach reviewing this one in particular. That's perhaps because this book has more in common with some of the searing psychological portraits of George Simenon than anything more modern. I still find myself ruminating upon it two months after reading it. And this is perhaps one of the largest strenghts of Smith's work, which is that the characters are so vivid they stay with you and haunt you. Vernon Saul in this novel remains one of the most terrifying villains I can recall, possessing a languid corruption akin to Robert Mitchum's Max Cady in the original Cape Fear. This is contrasted with our white hero, who commits fool act after fool act, but still remains the best chance any of the other characters have of escaping the cauldron they're drowning in. Imagine a film noir made by Michael Haneke and you'd have a good idea of how beguiling, upsetting, and thought provoking Capture is. Highly recommended.