Thank god that ebooks have brought the novella back to life by creating a market for titles like this one. I started reading this on my commute home with no intent of finishing it the same evening--but it's that kind of book: you'll read it even though you had other plans. Ishmael Toffee is a blistering thrill ride that grabs you with its talons and won't let go. With its setting in the slums and suburbs of Cape Town and fresh characters delineated crisply, this story doesn't waste one word. Next time you feel tempted to watch some warmed-over recycled attempt at noir on cable or Netflix, plunk down a few bucks for Ishmael Toffee instead. It's better noir than I've seen on screen in years, yet only takes about two hours to read. It's a better thriller than works four times its length. Roger Smith is one helluva writer, and this work crackles with the same kind of energy as Jim Thompson or Richard Stark at their mad best.