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House of Jaguar

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Once upon a time, Joe Murphy served as an evacuation medic in Vietnam; now he smuggles drugs. He’s considering the possibility of this being his last run, but that is a decision made a moment too late.

Ambushed by soldiers, his plane destroyed, a wounded Murphy awakens to find himself in a Guatemalan village, a family caring for him. But the government officials are relentless in their search for him.

Will Murphy be discovered? And if he is, what will happen to him? 


Set in Guatemala in Central America and based on the author’s own experiences, this well-written, intense narrative is difficult to read. Filled with horrific brutality, the story both powerful and disturbing. 

Although, at the outset, Murphy might seem to be a “bad” guy; the unfolding story paints him in a different light. With no nuances, the good characters are good while the bad characters are evil and Murphy is quite unlikable. 

Despite the strong, evocative sense of place, the story is gritty, filled with cartels, deceitful government officials, politics, and, at the other end of the spectrum, people just trying to do the right thing.

Recommended, but with this caveat: this far-too-graphic story, filled with atrocities, vividly recounts man’s inhumanity to man. It’s despicable; it’s gruesome . . . made all the more insidious by its cruel veracity.

I received a free copy of this eBook from Mandevilla Press and NetGalley
#HouseofJaguar #NetGalley
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House of Jaguar was a very confusing book.  The reader is never certain why things are happening.  The "good guys" are bad guys and Murphy, the bad guy who is a drug smuggler, is almost a good guy.  There was no redemption.  The dialogue was stilted.  All in all, there are so many good books out there, I would skip this one.  I received an arc from NetGalley and was not influenced for a good review.

Ramona Thompson
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Once being a soldier, your entire life will be solider. 
A spy works for country, or for his own passions? 
And what will happen if a day waking up and knowing that you're framed up? Does  instincts  of soldier and experienced spy will help you to survive?
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“We’re back in Guatemala.” “When we get out this time, I’m going to bag it too.”

But they waited one trip too long and Murphy’s life as a pilot flying marijuana from Guatemala to the States is over.

I’m not going into everything that is in the blurb, but I do remember hearing a lot about the CIA, the cartels, corrupt politicians…on both sides…those with their own agendas. To me, everything about the ‘drug wars’ and the way our government handles it is all wrong. A book like House Of Jaguar gets my emotions roiled. The tragic circumstances of the poor and those who get in the way, makes my heart break for them.

    “For two years I do not see a track. Then since you came this one’s been near. He’s very rare, a black one…Tonight after the ceremony I go and call him. Then we’ll have money for more seeds – black skins are the most valuable.”

In tragic, dangerous circumstances, there are those who open their hearts, putting their own lives on the line to help others. Dona is one of those characters and Murphy has the misfortune (?) to fall in love with her. How can it be a happy ever after?

He knows too much and tries to tell the world what is being done to the Guatemalans. It is unfortunate that no one seems to care enough to do anything about it, other than hunt him down and shut him up. He is naive to think the things he does won’t end in a bad way. Lives will be lost, but he cannot help himself. He wants her. He wants to make a difference. He wants to be a good guy. He wants to make a difference.

They kill their own. Psycopaths are turned loose on the innocent. Men turn into animals. The savage violence turns my stomach, pisses me off to no end. Why? What makes them think they are more valuable to the world than the next person? Sometimes I think, do unto others should be done unto them. You reap what you sow. You take a life, you have to give one…yours!

Violence, tragedy, intensity, emotions…The author has lived them and it shows in the story he tells. I don’t read books like House Of Jaguar too often any more. They make me soooo angry, frustrated and disturbed because it seems like we, as a people, never learn and history does repeat itself…over and over again.

The ending….

I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of House Of Jaguar by Mike Bond.

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Non-stop thriller set in Central America with an indestructible hero and a extremely wicked villain. Stark black and white characters with few shades of gray, but the colors of the settings are brilliantly described.
Powerful, emotional story.
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The idea of the novel was good -- a spy-type thriller set in a part of the world that I find interesting.  Add the idea of a jaguar and what was there not to like? The notes said there was a love story and this "love" idea was stretched  thin between one of the main characters and his wife Nancy.

In this case, a lot.  I struggled to follow the story as it seemed to jump from character to character and place to place.  Confusing was the watchword.  I struggled mightily to try to make sense of it but alas it did not work.  I thought the writing was somewhat disjointed and seems to need major editing. 

Started and stopped several times as I thought that surely I had missed something...and maybe I still did but I did not enjoy this at all and have trouble recommending it.  I will point out that I like stories that are a but more my confusion can just be mine.

Maybe I missed it but saw only one reference to a jaguar -- maybe there were others that were somewhat veiled or illusory?  For anyone deciding to read be aware there is a lot of violence. of course Guatemala has been sort of a violent country,  maybe the violence can be overlooked.
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I felt like the words "Trigger Warnings" should be expressively indicated in the description. There was a lot going on in this book and I was surprised to find out a large portion of it is based off of the authors own experiences. If you like intense and brutal Action & Adventure and War novels, then this will be perfect for you. Otherwise, I would read the other more detailed summaries posted before reading this book. 

*I received this e-book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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Bond writes with perfect pitch authority on Guatemala, war , and tragedy. This story gripped me from the beginning. 
Many thanks to Mandevilla Press and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I wasn't able to download and read this book due to a bad flare up of lyme disease. I apologize to Netgalley and the publisher and author.
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House of Jaguar by Mike Bond
The House of Jaguar penned by Mike Bond is a highly intense read with a great deal of drug, stress, and government conspiracies. There are plenty of highs and lows throughout the narrative. Mr. Bond did a masterful job of research, which provided the reader with plenty of background information. 
The characters are relatable, settings and dialogue are realistic.
Some readers may find the book challenging to stick with, but if they do will find the challenge worth it once they reach its conclusion.

Great book for the adventure seeker.
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House of Jaguar by Mike Bond

387 Pages
Publisher: Mandevilla Press
Release Date: November 25, 2013

General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thriller, Action & Adventure, War

Murphy was a helicopter evac medic in Vietnam but now does drug runs to Guatemala. On what was going to be his last flight he is ambushed, and his plane destroyed. He runs through the jungle barefoot and wounded before passing out. When he wakes up, he is in a village being cared for by a family. He becomes part of the village and begins a relationship with the doctor caring for him. What becomes clear to him is that his presence in the village is a danger to them all. The government officials are looking for him and will stop at nothing to find him.

This was the first book by this author I have read outside of the Pono Hawkins series. It was definitely more intense and grittier. It shows the underbelly of cartels and underhanded governments. The story moves at a steady pace and the characters are developed. I enjoy reading books by Mike Bond, but this was a little too graphic for me. There was a lot of violence, rape and murder. If you enjoy guerilla warfare type stories, you will like this one.
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Every book isn't necessarily for every reader and this book clearly wasn't for me. The brutality is one thing, but the main characters choice of actions made them thoroughly unlikeable, and I found myself rooting for something bad to happen to the main character to put him out of his misery and the pain he inflicts on other people. 

The main lead in the story, Joe Murphy should have stopped smuggling marijuana out of Central America while he was ahead. His plane gets attacked while it was on the ground and he barely escaped with his life. During his escape, he witnessed a murder that would he later be blamed for. The CIA has a hand in the running of the Guatemalan government, so they want this supposed killer caught and handed over.. Murphy's injury should have killed him during his escape through the jungle, but if the troops/militia and/or CIA find him, that will be the least of his worries.

I read a lot of thrillers, so I hoped this book to be a good fit for me. It most certainly was not. The descriptions of violence were so gruesomely graphic was hard to stomach, not so much for their nature of them, but because of how they were being told. Also the descriptions of rape were something the author seemed to take particular joy in writing about, which can hardly be the case, yet that it how it felt.
Several characters just appear in a sentence without background, description, or introduction preceding or following which makes it very difficult to connect with or care about them. The plot is not necessarily a bad one, but it could have been executed much better and a conscientious editor could have helped clean up this story
Bottom line, not a success for me.
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House of Jaguar by Mike Bond is a brutal, tense read.  Very engrossing.  Murder, lies, need to say much else.  Excellent.
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Vietnam vet Joe Murphy is earning money by flying to Guatemala to pick up a load of marijuana. But before he can get his plane back in the air, the Guatemalan army attacks, and Murphy flees into the jungle. The pilot, injured and taken in by villagers, evades the army again but watches as they massacre the village. When Murphy makes it back to the States, he goes to the press with his story, but there’s evidently no media interest. A short article, however, is enough to catch the attention of Col. Lyman, who was in Guatemala on a CIA op and who’s been obsessively pursuing Murphy, blaming him for the murder of another CIA insert, Kit Gallagher—a death that Murphy heard while hiding in the jungle. Murphy is now dodging killers, including cops, in his native country, hoping to learn what the CIA was doing in Guatemala and determined to go back for Dona Villalobos, a doctor he fell for during his recovery. Bond’s kinetic novel abounds with intense scenes—Murphy trekking through the spider- and snake-laden forest with a broken arm; Dona and a group of guerrillas raiding an Army base for medicines, a plan that has unexpectedly bloody results. But even without someone running or ducking bullets, characters are rarely given a chance to stop and take a breath. The adept Dona simultaneously tends to Murphy, who’s aggravated his injury, and a pregnant woman who needs a cesarean section. Bond also includes elements of mystery; readers are aware of the CIA’s presence in Guatemala but learn most things right along with the protagonist. The characters are fully limned, though none is more delectably warped than Lyman. His fixation on Murphy borders on psychotic and leads Lyman to enact seriously disturbing deeds. Not surprisingly, the novel ends with a shock, one that might have a few readers gasping.
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This was a little difficult for me to stay focused on the storyline. It tended to drag on at times. It was brutal and a little too real at times. I don’t mind the reality of the story if it had flowed easier. That being said, if you like war time stories, I think you would love this. The ending was the best part. Book provided by NetGalley.
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If you enjoy well-written thrillers that tell the truth about the horrors imperialism, look no further. A depressing but riviting adventure story that pulls no punches going revealing just part of our corrupt government's murderous war crimes in Central America. Sickening but true, the crimes outlined here by our CIA and mafia and cartels, all perpetuated under the guise of stopping communism but really to line the pockets of the same creeps who always benefit from war.

So much blood. And now we want to keep immigrants out? I'm ashamed to be an American.
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This book is full of action from start to finish. If you like a good action paced book with lots of twits and turns this this is the book for you.
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This was an awesome read! I highly recommend it to other readers to enjoy!
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I had a hard time getting into this novel until the very end. I guess I didn’t really understand the plot. Most people out of goodwill would not desert everything (job, way of life, etc.) in order to bring justice to an oppressed people, especially a drug dealer. I wasn’t convinced. Not to mention that Murphy had done his fair share of killing…seems hypocritical to me (and I’m not talking about during Vietnam).

Another thing that bugged me was the audience really doesn’t receive a background on what the House of Jaguar is and how it relates to the title of the book. I found myself looking this information up to give myself a better understanding of the situation.

What I found most lacking in this novel was the relatability of the characters. No one really pulled at my heartstrings, made me fall in love, or had me wishing to be their best friend. I really think that is the make or break of a good story. From experience, I can love a story but hate the protagonist or vice versa (normally I love a side character…weird!). This book just didn’t make me feel like I was there and that is what I look for in an enticing read.

One thing especially made it hard to me to get into the book…the abundance of sex. What purpose did it serve for the plot of the story? And I didn’t feel there was any need to mention orgies. Like what?! I understand telling of rape because, realistically, I’m sure it happened in Guatemala during that time, but I also found it a little unnerving that it was mentioned from the raper’s perspective. That just seemed to take it a little too far for me. Also, I am not a fan at all of infidelity and it just seemed like no one had any respect for their significant other…our gallant Murphy included.

As some of you may know, I am a big supporter of our military. I cannot express how thankful I am for their service and providing me with the rights I have today. I have a hard time with authors, television reporters, or anyone speaking badly about our armed forces. I understand that not everyone who serves is honorable. However, with that said, I do have a problem with reporting when NO military personnel are considered “good” in a story. In House of Jaguar, everyone seemed to have an issue except the Guatemalan natives. I am almost certain that some of the American soldiers were not to blame and I bet that some of the natives were causing issues, as well. I think people today focus more on the bad than the good.

I think some sections of the novel were long-winded and irrelevant to the story. If more focus was put on specific battles and the love between Murphy and Dona, or a little more backstory on some of the other natives of Guatemala experiencing these horrific events, I believe this could become a truly captivating story.
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Having spent my youth in Guatemala during the time this book is set, I had a personal interest in reading this story. 

I wanted to love it. It had much potential, but I didn't. The detailed description of the Mayan jungle was lovely but could've been trimmed. For about 50% of the book, I just wanted to be over. There's just so much one can read about the jungle and every single detail around it. When the story finally picks up it goes too fast leaving many unanswered questions and it suddenly ends. I wish the author would've spent more time on the second part of the book, where all the action happens. 

The characters are interesting, but it was hard for me to really care for anyone. Individually, they all work, but together there is something blurry and missing. Especially about Lyman. Even though the background story resounds true (the DEA's involvement with the military, the massacres, armed soldiers walking around, constant checkpoints), there were some discrepancies that bugged me. Small things, still irritating. There is no fine white sand in the Pacific Ocean in Guatemala, for example. The sand is black and coarse. Volcanic sand, unique to this area. I couldn't focus on what else was happening at the same time because I was annoyed by the inaccuracy of that detail. The author tries to include some Guatemalan words here and there and they are a hit or miss. Gallo beer is just Gallo, not El Gallo. I know I'm being petty, but still. For those who are unaware of those details, they may find the book more enjoyable. It's a good thriller. 

Despite my complaints, the story is compelling and worth reading, if one is interested in historical fiction, and the horrors that happened (some of it still happening) for 30 years in Guatemala. 

I received this copy of House of Jaguar from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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