Title: House of Jaguar
Author: Mike Bond
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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.