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'Fevers' by Joel Homer:Publisher-ebook: Zac Homer, (April 20, 2014)
Category: Action/Adventure, Suspense/Thriller, Some Romance
Tour Date: May/June, 2015
Available in: Print & ebook, 261 Pages
FEVERS is a novel unlike any you have ever read. Exotic adventure, white knuckled suspense, torrid romance, and a haunting portrait of three damaged individuals – one man who has turned beast, one who must confront the beast within himself, and the woman torn between them. Rio de Janeiro. 1984. There are rumors that somewhere deep in the steamy rainforest of the Amazon a man, once civilized, is hiding in green shadows. To the primitive Brazilian Indios, he is considered their long-awaited "pale-skinned messiah." Others believe he is an evil god with powers to stir the native masses to a frenzied, killing pitch. And others suspect he might be Michael Fevers. Into the lush tropics comes a troubled American, rebellious journalist, embittered Vietnam vet, desperate soldier of fortune. William Straw, who soon forms an uneasy alliance with a beautiful anthropologist, continues his tortured upriver journey-from jungle shantytown to opulent plantation, from explosive passion to brutal murder. Whether he is pursuing a story, an adventure, or a chance to finally exorcise his own inner demons, nothing will prepare William Straw for the sudden violence and bizarre cruelty of the one who is waiting ahead -- Michael Fevers.
Praise for 'Fevers' by Joel Homer:"Very engrossing novel. It felt a bit like reading a modern version of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The plot moves quickly and smoothly. The excitement never ends."- Gerald Loev, Amazon Reviewer
Joel Homer passed away in 2003 at the age of 58.
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It was nearly dawn, and the world was wreathed in mist.
Even though it was unlikely the smiling policeman’s corpse would have been discovered yet, he didn’t want to take any unnecessary chances. He squandered a precious quarter-hour reconnoitering the streets and squares adjacent to his hotel, and only when he was absolutely certain the area was empty did he venture to cross it. The hotel lobby was empty as well. He reached his room unnoticed. He shredded all the notes kept in the leather folder. He stuffed a few of his belongings in a canvas duffel bag. Shaving gear. A change of clothes. The black .45 Colt automatic. And, after a moment’s pause, the photograph of Michael Fevers.
Nobody saw him leave the hotel. The American crewman Tommy Hicks was waiting for him on the path leading out of town. “You travel light,” he said.
“Yeah,” said Straw. “I’m a monk.”
“I knew a Buddhist monk once. I had to shoot him in the belly. Didn’t kill him, though. Hard to kill monks. They got a power in them. They got it from God. You believe in God?”
“I believe in God, I mean, we gotta blame someone, right?” A shape loomed up on the path just ahead. They could hear the pant of its breath. “Did you know,” asked Tommy, “that God spelled backwards is dog?”
The dog emerged from the river-borne mist. It was big and mangy, scrubby and black. Its tail was hairless, a squalid pink. Its eyes were red and swollen. Strings of foamy drool hung from its jaws. It was walking slowly, head down, muzzle almost touching the ground, and it was staggering every few steps it took, and it was staggering toward the men.
“I love dogs,” Tommy said.
Straw was swiftly calculating his chances of reaching the .45 in the duffel bag before the dog reached him. Not good. Better, he decided, to stand still and not draw its attention.
“Here, pooch,” Tommy said, kneeling on the ground and holding out his hand. “Nice pooch.”
The dog growled deep in its throat, made a small circle around the men, and continued to stagger down the road toward Xueloc.
“Weird country,” Tommy said. “Any other country all the dogs are crazy about me.”
“The dog was rabid,” Straw said. It had been a long bad night, and he was suddenly very weary.
“Bullshit.” Tommy rose to his feet. “Ain’t nothing wrong with pooch. You think I’d pet a mad fucking pooch? You think I’m crazy?”
“No,” Straw said. “I don’t think you’re crazy.”
“All right then,” Tommy said.
They resumed their walk in silence. The road dipped, then curved outward, and the river and the rotting wharf and the Pata de Gato were directly ahead. Hicks sat down on a broad flat rock.
Straw sat down next to him.
Tommy gave him a cigarette, took one for himself, and lit them both with an old-fashioned zinc-plated Zippo.
“Where you from?” Tommy asked.
“No shit? A cowboy? Fucking outstanding, pardner. That’s a good moniker—pardner. Pard. Howdy, pard. I’m from Nebraska myself. ’Course that was a time ago. Maybe a million years. Lots of road between then and now.”
“When were you in Vietnam?” Straw asked.
“Hey,” said Tommy. “Hey now. Should’ve guessed. You were what, a captain, right?”
“Me, I never even made E-4. Mickey Mouse outfit. The Delta. Paddy patrol.”
“I was in recon. The Central Highlands.”
“So you musta saw some stuff.”
“Yeah. I saw some stuff.”
“So we’re blood brothers, am I right? Washed in the blood of ‘Nam. Whooo!” shouted Tommy Hicks. “The good old days! This is gonna make for an important difference in our relationship,” he said. “I mean, I gotta tell you, pard, I had you pegged for trouble. Most people, I dunno, they always want to fuck with me.”
“I won’t fuck with you,” Straw said.
“Fucking blood brothers, number one,” said Hicks. “Things beginning to look up on this weird cruise. That deacon’s something, ain’t he? Looks like one of those old-timey judges that fried witches.”
“What’s a man like that doing out here?”
“The fuck knows, pard. I been aboard since we first set out from Macapo. That was damn near two weeks ago, and all I learned about the Deacon and his fucking expedition you can fit into the brainpan of a first lieutenant. No offense, pard.”
“None taken, Tommy.”
“Yeah, you can call me Tommy. Want another smoke?” Hicks lit two more cigarettes. “All I can tell you is what I learned from life. Nothing’s ever really normal. Take that tub. The Pata de Gato. It looks like a tub, right? Fat ass old river-boat. No juice. No class. Tell the truth now, pard. You think she’s a tub, right?”
“Well, she ain’t. I’ve seen the power in her, and we’re talking power, pard. Two big Wescott engines like they use on the Coast Guard cutters. And, dig it, pard, there’s heavy artillery. They got them a Browning .50 caliber machine gun mounted under the tarp on the starboard dinghy. Fifty caliber! You can chop down the jungle with it.”
“How do you get past the river patrols?”
“We don’t. We been boarded three times so far. The Deacon’s smooth. I’ll give the weird bastard that. Smooth as baby sister’s pussy. He lays on some bullshit about being some field prospector for some minerals company. Cops don’t take it seriously. They take his money seriously, though. And he flashes some heavy-duty credentials, too. No one’s searched us yet.”
“What do you think, Tommy?”
“The deacon? Who the fuck knows. The Captain? His name’s Ursosi. I call him Bear. Old pirate, Bear. Don’t mess with him, he don’t mess with you. Juan? That’s the other hand. Juan’s great. Cooks up a storm, does his share of the work, and won’t bend your ears with a lot of stupid conversation. The Ice Queen? Forget it, pard. She’s one cold bitch.”
“Wait a minute. There’s a woman aboard?”
“Good-looking, too. Tall, cool blonde. She spends most of her time hiding out in the forward cabin. You like that, do you? You like the pussy? I can take it or leave it.”
“Isn’t there more crew?”
“There used to be Pedro. You wouldn’t know about Pedro. A real smart ass. He was always fucking with me. You’re his replacement.”
“What happened to him?”
“He died. It wasn’t no surprise. Pedro was always fucking with me.” Tommy Hicks stood up. He was young and strong and very trim in his faded but freshly laundered work clothes. His face could sell cornflakes. Blond crewcut, warm, open smile, eyes a guileless blue. “Seeing as we’re gonna be friends, I have to let you know up front,” he said. “I’m one spooky motherfucker.”
This was a difficult book to read. The underlying uncomfortable truth that is brought to light in the story is one that everyone should know about, but no one really wants to know about. It is an uncomfortable reminder of the brutalities in our shared past and the underlying violence that mankind is capable of perpetrating. So it was difficult to read.
However, everyone should read something uncomfortable that makes them think on a regular basis. That said, this is not the book for everyone. It has many uncomfortable scenes and ideas. Those who can look at the brutality of people and learn from it will get something from this book. But don’t look for a quick easy read because this book will pull at your heart and make you contemplate uncomfortable ideas.
I give this book 3 out of 5 clouds.
This product or book may have been distributed for review; this in no way affects my opinions or reviews.