Author: Peter Kelton
Book title: Heather and the Jabberwocky
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publish date: April 7, 2020
Heather and the Jabberwocky – An Amorous Journey into the Mythical Antiquity of Now
A vengeful stalker tracks lovely Heather mercilessly from Hong Kong to France to Georgia as her artist husband fends off a Mexican drug cartel’s attempts to disrupt their tranquil academic lives. It’s an intelligent fantasy, a daunting mystery and a tantalizing adventure in literary fiction.
Unlike the “literary fiction” of old, the author strips away all “highbrow” pretentiousness; creating intelligent, real characters if somewhat “extraordinary, eccentric and bizarre,” as in his earlier novels. In this tale of international intrigue, there’s no room for the hoity-toity.
All hope for Heather depends on the Jabberwocky, a nonsense poem written by Lewis Carroll. When Alice of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland reads the poem, she says, “Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas — only I don’t exactly know what they are.” Heather escapes the Caribbean monster Lusca only to rise to the heights of an Aztec sacrificial pyramid. In her desperation she discovers unfathomable ideas from her mind. They aren’t understood until made visual by her artist husband. Or is that another illusion from behind the looking glass? As with Alice, everything mirrors everything.
The Strait of Messina governs our lives. Only here can Heather renew her spirits with the wizened Dr. Elio Musco. He lured her to swim the strait decades ago and that endeavor changed our lives forever. She’s quite a normal person but requires fine tuning. Musco specializes in the field of neuropsychiatry. He studies the relationship between behavior, emotion and cognition as it relates to brain function. Heather isn’t crazy. It’s just that the good doctor first swam the strait at 49 and has since done so 23 times.
“She benefits, that’s what counts.”
Our saga to the sea began when Heather bashed open the bleached blond head of Enrique Cortez at a 7-11 store in Atlanta, Georgia with a giant bottle of Pepsi. Psychiatrists for the state ruled her incompetent to stand trial and the woman judge, a real cracker, committed her to Georgia Regional Hospital in Savannah for killing Mister Cortez, a drug dealer.
Then Heather stopped taking her pills. Dr. Musco treats patients by having them swim across the water to Sicily, just a couple miles, but the currents are tricky. The challenges experienced with deep-water swimming include controlling oneself from the temptation to stop. Looking down into an unending blackness can be unnerving. To coalesce with the water and the currents, brings about a sense of security, which can free up an energy that bolsters the swimmer to extend physical limits. Now she’s on her fifth crossing today and has gone beyond my vision. Musco swims beside her. I’m halfway up the road to the castle. I hope to spot Heather from the higher elevation. There’s a lot of boat traffic today. But numerous Mafioso attempts to kidnap old Musco faded away some years ago. We keep the 7-11 incident blocked out, behind a waterfall as Heather prefers to call it, all fairly tranquil except for that letter from the brother of the late Enrique Cortez.
For 20 years Herman Cortez has penned vengeful threats to Heather and me. Herman has been confined to the federal prison in Atlanta after being convicted on drug charges and sentenced to 20 years. Herman and Enrique are relatives in Guadalajara’s powerful Valencia family. The family controls the Tierra Caliente region of southern Mexico, the Cartel de JaliscoNueva Generacion (CJNG), the most powerful of organized criminal groups, and it is also the most aggressive and expansive of the Mexican cartels. Through my binoculars I see them as little spots, near the Sicilian shore. They’ve made it. Dr. Elio Musco readily places both hands on Heather’s bottom to help her up into a waiting speedboat. Then men in the boat use oars to push Musco away. The boat suddenly speeds away in a crescent, turning south toward Malta.
Peter Kelton has always written fiction when he’s between news jobs and has written for some of the world’s largest news organizations. Most of his work has been in New York. He has critiqued more than 450 novels in a national column and has written seven novels of his own in a unique erudite literary style of adventure, mystery, suspense and satire. He grew up in Texas, served overseas in the US Army and returned to Europe as a foreign correspondent. He currently divides his time between his homes in St. Louis, MO and Querétaro, Mexico. He has ghost written for more than 100 clients and is a top-rated writer for the Upwork Global Inc. free-lance agency.