Author: Peter Kelton
Book title: The Trevor Truculence
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publish date: March 12, 2019
This novel thrust an ancient Spanish fishing village that dates from the Phoenician era about 800 BC suddenly into the modern world as foreigners disrupt traditions and import radical change. Conflict arises when an American writer (Paul) returns to the village after a10-year absence to fall in love with a former neighbor, Gerda. Together they investigate a conspiracy led by Gerda’s former lover Trevor, a British adventurer, to exploit a hidden treasure of rhino horns buried deep in a cave thousands of years ago by Phoenicians who slaughtered the white rhinos in the Congo.
Trevor is obsessed by the rhino horns’ aphrodisiac qualities and has linked it to the sexual performance of the African bonobo monkey and the sterling good health of the villagers. Paul and Gerda discover in Trevor’s endeavors a complex tale of literary fiction, adventure, mystery, suspense, myth, romance and Spanish history unlike any other ever written.
My eyes see her flushed face, her twinkling olive eyes. I am just close enough in the cobbled street to sense her fragrance as she blossoms from a darkened wood door set in a dazzling white wall.
Yes, I was close enough to sense that unmistakable, insidious odor of love made fast and furiously. Was Ghee Hassin behind the door? I imagined him rising, washing, smoking a black Celta, pouring a glass of red wine, stroking his tangled reddish beard, finding her earring there.
She steals away. It has become a custom here in this small village. I do not follow. We live and let live, for we are all foreigners and up to our ears in intrigues in a foreign land. Her name is Jagata, young wife of the Chilean author. They are new arrivals. Jagata wears a full ruffled skirt of the flamenco style but patterned after the cuando. I watch her ruffle down the cobblestone lane and vanish around a corner. Her scent lingers. Their story; she flung herself off the stage of the Chilean national ballet into his arms and they eloped. Politics in Chile are brutal, his father big on it, her father in the opposite camp — time to get out of Santiago de Chile.
This incestuous village rises gradually from the Mediterranean, whiter than any postcard photograph. Its most recent inhabitants are Spanish, having reclaimed it when the Moors left 500 years ago. Hassin may be the only Arab here, but he’s legally French.
Today is special. My wife Evelyn carries a dead fetus. I am to tell her at four o’clock, after her nap. The doctor, his name is Ricardo; he listened and found no life signs or sounds. As the village retreats from the sea, it moves inland up the approaches to the mountains that rise between the sea and Granada. There’s a spring several miles up a narrow mule trail. It’s the source of water for the village.
Night lingers into dawn. Manuel, my landlord, guides his mule away from the house — clop, clop, and clop. The smell of mule shit wafts everywhere. Evelyn still sleeps upstairs in our apartment, above Manuel’s wife and lovely daughter, Carmina. I haven’t told Evelyn yet. Bad news waits. Here we say, if you can put off till day-after-tomorrow what you could do tomorrow, well, do it.
We are going to picnic at the spring, perhaps 30 villagers. It’s their annual celebration of the end of the Spanish Civil War. They honor the fallen thusly. No foreigner has ever been invited until now. Why me? Simple, I have fathered a child in Manuel’s house. I am now a villager. They honor me beside the fallen. I know that I am honored to be here.
Peter Kelton writes 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. 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.