Night of the Jaguarby Michael Gruber
Retired Miami Homicide Detective Jimmy Paz has put the darkness behind him. But now he, his wife, and their young daughter are being haunted by terrifying dreams. And when affluent Miami businessmen begin dying gruesomely in their fortress-like homes—with the footprints of a giant jungle cat found at the crime scenes—Paz has no choice but to get… See more details below
Retired Miami Homicide Detective Jimmy Paz has put the darkness behind him. But now he, his wife, and their young daughter are being haunted by terrifying dreams. And when affluent Miami businessmen begin dying gruesomely in their fortress-like homes—with the footprints of a giant jungle cat found at the crime scenes—Paz has no choice but to get involved, because what he loves most may be the next thing devoured.
From the acclaimed author of Tropic of Night, Valley of Bones, The Book of Air and Shadows, and The Forgery of Venus comes the final book in his masterful Jimmy Paz series, hailed by the Washington Post as a "miracle of intelligent fiction . . . among the essential novels of recent years."
- HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.93(d)
Read an Excerpt
Night of the JaguarA Novel
By Michael Gruber
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2006 Michael Gruber
All right reserved.
Jimmy Paz sits up in his bed, folding from the waist like a jackknife with his heart thumping so hard he can almost hear it over the whine of the air-conditioning. A moment of disorientation here: the dream has been so vivid. But he looks about him and accepts that he is in his bedroom in his house in South Miami, Florida; he can make out the familiar shapes in the real glow from the digital clock and the paler beams of moonlight slipping through the blinds, and he can feel the warm loom of his wife's body beside him. The clock tells him it is three-ten in the morning.
Paz has not had a dream like this in seven years, but back then he used to have them all the time. There are families that take dreams seriously, that discuss them around the breakfast table, but the Paz family is not one of them, although the mother of the family is a psychiatrist in training. Paz lies back on his pillow and considers the dream he has just had, which was the sort in which the dreamer has Godlike perspective, floating over some scene and watching the players perform. He recalls something about a murder, someone has been shot in the middle of a village somewhere, and Paz and . . . Someone, some vast presence next to him,God or some powerful figure, is watching as the men who have shot the . . . Paz can't recall, but it is someone of significance . . . as the killers escape into a forest of tall trees, and these men, to ease their passage through the forest are . . . exploding the trees, touching them and making them disappear into red dust. The area through which they have passed is reduced to a rusty desert, and the dream carries a feeling of deep sadness and outrage about all this.
The killers are fleeing from a single man dressed in rough animal skins, like John the Baptist. He shoots at them with a bow and arrow, and they fall one by one, but it also seems as if their numbers do not decrease. Paz asks the Someone what this all means and in the dream gets an answer, but now he can't recall what it was. There's a sense of a vast intelligence there, both ferocious and calm . . .
Paz shakes his head violently, as if to make the scraps of dream-life go away, and at this motion his wife murmurs and stirs. He makes himself relax. This is not supposed to happen to him anymore, meaningful dreams. He has devoted the past seven years to expunging the memory of his previous life, when he was a police detective, during which career certain things happened to him that could not have happened in a rational world, and he has nearly convinced himself that they did not in fact occur, that in fact there are no saints or demons playing incomprehensible games in the unseen world, but that if such games did exist, as many believe, they would not involve Jimmy Paz as a player. Or pawn.
Now the dream is fading; he encourages this, he wills forgetfulness. He has already forgotten that the skin-clad man with the bow had his own brown face. He has forgotten the part about his daughter, Amelia. He has forgotten the cat.
They shot the priest on a Sunday in the plaza of San Pedro Casivare just after mass, which he had just said because the regular priest was ill and because he volunteered to do it. He had not said mass for a congregation of believers in a long time, years. The priest lay there for some minutes; none of the townspeople wanted to touch him, because of the trouble he'd made and because the gunmen were still there leaning against their car, watching the people with interest and smoking cigars. The people stood in silent groups; above, on the rooftops, hopeful black vultures flapped and shoved. The day was hot and there was no breeze, so a few minutes before noon, the gunmen mounted their vehicle and drove away for some shade and a drink. As soon as they left, a group of Indians, six or seven of them, appeared as if from nowhere and carried him off in a blue blanket, down the street to the riverside, the path they took traced by drops of blood in the pale dust. At the edge of the wide brown water they laid him tenderly in a long dugout canoe, and paddled away, upriver toward the Puxto.
He didn't learn of the shooting until two days later, although he dreamed of white birds and so knew that someone's death was at hand. And he had seen the death of someone walking through the night, toward the river, and he knew from the look of it that it was not the death of a Speaker of Language, a Runiya, but of a wai'ichura. So he knew who the person was, for there was only one of these in the village. The man was alone in his little compound, lying in his hammock, inhabiting the light trance that was his usual state of being, when he heard the rattles sound. Slowly, and not without reluctance, he gathered the scattered fingers of his being back into his body, back into the daily, leaving the timeless life of the plants and animals, becoming again a human person, Moie.
Standing now, he washed his face at a clay basin and carefully spilled the water on the ground outside the house, stirring the mud with his toe, so that no enemy could seize on the dregs of his reflected face to do him harm. He took a drink of cool chicha beer from the clay pot, using a gourd. The rattlings continued.
Excerpted from Night of the Jaguar by Michael Gruber Copyright © 2006 by Michael Gruber. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Meet the Author
New York Times bestselling author Michael Gruber is the author of five acclaimed novels. He lives in Seattle.
- Seattle, Washington
- Date of Birth:
- October 1, 1940
- Place of Birth:
- New York, New York
- B.A., Columbia University, 1961; Ph.D., University of Miami, 1973
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >
Michael Gruber's excellent new novel, Night of the Jaguar, provides a satisfying read for devotees of his work. The author has settled into a what he does best--creating engaging, articulate characters who have something interesting to say about the mundane (hauling children to and from school, say, or relations with mothers-in-law) and the existential (the possibility of a man turning into a jaguar). Gruber does the impossible: he makes a decent argument for shapeshifting. Moie, an indigenous person from the South American jungle, makes his way to Miami to stop the destruction of his patch of the rain forest by a conscienceless American company. He connects with a small group of Americans fighting to protect the rainforest and--eventually--with Jimmy Paz, former Miami detective and current chef at his mama's Cuban restaurant. How does Moie's story interact with Jimmy's, his daughter Amelia's, Jimmy's father's, a British scientist's, and a former foster child's? Who is murdering the wealthy Cuban businessmen who conspired to cut down Moie's rainforest home? You'll stay up until four in the morning to find out.
Before the dead priest, murdered in a gangland slaying, can go to the spirit realm, he speaks to the shaman Moie, a member of the Runiya tribe in the Amazonian Rain Forest. He tells Moie that a group of Cuban-Americans in Miami are planning to cut down the trees in the government protected Puxto Preserve, which will yield to them millions in mahogany wood.---- - Moie travels to Miami with Jaguar, one of the gods who will help him with his quest to prevent the destruction. Two men died with Jaguar¿s claw marks scratched on their front doors. Another man survived his experience with Jaguar. The police are baffled and ask former cop Jimmy Paz to help because he has experience with ¿weird¿ cases. He wants to decline because he fears acceptance could place his daughter in danger from the jaguar as they have dreamed of him. However, Jimmy realizes he must join the fray otherwise his daughter will be in danger from Jaguar though he knows he must confront deadly humans, a shaman and a lethal god.----- NIGHT OF THE JAGUAR is a supernatural thriller that will have readers on the edge of their seats wondering what happens next. The audience will also ponder whether Jaguar is a god, an alter ego of Moie, a shapeshifter, or something else. There is plenty of action but not at the cost of character development as the key players, Moie, Jaguar and Jimmy are fully developed and very complex. The support cast enhances either the action or the lead triangle. Readers will want additional Paz thrillers from Michael Gruber.---- Harriet Klausner
Lighter than the other Jimmy Paz books but still great. I loved this book & so did everyone I gave a copy too.
I'm loving it!