About the Author
As a student of Australia's founding as a convict settlement, Kev's six novels on that unique history, including the demise of the Aboriginal Dreamtime, are now legendary. He is certainly well qualified to write these intensive histories and visions of people's traumas and courage - Kev is a Past President of the First Fleet Fellowship, Past Secretary of The Descendants of Convicts Inc and for his work during Australia's Bicentenary, was created Honorary Life Member of The Regiment of Redcoat Descendants.
Several biographies of significant people also have come from Kev's busy pen.
Two works have been finalists in the International EPIC Awards and all twenty novels have been awarded by professional reviewers, either 5 Stars or 5+ or 5++ Stars. His two latest, however, received from Conger Book Reviews USA, its first and only 10 Star reviews!!!
All works are available in Paperback or eBook.
Kev is twice married and now enjoys single life, writing on his experiences and studies, relaxing in the Himalayan foothills of exotic Thailand.
Read an Excerpt
It was to be Schiller's busiest day in a long time.
Since his years in Caracas he was unused to busy schedules and the snotty-nosed son of the postmaster delivered the first of his telegrams even before Schiller had finished towelling his backside after his first shit of the day.
It was from Cali.
HURRY TO PUCALLPA AND FIX THE TROUBLES STOP TIME IMPORTANT SO CHARTER AN AEROPLANE STOP RENATO EN-ROUTE THROUGH LETICIA STOP GIVE HIM EVERY ASSISTANCE ... RAMIREZ
And undoubtedly every word was already memorised by the urchin who delivered it.
Schiller swore, startling the Zambosa who slopped coffee over him as she jumped so he punched her full in the mouth, drawing blood.
"Get the fuck out of my sight," he raged.
He then sat steaming for a moment before again erupting, bellowing aloud.
"What the hell can be wrong in Pucallpa that Ramirez knows about when I don't? The fuckin Greek know I don't like surprises."
He screwed up the telegram to hurl at the wall, hate for the Greek in his heart.
"Charter a fuckin aeroplane, Ramirez says, just like that."
Schiller continued to shout despite there was no one to hear.
"Don't Ramirez know there only one aeroplane in all el Amazonas? Don't he know it owned by a fuckin Arab too big for boots, what dance around with an air even a white man don't flaunt? Fly to Pucallpa? No fuckin way, even for Ramirez."
Then he slumped in a chair and held his head.
And what can Renato want?
A sudden streak of fear shot through him. He sat upright now, ashen-faced.
Could Ramirez have found out about the emeralds? No. If that were it he wouldn't be sending Renatofor Renato would be already dead.
A little colour returned.
So what can it be? Coming 'through' Leticia? To Iquitos?
He scratched his head.
Why would Ramirez be sending Renato to Iquitos? Moleno? Can it be something to do with Moleno?
He couldn't believe that Ramirez could have yet heard of Moleno having CS. Moleno was an idiot and could have loudmouthed the fact all over but there was no telephone out of Iquitos, unlike Pucallpa. Pucallpa was on line to Lima so whatever the fuckwit Greek was doing could have got through to Cali by now. But Iquitos?
No, no way news could have got to Cali since the CS went to Moleno despite Ramirez seems to have a jungle-drum line leading from every corner of the world into his very ear'ole. So it something else to do with Moleno. Or nothing to do with Moleno.
Schiller hated not knowing what was going on, being left in the dark.
Why can't Ramirez add just few more words, say why Renato come? And what is trouble in Pucallpa so serious I got to get there quick, eh? Could Zarbos be dead? Should be, the no-good, greasy carbon--fat enough for seven or eight heart attacks.
He paced the room again.
Send telegram. That's it, telegram to el Asesino to ask what trouble. If he dead, Post Office will answer back.
He sat down with the stub of a pencil to compose a telegram, not an easy task for Schiller. In fact he agonised for twenty minutes before having something that made sense without confusing issues, one that left out all the usual rubbish people go on with. It went straight to the guts of the matter.
WHAT TROUBLES YOU GOT ... SCHILLER
It was raining again as it usually was when he was in a bad mood so he got thoroughly drenched walking to the Post Office, all the way wondering about Renato's visit. It bugged him not knowing. Maybe he should send a telegram to Cali too, ask Ramirez why Renato?
No. Ramirez then wonder why I think it important--jump to conclusion I got something to hide.
Last thing Schiller wanted was doubt in Ramirez' mind about his work.
He sent his telegram to Zarbos and splashed his way home to wait.
And while he waited, he worried.
He wasn't a born pessimist, it was just that all his life he had lived on the edge of risk and had learnt to watch his back as well as his front. It was in the back people in his walk of life usually got their nasty surprises so if one were to be successful he had to keep a step ahead of another's decision to stick a knife between shoulder blades. And had that been Renato's assignment, Ramirez wouldn't have sent even a hint.
So I just got to wait and worry.
A few hours later his reply came.
NO TROUBLES IF YOU SEND MONEY QUICK ... ZARBOS
"Fuck the man," Schiller roared and the Zambosa ran for her life.
"Don't he know how to tell me what's goin' on? No fuckin troubles he says, just send money. Jesus Christ, the man's a fuckwit. Why can't he tell me what his troubles?
How much money the Greek want, eh? Why he not keep enough to look after simple transfer boat to road, eh?
Schiller stomped about the room. In the normal course he wouldn't trust his own money to Zarbos any more than Zarbos would to him.
But I paymaster! Money no risk; I just freeze wages until all paid back with interest.
What the money was for he couldn't imagine yet it made sense that it should be substantial or surely the fuckwit could cover it himself instead of things getting to a stage where even Ramirez got to hear about it.
Three months salary should cover even serious trouble. But telegraph it? Every greedy ear in Leticia would soon know.
Then his devious mind struck on a clever plan to kill two birds with one stone.
Hire Arab. He get it to Zarbos quick. And if problem later I can blame Zarbos. I only do what he ask.
He sat back again, his mind running over the ramifications, looking for loopholes, making sure he'd plugged the gaps so that if fingers were pointed he would stay squeaky clean. He scratched his head again, missing his old panama, the pushing it up every time he wanted to scratch. Without it the ritual was spoiled, less satisfying. But it would turn up one day.
He sloshed his way back to the bank and from there to the Residencia Camira...
Only person in sight is fuckin padre on verandah writing what likely a boring fuckin sermon.
"I'm lookin' for the Arab."
The padre closed his eyes a moment.
"I'm afraid Brogan is not here, Señor Schiller. He is off on business."
Schiller offered not even a word of thanks nor any more of a farewell than he offered greeting. He stalked off through the mud to Bridie's Bar.
"I'm lookin' for the Arab."
"Would it be Brogan I wonder could you be meanin', Mr. Schiller?"
"Course it would, woman. When he back, eh?"
"If it's to Manaus he's gone then three or four days. If it's Cruzeiro do Sul I've no idea. And maybe it depends how many lucky senoritas he meets along the way."
"Well I got job for him."
"Then I'll tell him when I see him."
Schiller squelched his way home but at the steps to the Hospedaje he stopped. Something caught his eye. Litter lying about was nothing unusual and in the normal course, tin cans, scraps of paper and abandoned beer bottles were things Schiller never noticed. Yet like pins to a magnet his uncanny senses were always drawn to what was clandestine, dishonest, recondite or furtive.
A telegram envelope lay in the mud, soggy and red.
As soon as he touched it he knew there was something in it and a quick look told him it was still sealed. It was addressed to Carlos Cordova at Residencia Camira, obviously dropped by the snotty-nosed kid when delivering Schiller's wire.
A quick look about satisfied him that no one saw him pick it up. He hurried indoors and quickly pried it open before snotty-nose retraced his steps looking for it.
MOLENO FELL AT A HURDLE AND BROKE HIS NECK STOP BURIED TODAY ... ARMANDO ALTONA
"Shit." Schiller had lost a market before it even developed.
He started calculating how many pesos he would lose, pesos he'd planned to gain playing Moleno against Noriega.
His then quickly put the telegram back where he found it for the urchin would no doubt be back once the rain stopped. Then as he screwed the heel of his boot into the mud, pushing it half under as he found it, inspiration struck.
With Moleno gone, Iquitos was up for grabs, a market sitting, waiting for someone to take over, pick up where the slob left off. And with Moleno such a whelp at anything clever meant it could even show more profit.
He would go now, stake his claim, let locals see he was taking over. He would tell everyone that he had been Moleno's partner which would give him prior claim should someone else emerge. And something to sell if someone the size of Noriega wanted in, someone too big for him to take on alone.
But it was four days upstream for freighters this time of year. And a launch wasn't up to that sort of journey.
Arab should be back soon, I'll fly with him. He takes the Zarbos money to Pucallpa so he got to refuel at Iquitos anyway.
Flying with the Arab suddenly acquired less of a stigma, for this was an emergency.
He sat on a step scratching his head again, still missing his old panama.