2011 – The Bell Tolled 50 Years Ago

Okay. I’ve started, stopped, (paused) started, stopped and started again. Now for the pay-off. I began Shades of Hemingway several years ago and then wrote two sequels and promised a third. After some delays… here it is.

Almost.

Before I commit the next few months to putting the final chapters online I wanted to do a recap.  So, if you are new here and don’t want to review the archives… cool, the recap may suffice.  If you came on board from the beginning… cool, the recap will refresh your memory.  If you came on board from the beginning and remember the story and its sequels… cool.  Tune in next time for the concluding chapters.

2011 marks the 50th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s death.  While Shades of Hemingway, Medium Exposure and Deja’ Voodoo are works of fiction I tried to remain true to the image of the man.   I hope you will agree that these stories all or in part convey the spirit of one of America’s greatest authors.

~ 

Summoned by The Shades of Hemingway; Chris Fiore, a tourist in the Florida Keys, turns amateur sleuth as he sets out to expose the killer of a Key West policeman. Drawn into Cuba by an ancient voodoo ritual that eventually links to Ernest Hemingway’s past, will the bell toll for Chris as well?
 

While vacationing with friends, Chris meets the shades of Hemingway in Key West.  Originally enticed by Hem who wants to be Chris’ ghostwriter for a supposed Hemingway revival, he is later recruited to expose the killer of Robert Jordan.  Chris is continually visited by each of the shades at different intervals of his quest to help guide and encourage him.  Eventually he goes to Cuba to rescue Brett Jordan and learns of his friend Keith’s involvement in human trafficking.
 
 
 Excerpt from the story…*

“You’ll have some big shoes to fill usin’ that, Sport. I wonder if you’re up to the task?”

I looked up to the entrance to the study, and only then did I see another door off in the corner leading to a small bathroom. In the open door, a man of about 40 stood there, drying his hands on a towel. He was dark haired, mustached and stocky wearing a silky-looking bathrobe over pajamas and dark leather slippers. He smiled at me as I gulped down my wildly beating heart.

“I’m sorry,” I stammered, then hopefully asked, “are you part of the tour?”

The man laughed; a hearty, belly shaking laugh. “Part of the tour, you ask? Why, Sport, I AM the tour!”

I was at least ten feet from the entrance to the carriage house study, but I bounded out the door in two steps. Down the iron staircase I stumbled, and out into the back yard I ran like a scalded dog. Only after taking several steps did I realize I was not being chased. I stopped to turn around and looked back at the doorway leading to Hemingway’s chambers.

There was no one there.*

~

HEM, Hemingway at middle age and the most predominant of the shades.

Hem originally contacts Chris and sets him out on his adventure. Hem has all the vitality and vigor of Ernest Hemingway at the prime of his life and celebrity. He is the most ambitious and has the strongest influence of the three shades. Hem is the adventurer and the catalyst behind Chris’ search.

PAPA, Hemingway in his later years.

Papa is the more reflective and subdued of the three shades. He is the voice of reason and appears to reassure Chris during times of difficulty or to impart wisdom.

~

Excerpt from the story…*

“I dreamt again last night, Papa. I dreamt I was back at Sloppy Joe’s with Hem and he was telling me I had to expose Officer Jordan’s killer.”

“Yes, I know, Chris. Jordan’s spirit is in a state of flux, caught between the living and the dead. Your arrival came at an opportune time, giving him a chance to rest in peace.”

“But doesn’t he know who did it? Wouldn’t it be simpler just to have him appear before the authorities and tell them?”

“Simpler, yes, but not possible… that ability is sort of ‘out of bounds’ for us.”

“Why not? He knows who did him in, doesn’t he?”

“Yes, he does. But we are not empowered to speak about certain things.” *

~

RING LARDNER, JR., the youngest Hemingway.

Ring is the unblemished and moral one, the idealistic teenaged Hemingway who went to war. He has the strength and virtue of character that Chris needs when his own courage fails him.

~

Excerpt from the story…*

Ring looks over at me. His eyes seem vacant and lost, he is a young man far from home having just witnessed first hand the spectacle and barbarian tactics of war. But his voice is strong. He calls to me.

“Wake up, Chris.”

“What? I am awake!”

“No, Chris… you’re not. Wake up this instant.”

“I’m awake! Ring; I see you, I can hear you… my eyes are wide open! The guy next to me needs a cigarette!”

I look back over at “the smoker” but he is flat on his back and out of it. I look back at Ring and shrug.

“She is still alive, Chris. She is still alive and she needs your help. Wake up, Chris… rescue her. You’re not too late…”

I turn away from Ring Lardner, Jr. and look up and down at the rows of hospital beds. Now they are all empty, even “the smoker’s” bed is vacant. My mind is racing. I can sense my body detaching, a booster rocket falling away into space… am I dying?*

~

KEITH, Chris’ friend who turns out to be the manipulative villain.

Keith is the reason Chris originally goes to Key West. On the surface, Keith is a happy-go-lucky guy with an import/export business. In reality, Keith is involved with human trafficking and becomes Chris’ adversary.

BRETT JORDAN, a Key West detective, is the former wife of Jake Barnes and the sister of Robert Jordan. Brett is unaware that she is a spirit medium for her dead brother and when she disappears, Chris’ infatuation with Brett leads him to Cuba in an attempt to rescue her.

JAKE BARNES, a Key West detective and Brett’s former husband. Jake has been investigating the smuggling of Cuban refugees into the Florida Keys in co-operation with the Cuban government. Keith’s kidnaping of rich Americans and holding them for ransom in Cuba has further strained the relations between the authorities. Jake eventually becomes Chris’ ally.

NATY REVUELTA, a Cuban refugee who has returned to Cuba to assist in the raising of her dead sister’s children. Naty’s family finds Chris after he has been beaten and left for dead shortly after his arrival in Cuba. Naty and her sister had a conflicting relationship with Keith, which led to her sister’s suicide.

ROBERT JORDAN, Key West policeman who is killed in his rookie year. He is the younger brother of Brett Jordan. His death has disrupted the spirit realm and causes the shades to recruit Chris to expose his killer.

“MANOLO” SGT. GARCIA, Cuban policeman who has been working with Jake Barnes. He takes Chris to Cuba when Brett turns up missing.

LORD CRISTOBAL, Cuban voodoo priest who has ties with Keith’s import/export business. Keith has used his connections with Lord Cristobal to expand into the ransoming of Americans.

LAURA, Keith’s wife. She is friends with Rachel and accompanies Keith when he invites Chris and Rachel to go to the Keys. Laura is unaware of Keith’s illegal activities.

RACHEL, Chris’ girlfriend in the first book. Rachel and Laura have a professional relationship which encouraged the friendship between Chris and Keith.

~

Excerpt from the story…*

“Let me get this straight. You say all that talk about me writing for you and making the world remember you and keeping the Hemingway name relevant was just a ruse?’

Hem is more interested in the women, he doesn’t bother to address me directly but is smiling and encouraging them. “In a manner of speaking, yes. Jordan needs you now, more than we do.”

“I know nothing about Officer Jordan other than he was killed in the line of duty.”

“And that is precisely the point. Jordan needs to have his killer brought to justice.”

Now it begins to sink in.

“Wait a minute! You want me to find whoever is responsible for Jordan’s death? I’m no detective!”

Hem abruptly dismisses the women who in turn look at me with dejected contempt. Hem reaches for his shot glass, downs its contents with a single gulp, then returns it in favor of a tall beer chaser, which he thirstily swigs until it is half empty. The phantom bartender instantly appears to refill the shot glass and replenish the beer. Hem pauses for a moment, fingers the little condensation ring formed by the beer glass then again faces me.

“You don’t understand, Sport. We don’t want you to find Jordan’s killer, we want you to expose Jordan’s killer. *

~

There are four books in the series:

In Shades of Hemingway, Chris and Rachel go with Keith and Laura to Key West where Chris first meets Hem, Papa and Ring Lardner, Jr. Hem convinces Chris that the shades need him to act as a ghostwriter in order to represent them for a Hemingway revival, so initially Chris agrees. Chris meets Key West policeman, Robert Jordan, who directs him to the Green Parrot as an “off the beaten path” local bar. While there, Chris gains the attention of several shady characters but remains unaffected by their presence. Later, discovering a conflict between the shades, Chris decides fame and fortune is not worth compromising his principles for and rejects Hem’s offer to make him a writer. Chris returns an artifact he “borrowed” from the Hemingway Estate, thinking that would rid him of the shades. Unfortunately, Chris is caught, put in jail, but then released when he agrees to stay away from the Estate and return for a court appearance. It is while he is leaving the jail with his friends that Chris discovers Robert Jordan was actually a ghost.

In Medium Exposure, Chris returns alone for his court appearance, after breaking up with Rachel. He finds out that the men who saw him in the Green Parrot Bar are Cuban policemen assisting Jake Barnes in a human trafficking case. Chris meets Papa who warns him of the kyklos tod mene and that his own death is possible. Chris goes to another bar, the Golden Earring, and sees Brett for the first time. The next day, following an accidental meeting with Brett at the courthouse, Chris is kidnaped when he tries to leave Key West. After being dumped off on the causeway that connects the Florida Keys, Chris is picked up by Brett who reveals herself to be a Key West detective. Eventually Brett takes Chris back to her apartment and seduces him. The next day, Chris awakes to find that Brett is gone. Jake appears and declares himself her husband. Jake questions Chris on Brett’s whereabouts. Chris discovers that Brett is Robert Jordan’s sister. Sensing he is about to be arrested again, Chris flees only to meet up with Sgt. Garcia. Sgt. Garcia assures Chris he knows where Brett is, that she is in danger and he can lead Chris to her. Caught between being arrested by Jake or trusting Garcia, Chris leaves for Cuba.

In Deja’ Voodoo, Chris arrives in Cuba and ditches Sgt. Garcia. At a local bar, Chris meets Hem, who tells Chris to look up Lord Cristobal. When the bartender learns of Chris’ desire, a ride is arranged. The driver, thinking Chris is a rich tourist, tries to rob Chris then beats him, leaving him for dead. Chris is then found by the family of Naty Revuelta. Ring Lardner, Jr. appears while Chris seems to be fading off. Ring reminds Chris that he is there to find Brett. Because of his desire for Brett, Chris pulls through. The Revuelta family nurses Chris back to health. Naty turns out to be a refugee who has returned to Cuba from the U.S. to help raise her dead sister’s children. Later Chris learns of Naty’s former relationship with Keith which resulted in her sister’s suicide. Chris goes to Lord Cristobal to learn of the possible connection between Keith and Brett. Waiting for Chris at the Villa Vinales de Eden is Jake Barnes who takes him into “custody”.

 ~

And finally begins… 

 

Bone Island Abattoir.

~

I hope you will enjoy and Happy New Year.

Peace. 

 

 
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One Response to “2011 – The Bell Tolled 50 Years Ago”

  1. Chantal Says:

    Hooray!

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