About the Books

Chico Borba should have been exhausted, but he wasn’t. And he should have felt pain from the wicked gash torn wide above his left eye, but he didn’t. He felt elation and glory.

It had been an auspicious day. Two weeks before, Dom Pascoal Moreira Cabral, the comandante of the bandeira, had made him a lieutenant as a reward for the bravery and ability he displayed along their 1,600-kilometer trek from São Paulo. With the promotion came a mission—he was to strike south away from the main body of the bandeira in search of a band of Parecis Indians who escaped their initial assault, and that morning he had found and defeated them. The Indians fought desperately and bravely but in vain, and with the capture of their chief came their surrender and something even more important. Chico Borba looked down at what he held in his hand— the key to a captaincy most likely, he thought, grinning. It was beautiful, and he would present it to the comandante along with the 70 Indian slaves he had captured. He had wrenched it from the neck of the Parecis chief after personally bringing him low in battle with a well-placed stroke of his musket butt. He stared down into the peaceful green of the long, hexagonal crystal almost perfect in symmetry. It was a magnificent emerald. And where it came from there were sure to be more. Fame and wealth were his, if only he could find the mine.

It was a gala night! The bright display lighting glared down upon the mass of sculpture strewn about the gallery and flashed upon the gleaming white shirts of tuxedoed waiters as they whisked by with their cargoes of sparkling champagnes and waters. Strange, discordant melodies wove among the crowds that clustered around the grotesques they were admiring—strange music, new music, hacked forth from violin and cello in a frenzied sawing from the thin arms of a wild-eyed quartet whose sounds and appearance evoked visions of demon lumberjacks ripping through bark for the heart of a forest. Their strings whined. Their bows moaned. Their agonies screamed to the ceiling, then fell in heavy strains upon the gallery patrons roaming pensively below.

The crowds hunkered down under the assault of light and noise, some chatting among themselves and some quietly sipping their poison, lost in frowning thought—all silently searching for meaning in the monstrosities leering out at them, and all coming up empty.

The showroom was inhabited by mannequins, dozens of mannequins, mannequins in chains, mannequins in leathers, mannequins wildly screaming silent pleas to an indifferent god as they were tortured by other smiling, sadistic mannequins in methods unknown to the Grand Inquisitor himself. Other mannequins rolled the floor in stiff-limbed displays of ecstasy and carnal wonder. There were beasts and whips and chains and children. There were lawn implements, bathroom fixtures, home appliances and industrial machines. Every conceivable tool of this age and many of the past were engaged in invoking pain, pleasure or both from the mannequins condemned to suffer their use.

The captain filled his coffee cup and then settled heavily back into his seat, where he sipped it loudly.

As they drew abeam of the large tanker, the containership flew by, close enough to rock them, which was a bit too close. Rawley could hear the slow rumble of her main engine and the cavitation of her prop from where he stood dead center on the bridge, but that didn’t concern him—what did were the storm clouds ahead and the gray curtain that shrouded the channel. A squall was blowing straight toward them and would obliterate their visibility until it passed. The darkening sky bore down upon them and lifted the captain up out of his chair and over to the other radar.

They both worked vectors on the traffic ahead and listed them in order of importance. He stepped to the bulkhead to switch on the automatic whistle, then flipped on their running lights and the clear view screens to afford them small portals through the windows that would turn translucent with the squall.

Copacabana at Midnight is a collection of poetry and short stories which shares themes with several of the author’s novels. These verses were written in the isolation of life at sea. This work speaks of love, loss, loneliness, betrayal, obsession, possession, horror, illness, death, forgiveness and of the beauty and the power of the oceans.

The Diving Godfollows the misadventures of Bob Banks, an insurance underwriter who leaves his stultifying job, his broken marriage and New York City for a disastrous vacation in Mexico where he becomes stranded and where he eventually finds romance while teaching a single mother’s son the basics of platform diving. This romantic comedy is set in the largely pristine Yucatecan coast of the 1990’s. It speaks of urban angst, of self-discovery and of building family from the wreckage of past relationships.