The Surreal Killer

The Surreal Killer
Machu Picchu. Peru

Sunday, May 24, 2015


This is the stuff of which mystery book plots are made!  My last post talked about former president Jose Mujica of Uruguay and his having facilitated the “immigration” of six former Guantanamo detainees to their “new home” in Uruguay.  Now, let me give you a few of the details.

Last December (2014) six prisoners held for 12 years at Guantanamo Bay were sent to Uruguay, where they were to be resettled as refugees.  This was a deal that had been in the works for a long time once we identified a country willing to take them.  It is part of President Obama’s overall strategy to finally close Guantanamo Bay prison once all of the detainees are resettled, deported, tried for their accused crimes, or otherwise offered alternatives to the limbo of indefinite incarceration without trial.   There was, of course, political opposition to accepting these individuals in Uruguay, but President Mujica’s view eventually prevailed.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Uruguay, as did most of South America, just had a presidential election.  Their campaigns don’t take two years and don’t cost billions of dollars for the candidates.  The process is quick and features much less negative advertising and partisan politics.   The former president Tabare Vasquez defeated the incumbent candidate Jose Mujica.  Tabare Vasquez is a professional politician.  What he lacks in charisma is compensated for by his acknowledged political and bureaucratic skills.  He was well known to the electorate from his previous terms as President.

Jose Mujica may not have been a very good president in the political sense, but he was probably the most colorful character to lead any country in a long time.  During his term in office Uruguay legalized marijuana and abortion.  He spoke against corporate and government abuses of power and spoke for the poor and impoverished members of society.  He offered asylum to several former Guantanamo detainees.  He gave a speech to the United Nations where he said, among other things, “We have sacrificed the old immaterial gods and now we are occupying the temple of the market god,” and “This god organizes our economy, our politics, our habits, our lives. It seems we have been born only to consume.”
And “There’s marketing for everything! There’s marketing for cemeteries, for funeral services, for maternity wards, for fathers, for mothers, grandparents and uncles! ... Everything is business! ... The average man of our time wanders between financial institutions and the tedious routine of offices ... He dreams of vacations and freedom. He dreams of being able to pay his bills, until one day, his heart stops.”
Before becoming president in 2009, Mujica had spent more than 10 years imprisoned in solitary confinement in a well!  He was a revolutionary Tucamaro during the military dictatorship of the 1970s and early 1980s. 
Another quote from Mujica, “You don’t stop being a common man just because you are president.”  He drove a VW beetle and commuted from his home to the office as president; 90% of his salary went to charity.
I met President Mujica a couple of times, once at a reception celebrating the opening of a new pharmaceutical company in Montevideo.  No Secret Service, no bodyguards, no police, no soldiers.  No entourage.  He was just another visitor at the event.  He spoke to me in rapid Spanish about the new jobs being created by the company for working men and women.  He didn’t seem to care whether I was a voter or a tourist.  His enthusiasm and charisma were evident in everything he said and did.  But that’s not enough in today’s complex world.  Uruguay’s economy, like almost all the South American countries in their region, is taking a big economic hit.  Not as big a hit as its neighbor Argentina, but still a hit.  Former President Mujica’s policies have taken the blame, and he’s now a former president.  His style and personality will be missed on the world stage and in his home country.

Monday, February 2, 2015


I’m very close to my 1,000th copy sold of The Surreal Killer.  Let’s have some fun with a little contest.  Buy the book and PM me on Facebook ( or e-mail me with the date and time you bought the book and your e-mail address.  If your purchase information matches the Amazon real-time report and you are the lucky reader who purchased copy #1,000, I’ll e-mail or message you back.  Pick any of the other books in the series and I’ll send you free copies of any one novel of your choice, the novella “The Body in the Bed”, and the anthology of short stories “Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne”.  If there’s a tie, both winners will get the books.

A serial killer is leaving a trail of dead women across Chile, Peru, and Bolivia.  The gruesome corpses all seem to have died in exactly the same macabre way.  There may be a link to a small group of scientists who meet annually in different locations in the region. Roger Bowman and Suzanne Foster are asked by the local police to attend this year’s meeting of the group in Lima, Peru to try to find out who was present at the previous meetings when the murders occurred.  And the reader is off on a fast paced pursuit of the killer through Lima, Cuzco, and Machu Picchu in Peru and Chile’s Atacama Desert.  This Indie Book of the day Award winning psychological thriller is a true whodunit mystery novel set in an unusual and exotic locale.  Readers new to the series can enjoy this book as a stand-alone introduction to the region and to the series characters.