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Publisher:
Brown Badger Books

Publication Date:
N/A

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
9780988538979

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
11.99

THE PATH OF THE TAPIR

By Michael Jarvis

IR_Star-black
IR Rating:
4.5
Michael Jarvis’s THE PATH OF THE TAPIR is a morally complex mystery-thriller with a laid-back tropical setting best served with a Piña Colada.
IR Approved

The blue-green waters, vibrant green flora, and diverse wildlife of Costa Rica are the stars of Michael Jarvis’s mystery-thriller novel THE PATH OF THE TAPIR. In the novel, two young American women die in a fire on a palm oil plantation in the Central American country. Witnessed fleeing the scene of the fire is a young man, an American expat and environmental activist named Ellis Hayden who has been off the radar since. The palm oil company sends private investigator Phil Millege to Costa Rica to tie up any loose ends, namely to appease the insurance company and the girls’ parents so that the incident can be swept under the rug. As Millege gets to know the various people he encounters there, including a cocky surfer, a bartender and tour guide, and a woman who runs a spirituality spa that specializes in ayahuasca (a South American entheogenic brew), he learns more about Ellis and the eco-warrior perspective. But someone else arrives in Costa Rica, a mercenary named Del Preet who also wants to cover up the fire—and he doesn’t want to just ask Ellis questions.

The narrative of the story shifts between the perspectives of the characters involved in the investigation, both protagonists and antagonists, both in the present and in the past. There is no designation stating in whose point of view a scene is set, but there is ample vivid detail and personality to discern the perspective through context. Flashbacks detailing the American girls’ experience in Costa Rica before the deadly fire illuminate the true intentions of those they encounter with who later spend time with Millege, removing much of the mystery of what really happened to the girls but ramping up the excitement about the chase happening in the novel’s present. It’s a race between Millege and Del Preet for who can find Ellis first, and as the narrative catches up with Ellis, he turns from villain to complex hero, bolstering tension and asking questions about acceptable consequences for devastating mistakes. The expressive and eloquent messages Millege sends to his boss and the careful way he listens when other characters speak show that he is an observant, sensitive person despite his unassuming exterior. Minor characters each have unique quirks, some endearing, some grating, that set them apart and make them enjoyable even when they are not likeable. The diversity of motivations and moral belief systems make the cast of characters interesting and complex. Jarvis’s writing strikes a perfect balance between exposition, bursts of action, witty and serious dialogue, and description of setting. Costa Rica’s natural scenery and the myriad individuals, both native to the country and those who have come to it for tourism, for retirement, or to escape, are ever-present and alluring. Surfer slang, tourist expectations, and the demeanor of those just trying to get by in their home nation round out the vibrant setting.

Michael Jarvis’s THE PATH OF THE TAPIR is a morally complex mystery-thriller with a laid-back tropical setting best served with a Piña Colada.

~Aimee Jodoin for IndieReader

Publisher:
Brown Badger Books

Publication Date:
N/A

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
9780988538979

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
11.99

THE PATH OF THE TAPIR

By Michael Jarvis

Lush, atmospheric, and full of suspense, THE PATH OF THE TAPIR is a slow burn of a novel. There’s a tinge of the old school detective style combined with emotionally charged situations, which linger after the last page is turned. Characters evolve gradually and events unravel with detail along with the beautiful Costa Rican landscape.