The Path of the Tapir
AUTHOR: Michael Jarvis
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The Path of the Tapir follows an investigation into the deaths of two young American women and the subsequent chase for an expat who befriended them, seen by some as an eco-radical.
Philip Millege, in the employ of a multi-national palm oil company, shows up on Costa Rica's southern Pacific coast to investigate the deaths of the free-spirited tourists, Chloe Summers and Peyton Paddington. They perished in a fire on the company's property—and to locate the missing male expat, Ellis Hayden, who was with them on the night of the incident.
Millege enlists the aid of several locals—a bartender and kayaking guide, a solitary Boruca Indian, and a reclusive house tender—as he explores the territory. The hunters soon become the hunted when an unknown and unregulated mercenary joins the chase and raises the stakes to terrifying heights for locals and foreigners alike.
Seeking answers to the girls' deaths, Millege confronts a shifting view of his own life and his place in the world. In a heart-pounding read, The Path of the Tapir exposes the price of environmental despoliation and the communion of grief and blame and its deadly consequences.
"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 fire scene is a young man, an American expat, and an environmental activist named Ellis Hayden, who has been off the radar since.
The palm oil company sends private investigator Philip Millege to Costa Rica to tie up any loose ends, namely to appease the insurance company and the girls' parents to sweep the incident 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 running a spirituality spa specializing 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 ask Ellis questions.
It's a race between Millege and Del Preet for who can find Ellis first. 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 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 the setting. Costa Rica's natural scenery and the myriad individuals, both native to the country and those who have come to it for tourism, retirement, or 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."
Michael Jarvis was born on an air force base and traveled regularly, living as a child in Alabama, Texas, Ohio, Guam, Georgia, and England. He graduated from Florida International University with degrees in Fine Arts and English, and lives in Miami, scouting locations for various film projects and writing fiction.
The Path of the Tapir can be found at Amazon and other sites listed on the author’s website.
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