When an FBI Special Agent Bateman Carter Jr. learns of the death of his brother in Jamaica, he returns with one intention – to solve the riddle of his brother’s death. However, the plot he uncovers leads to further hurt, mayhem and death – a path lined with deceit, betrayal and secrets. Bateman is taken on a journey of self-discovery, realization, transformation and redemption. Drugs, deceit, murder and revenge are all on the Road to Damascus – until the blinding light returns and all is exposed.
ROAD TO DAMASCUS is the story of Special Agent , Jamaican–born Bateman Carter Jr., who sets out to solve the riddle of his brother George’s murder in Jamaica.
The reader is told on the front cover that this is a tale of “drugs, deceit, deception , murder and revenge in modern Jamaica.”
The author, Jamaican-born Oren Cousins is a retired Secondary School principal, who now serves as a Justice of the Peace and a volunteer counselor in the community of Linstead, Clarendon in Jamaica.
Mr. Cousins has written an interesting and absorbing novel.
There are 18 chapters, and Road To Damascus starts with Bateman’s return to Jamaica, his reunion with his younger brother, Raymond, and his reaction to the Media, Crime and Police.
Cousins has a great gift of painting word pictures . This is how he describes Raymond in Chapter Two: “a tall , bearded and rangy young man… his dress bizarre…. huge dark glasses which accentuated the thinness of his hairy face…. Strong nicotine –stained teeth.”
Raymond’s view of life is revealing. “Life,” he says, “ don’t wort’ much in this country, so man ha fi put bar an’ grille up dem ‘ouse an’ put burglar alarm an’ dem t’ings deh , an’ ha’ guardsman an’ guard dog an’ gun fi protec’ dem . Is di runnings in dis country now.”
Later in the novel, Cousins introduces the reader to Bateman and Raymond’s grandfather ‘Pappy’, an endearing , crotchety old man with an infectious laugh, who lives in “an old green and white house in Trench Town , “with a twisted mango tree leaning over his neighbour’s rusty zinc fence.”
Pappy is a fountain of wisdom . At one point, Bateman says to him, “Why do those men have to make so much effort to keep away from one another’s throat?” To which Pappy replies, “Deep seated anger , hard life and frustration.”
Cousins’ description of the domino players and their sessions under “ a Poinciana tree in full orange –coloured bloom,” is vivid and very true to life. He writes, “Six love to rhatid!,” triumphantly shouted the smallest of the men, aggressively slamming down some pieces of the dominoes in rapid succession , rising with hand erect to render his dramatic coup de grace.”
After Chapter Five, the story picks up speed as Bateman links up with an old friend, Vincent Chew, who turns out to be a pivotal person in the story.
Chew , a one time altar boy at ‘The Cathedral’, went on to become an acolyte and later a novice. He is now the proprietor of Chew’s Family Market, and employs Raymond to do jobs for him that involves Chew’s boat, The Sea Bird.
As with stories that relate tales of murder and deceit, this novel has many twists and turns , but it is never too complicated for the reader to follow as it builds to an exciting , but not totally unexpected climax. This story is gripping, but never frightening nor sickening. – Reviewer: Barbara Nelson
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