Benidorm: Purgatory on Earth - An excerpt from A Pig with Three legs

Benidorm is located on the east coast of Spain between the Costa del Sol to the south and the Costa Brava in the far north. It is a cheap and nasty, in-between kind of place.

Like Purgatory.

Benidorm is the biggest holiday resort in Europe, attracting five million visitors a year, many of them working-class Brits.

Images of its beaches, hotel pool-sides and noisy pubs are preserved in the dusty photo albums of generations of English families. In those pubs and on its pavements, a lot of British blood has been spilt over the years.

Benidorm’s motto is Wild until Breakfast

British men lie comatose on the beach all day, protected by big parasols from the sun they have come in search of. They’re too knackered to step out into the painful sunshine and walk over the baking-hot sand to paddle in the water.

They are content to moan, because your average Englishman is only happy when he’s moaning. That’s why he pays all the money to take a holiday in Benidorm, just to be able to moan in a bit of luxury.

Muttering things like this:

“…This sunburn is killing me. Look at me arms. Like red pokers…”

And this:

“…I had forty quid in my wallet last night. Look what’s left. You couldn’t catch a bus with it back home. And all I had was two pints of watered-down ale and a roast chicken butty that was all lettuce. Thieving Spaniards. Why do we keep coming back here every summer?”

The answer to that riddle only becomes apparent when the sun goes down. Then the Brits come to life again. Like vampires. Swooping into the karaoke bars, the show bars; the clubs, cabarets, casinos. On and on to the night’s waning and the throwing up of curry into the gutters.

Bugger Benidorm.

Take an evening off. Get out of it. Take a cab down the coast about half-an-hour to Alicante. Lovely place. The Roman legionnaires used to get drunk here two thousand-odd years ago.

A big rocky crag, called Mount Benacantil, dominates the port, casting its shadow over everything. Perched on the top is the Castle of Santa Barbara.

Up one side of Benacantil, reaching almost to the walls of the Castle, clings the Barrio de la Santa Cruz, a maze of ancient houses and steep, narrow cobbled alleyways. It’s called, simply, El Barrio, and is the heart of Alicante’s night-life.

But we warned.

In Benidorm, you can find a place to start getting drunk five minutes after you leave the hotel, if you don’t fall into the swimming pool first. To get to El Barrio, you have to tramp up the side of a mountain.

It can be a bit like climbing the lower slopes of Everest just to get a beer. And remember that more people are killed every year descending Mount Everest than going up.

But right there at the top is where you’ll find Tommy and Alec.

Get to know them better by reading their story from the start. Find it on Kindle.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Pig-Three-legs-David-Turri-ebook/dp/B01M1YITQA/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

No Way Out - an extract from #Escarpment

An extract from “Escarpment”

https://www.amazon.com/Escarpment-David-Turri-ebook/dp/B0725JJS71/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

Her uncle was waiting for us at the edge of a narrow country road. A grizzled old man, with his thick gray hair cropped to his skull and white stubble growing from his cheeks and chin, he carried a flashlight and a big gnarled stick.

“The stick is for the habu snakes,” Sachiko disconcerted me by saying as we got out of the car.

He gave her a big hug, and then looked me up and down in a very unfriendly manner, growling at her:

“Tell him it’s very dark inside. There are insects and snakes. Tell him that if he gets bitten by a habu, he could end up in hospital or dead. So he better stay close behind me and not go wandering off on his own.”

“Dave-san speaks Japanese very well, uncle.”

I smiled, trying to break the ice, and told him, without going into any detail:

“I got bitten by a habu a few months ago.”

He led us down a steep bank. The entrance to the Gama was very low, and the darkness swallowed us up. He turned on the flashlight and kept beating the ground in front of us to scare off snakes.

“The beaches where the American forces landed are not far from here. My village was directly in the path of their advance. We escaped into this cavern, 140 of us – mothers and children; sisters and teenage girls; grandpas and grandmas, older uncles and aunts. No able-bodied men. Our fathers and older brothers had been taken away from us months before.

“We knew what to expect if the Yankees found us. The Army had told us what to expect. Flyers were handed out. First, the flyers said, the Americans would rape the teenage girls; and then the children. They enjoyed children very much, boys as well as girls. They liked to rape them and to slice their throats in front of their mothers. Then they would rape the mothers, cut off their nipples and disembowel them. The Americans were not human. They were devils from Hell.

“The flyers instructed the men-folk that if they were threatened by the approach of American troops they were to kill all children first, then the women and finally themselves. If there were no men around, then the mothers must kill the children before ending their own lives.

“As the Americans moved inland and spread out, a unit found our cave. An officer called down to us not to be afraid, that nothing would happen to us; and he asked us to come out. But no one understood what he was saying.

“I was a toddler. I couldn’t do anything to protect my mother and my grandma from these devils. But there were some older boys among us. By older I mean ten or eleven, and they were armed with bamboo spears.

“They believed themselves already to be soldiers of the Emperor and had been given a kind of rudimentary training by the young men from the village before those young men were taken away to the front lines of the defense. The boys had marched up and down in the fields and charged with their bamboo spears bales of straw set up to represent American soldiers, killing them instantly.

“And now, they did not hesitate. Too quickly to be restrained by their mothers, a platoon of about ten little boys charged towards the entrance of the cave with their bamboo spears. Screaming death to the enemy. The screams only of little boys, but screams that the cave amplified into terrifying sounds.

“Remember that the Americans had fought their way up the Pacific against the constant nightmare of the blood-curdling banzai charge. At that moment, they did not know they were facing little boys playing the hero.

“They saw only figures bursting into the dark cave mouth. A nervous soldier fired his rifle at them; then another did likewise. Realizing the mistake that was happening, an officer shouted for his men to hold their fire, but by then it was too late. The boys lay dead.

“To the people cowering deep in the cave, that act was an affirmation of everything they had been told to expect. The devils had mercilessly gunned down ten little boys. Now they would sweep into the cave to rape, torture and kill everyone else.

“The old people had the strength to act immediately. They used the scythes they had cut the rice stalks with. By the time the American officers reached the carnage and put a stop to it, more than eighty of the villagers were dead.”

The old man’s flashlight beam showed me the scene of that brutal day, preserved over the decades as it was.

He showed me white bones, many of them small, some tiny. Fragments of skull, broken rice bowls, a sake bottle clogged with dust. He showed me cooking utensils, a wooden hair comb, an old hoe, a blood-soaked kimono. Showed me the rusty scythes.

“That comb belonged to my mother.”

I had seen. I would remember. I needed to get out. I turned my head, and my eyes searched for the sunlight at the cave’s entrance, but couldn’t find it. Panic gripped me; and a thought – there is no exit from this place.

For me, there was; and, sometime later, a seat on a flight back to Kobe. But for Sachiko’s uncle, and many thousands like him, there really is no way out of those caves.

 

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

The Christchurch Quake: An Extract from 29 Argyle Drive

An extract from “29 Argyle Drive”

      https://www.amazon.com/29-Argyle-Drive-David-Turri-ebook/dp/B00Q2ETTRS/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

 

Over time, especially after Boxing Day, Christchurch learned to cope with the aftershocks. When the ground shook, people panicked less. They steeled themselves, grabbed something, and their eyes searched for a doorway or a desk to shelter under. 

They held their breaths and gritted their teeth and waited it out.  When the earth settled down, they breathed again, made a joke or laughed about it, and went on with whatever the aftershock had interrupted.

Because lightning never strikes twice in the same place.

Over and over, they reassured one another with that old adage. They believed it. To consider the alternative was unthinkable. 

But the unthinkable happened, lunchtime – 12:51 – on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. 

That time, the shaking didn’t stop. It increased in violence, and the world of every Christchurch resident exploded. 

Inside offices, people cowering under desks and in doorways were bounced out of that flimsy protection. Walls shook furiously, floors heaved and buckled; ceiling fittings and steel beams gave way and came down, windows burst.

In restaurants, tables jumped up and down, plates clattered and crashed, shelves fell. Customers and staff trying to drag themselves under the tables or the counters were shrugged backwards by the undulating floors.  Ventilation shafts fell, wall tiles exploded.

Drivers felt their vehicles being lifted off the road by a giant’s angry hands, shaken about, dropped back. Roadways became waves under the tires. Power poles swayed violently. Cars slid from side to side. City buses were crushed by falling masonry.

People caught on the streets of the central city district froze in horror as shop overhangs snapped off and dropped and facades crumbled.  Buildings went straight to the ground. Bricks, glass and chunks of concrete were hurled into the street. Cracks opened in the roads.

In the suburbs, roads swelled and burst under the pressure of liquefaction, releasing tons of water and sand into gardens and homes. In houses, bookcases and refrigerators crashed to the floor, paintings came free of walls and cart-wheeled across rooms.   

Buildings in the central business district suffered the worst damage; two, especially – the Canterbury Television Building and the Pyne Gould Corporation headquarters. 

People inside them felt they were trapped in a salt shaker.  Everything was smashing, cracking and shattering. Floors tipped, walls caved in. Clouds of dust choked. There was a stench of burning electrical wiring, and then of smoke. Everybody tumbled downwards. 

Both buildings collapsed. Only the elevator shaft of the CTV Building remained standing. The Pyne Gould Corporation building was a mountain of rubble. And the spire of Christchurch Cathedral, the city’s most famous landmark, toppled and crashed to the ground into a heap of stone and twisted metal.

When the ground stood still again, the aching silence filled slowly with screams and crying; and with the noise of fire alarms and evacuation recordings from inside broken buildings, and with jammed car horns. And the dust began to rise over the city center in a dense, yellow-tinged pall. 

The people the quake had caught in the open – men in business suits, laborers from construction sites, drivers, university students, tourists – many of them injured themselves by flying glass and masonry – began to clamber over the wreckage of the CTV Building, pulling roofing iron and timber away, digging for survivors. 

The first to be lifted out of the rubble and passed down from hand to hand was a two-year-old baby.

The seconds of the shaking claimed 185 lives. Most of the victims, more than a hundred, were crushed and burned inside the CTV Building.  Many were foreign students studying at a language school located on the third floor. From the Pyne Gould Corporation wreckage, 18 bodies were recovered. Ten passengers on a local bus died when the vehicle was buried under falling concrete. At other central city locations, 28 were killed. Twelve people died in the suburbs.

The eastern residential districts were hit hard, and damage was particularly severe in Sumner. The cliff faces were shaken like never before and fissures hundreds of meters long opened, in places cutting directly through the middle of houses, tearing them apart. 

More dangerously, whole sections of cliff face crumbled away, and   boulders and stones came smashing down into streets, gardens and through house roofs and walls. 

A five-meter boulder crashed into the middle of Argyle Drive, bounced through the weeds and undergrowth where the gates of No. 29 had once stood, kept on rolling and came to a stop in the middle of the empty property.

Photographs of that huge stone went viral over the next few days.  In the midst of the worst catastrophe to ever engulf New Zealand, the Devil was back in residence at 29 Argyle Drive. 

Jack was home again. 

Very soon, those images of the stone, enlarged and enhanced, were being examined on computer screens all over the world, with the same intensity that astronomers pore over details of the surface of Mars.

Terrifying discoveries were made.

The most widely-disseminated shot of the boulder showed a close-up of the blasted granite surface circled with thick, black marker. Within this circle, the actual features of Satan’s face were delineated with a fine-tipped red pen. 

The face was long, gaunt and sharp; the horns, short, stumpy things; the eyes were blazing black, and the lips were twisted into an evil grin.

Other computer sites, other researchers, focused their investigations elsewhere on the boulder’s surface and revealed even greater horrors – seething cauldrons of faces, which they identified as belonging to the Fallen Angels – to Asb’el, to Gader’el, to Yeqon.

This Afterword cannot express the tragedy of that day. The loss; the ruin of a beautiful city, and the ruin of so many lives, leaving scars that will remain for a long time. Hundreds of empty gravel lots, voids where once shops, restaurants, office buildings and houses had stood. Boarded up windows, desolated structures fenced off by steel mesh. The end of laughter.

These final words focus not even on that boulder, but on something very different that unfolded on the property of 29 Argyle Drive during that long, gray afternoon and night.

By the time the ground stopped jumping, the middle of the road had split open, and mud and clay oozed out of the ruptured asphalt. At the bottom of Argyle Drive, a geyser of muddy water spewed ten feet into the air.

Power poles toppled into front gardens, bringing down lines, causing sparks and smoke. Hedgerows were pushed out into the pavement. Front porches collapsed; roof tiles cascade onto the street. 

Into this chaos spilled the residents who were at home at that lunchtime, weekday hour. Housewives with young children and babies.  Retired couples. Elderly people, some of them disabled. 

They were in shock, staring around at the unrecognizable street, the unrecognizable houses. Where is this? Where is my home? What has happened to us now? Oh, God.

After the shock of September 4, the population of Christchurch had been drilled, by television and by written literature deposited in their mailboxes, about what to do if they were caught outside when another severe earthquake struck. 

 

Keep away from falling masonry and electric wires. 

Do not reenter homes or buildings. 

Seek open space. 

Stay there until assistance arrives.

 

The confused and terrified residents of Argyle Drive found the open space that the quake literature said would save them in the wide flatness of No. 29. 

Assistance soon arrived.

The Student Volunteer Army had been formed by students at Canterbury University following the September quake, when they had assisted in the clean-up, especially in areas where soil liquefaction was severe. 

They mobilized again on February 22, into ‘Battalions’, ‘Squads’ and ‘Street Teams’, spreading out, in cars, charters buses and on foot, to the most severely devastated areas. 

They brought with them food, water and other emergency supplies, but, more importantly, humor, cheerfulness and optimism to the stunned survivors.

One street team that was ordered into action lived right at the top of Argyle Drive in an old house that had been converted into student flats.

Six young men and women, weighed down with backpacks, lugging shopping bags in both hands and pushing an overloaded wheelbarrow, made their way down to No. 29. 

There, they found the residents huddled, cold and confused; the oldest in shock, the youngest crying.

The students had brought – a big tarpaulin, three tents, sleeping bags; plates, cups and glasses, knives and forks; a mountain of blankets; a barbecue grill and bags of charcoal; bottled water, food from the refrigerator; bits and pieces of clothing; rolls of toilet paper; a bag full of sanitary pads; a first-aid kit; shovels and a pick-ax; two transistor radios.

They were climbers, trekkers, perennial hitchhikers, and they possessed survival skills. 

They rigged up the tarpaulin, using guy lines from one of the tents and the boulder as an anchor; and poles from the tent to secure the other end.  They erected a second tent and helped the oldest people into it, out of the cold.  They dug a latrine and covered it with the third tent.

 They got the grill going and food frying.  They built a bonfire.  They distributed their phones so that the residents could try to contact their husbands, sons and daughters.  They brought steadiness and good cheer.      

Sumner police and firefighters were already beginning to coordinate evacuation of the high roads that were in most danger from falling rocks and disintegrating cliff faces.  But it was not until after nightfall that street-by-street evacuations were coordinated. 

At an 8:00pm news conference, the spokesman for the Sumner Fire Department urged people who had evacuated their homes to stay where they were and to be patient.  Relief would reach them as soon as was humanly possible.

It was a cold night, and rain began to fall, but the evacuees around the boulder were sheltered from the cold by blankets and from the rain by the tarpaulin.  They stared out at the black sky and the dark sea, not thinking about the morrow, not talking much, listening to the stream of updates on the transistor radios.  Thankful to be in that safe place. 

While fools at their computers joined lines on photographs of a boulder to make the face of Satan, the property that had once been notorious in the media as The Hell House was a blessed spot that night.

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

An Interview with author David Turri

Black Rose Writing invited JD DeHart, who writes a reading and literature resources blog, to interview one of its authors, David Turri. Here is the interview.

 

Who are your favorite writers?

 

I am British, but my favorite American writers are John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut and (because I have a deep interest in the American Civil War) Bruce Catton, especially his trilogy about the Army of the Potomac, which I have read many times over the years. On the other side of the Atlantic, HG Wells, Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham, Shakespeare.

 

What motivates you to write?

 

Difficult one. I’ve been writing almost every day for most of my life now, so it’s hard to pinpoint motivation. But the answer is maybe (to misquote Descartes) I write, therefore I am.

 

What should we know about your work?

 

I am basically a story-teller. For me, the story is the thing. I don’t have a specific genre that I write in. Historical fiction (Damaged Cargoes); Horror (29 Argyle Drive); occult (Escarpment); War (Escarpment; Casket) and Humor (A Pig with Three Legs). I was born in Liverpool, so my sense of humor is pretty black (as readers of A Pig with Three Legs will know.) I have spent most of my life in Japan, so that clearly influences the background for a lot of my writing. Espionage is also a genre I like a lot. One of my stories – “Shig” – is a spy novel set in the capital of the Empire of Japan. It was published by Black Rose Writing a few months ago.

 

How did the inspiration for your book “Escarpment” come about?

 

I have several Japanese acquaintances who possess the Sixth Sense. I had used some of their anecdotes in “29 Argyle Drive” and still had a hankering to write something else with an occult theme. There is in fact (as described in “Escarpment”) a seedy store that sells WW2 Japanese military memorabilia at the end of a shopping arcade in Kobe. I used to pass it all the time when business took me to that part of the city. In the window, there was a Japanese Army officer’s map case. That set me thinking – and the story began to form. In fact, the original title was “The Map Case”. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0725JJS71/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i3

 

What advice would you offer young writers?

 

The same advice that was given to me. Produce, produce, produce. Secondly – and I realize this seems very old fashioned – first write with a PEN onto PAPER before transferring what you produce to a computer. I spend a lot of time on trains with pen and notebook, scribbling away; also, in local parks of an evening. Only after the first draft is done like this, chapter by chapter, do I go onto a computer. Then I print out and go back into the park with the printed pages and a pen. Repeat the process. Any number of times before the manuscript is completed. Thirdly, keep asking yourself – Does the reader need to know this? Or – Does the reader need to know all of this just now? I feel from my own struggles that we tend to write too much; we writers have too much we want to say. But too much detail can bog down, confuse or make the reader lose interest. We tend to think everything is important, but it isn’t. Sometimes the reader is better off not knowing.

 

What are you reading and writing now?

 

I am currently writing a story set in Barcelona during and after the Spanish Civil War. It is called “The Reap Hook” and I have been trying to write it for the last five or six years. As for what I’m reading, I am making another valiant effort to read TO THE END James Joyce’s “Ulysses.”

 

 

Where can we learn more about you and your work?

 

From my Amazon page.

https://www.amazon.com/David-Turri/e/B00IR6C5KM/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

 

From my web site.

www.daveturri.com

 

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorDavidTurri/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/DayYagura

 

I also made a couple of You-Tube videos talking about ghosts in a downtown district of Osaka and the role they played in the inspiration for “29 Argyle Drive” and “Escarpment”.

 

Ghosts and Spirits in Kyobashi Osaka http://www.daveturri.com/434086084

Sixth Sense: Ghost Tales from Kyobashi http://www.daveturri.com/434086084

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

A Review of Wild Willful Heart

One complaint about this thing – it came to an end all too soon. Because I hadn’t been so snatched up and carried along by a book in a long time.

 

“Wild Willful Heart” is W. Boone Hedgepeth’s quest for spiritual authenticity. It is a book full of magic and true grit. Full of grace and darkness. Full of demons, UFOs and miracles. Of brutal honesty. Of sadness and hope. Of the South.

 

There is real horror in Black Mountain; and real beauty in the writer’s descriptions of that mystical North Carolina environment that was the dramatic stage for some of his spiritual struggles.

 

Boone’s writing style is clear, taut, measured and down-to-earth. He is a skillful storyteller. Wisely rejecting a straightforward chronological narrative, he weaves his tale out of different strands of his life in order to create maximum suspense and anticipation.

 

There is much that is fascinating in these pages, a lot to ponder and many things that linger in the head and the heart after the book is closed.

 

What lingers for me is the powerful image, early on, of the “marginal man”, a state to being to be avoided, but one that threatens all of us at one time or another; and, near the end, Boone’s (or Christ’s?) command to not be plagued by guilt or self-loathing, but to love yourself.

 

He writes, again near the end:

 

“…In the present and in the future, I will not cling to traditions of the past, but will seek new light and direction as a revolutionary, patriot, and saint in Jesus Christ…I am just an authentic person filled with countless flaws just like you. I am not greater than you are, I am your servant, you are mine, and we are learning simultaneously…”

 

I like that very much. We are all fellow-travelers.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Wild-Willful-Heart-Boone-Hedgepeth/dp/1483462986

 

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Graham Greene, Out-of-Body-Experiences and Tommy Still Trying Put Martin to Rest. An extract from a Pig with Three Legs

He was standing over a pint in a pub, listening to the mournful bells tolling the late hour from the church tower. Next to him, an old man in a faded suit rolled a snifter of brandy round and round under his nose. They were the only customers left, and the old man suddenly said:

“It’s a funny old thing, isn’t it? Life, I mean. The things that happen.”

Tommy couldn’t disagree.

           “And they’re all connected, those things. To give you an example.  The other morning on the radio I heard an interview with a famous rock climber. Then, on the bus into the City, I read in the newspaper about vandals defacing some ancient rock paintings in a cave in France. The calendar on my office wall has got a picture of a Japanese rock garden on it.  On my way home, I dropped by the local library. The first book I picked up was Brighton Rock by Graham Greene. Do you see what I’m getting at, about everything being connected? I’ve studied these things, you know. I belong to societies. They send me newsletters.”

           “Graham Greene’s dead.”

           “Pardon?”

           “Years ago. Isn’t he?”

“Well, I expect he is by now. But dying doesn’t mean much. My wife’s mother died twice already and she’s still with us. Once, in a traffic accident, and again during an operation on her womb. She claims she hovered both times out of her body. The first time, she memorized the number plate of the ambulance. The second time, she heard the doctor say, Oh shit. God obviously didn’t want her, which is understandable.”

He sipped his brandy.

“Did you know they found Jesus Christ’s bones?”

“I thought he died on the Cross.”

“Obviously he didn’t, if they found his bones. The Vatican is keeping it a secret.”

“Where’d they find them?”

“In the south of France. He was married. Did you know that?”

“I didn’t. Who to?”

“Mary Magdalene. They had a daughter. Sarah.”

“How do they know it’s his bones?”

“Secret documents.”

He finished his brandy.

“Well, I must get on home. It was nice to have talked to you, nice to get some intelligent conversation for a change. Good night.”

After he went, Tommy looked at the dregs of beer in his glass and at the barman.

“Have I got time for one more pint before you close?”

“Not if you’re driving. Are you?”

“Yeah. I’ve got to pick up a bloke.”

“Then you better not have any more. He won’t be very happy having you pick him up as pissed as you’re getting.”

“He won’t mind.”

“He will if you crash into a lamp post and kill him.”

“No he won’t.”

Tommy took the last swallow of beer.

“Good night, sir,” the barman said. “Watch how you go.”

When he came out into the cold, a wind blowing in from the Hackney marshes hurt his cheeks like ground glass. The Rover’s heater wasn’t working, so Tommy’s icy breath steamed up the windscreen as the vehicle bounced blindly over the rutted track into the site and lurched to a stop with the headlights framing the mound of earth in which, somewhere, Martin Bullock lay.

Tommy found the shovel and the pick-axe he had hidden when he knocked off work and he used the pick-axe to break the frost-hardened surface of the soil before stabbing into it, this place and that, until he hit the solid resistance of the tent.

Like an archeologist, he dug the hard soil from around the corpse trapped inside it.

“Come on, out with you. Come on, lad.”

And he told it another joke.

(The dead make Tommy’s best audiences.)

“Have you heard the one about the woman and the baby in the burning council flat? She’s on the seventh floor at the window, screaming – Save my little baby! Save my baby! The firemen are underneath shouting – Throw him down. But the woman’s frightened, afraid they’ll drop him.  One of them calls up – Don’t worry, luv. Barry here used to be a professional goalkeeper. He’ll catch your child. Come on, luv, before it’s too late.”

Tommy grasped the icy canvas and pulled it down onto the ground.

“Barry braced himself under the window, arms ready to catch the baby. The neighbours are watching. Everybody’s tense. The woman throws him out. The little bloke falls, screaming. Barry catches him. There’s a cheer, then a stunned silence as Barry bounces him twice on the ground and kicks him over a fence.”

He dragged the tent to the car. The night before, Martin had be pliable and cooperative. Now he was as hard as an ironing board. And that ironing board wouldn’t fit into the trunk.

Standing on his back (or his stomach; he wasn’t sure), Tommy grasped the legs, forced them back, pushed at them and sat on them until something snapped and he was able to get the broken ironing board into the trunk.

When he threw the shovel into the trunk, it bounced off the canvas. He tried to grab it, but in the dark he couldn’t see what part he was catching, and the sharp edge cut into the palm of his right hand, searing it with pain.

Paperback

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1722856491/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i6

Kindle

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M1YITQA/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Read at your own risk

The book you're about to read is one like you've never read before


It's taken me some time to digest the book. For over a week I didn't read, didn't want to read. And then I read a naughty romance just to clear out the images this book left in my mind that kept replaying like a bad nightmare. My hair stood on end several times reading about the evil that dwells on the top of the hill at 29 Argyle Drive.

I would like to share a couple of triggers this book might evoke, but fear I would give too much away, so I'll leave it as a blanket trigger of: if you've ever been physically or mentally abused this book might draw you into that darkness again.

With that said, read at your own risk.

The storyline bounces from present, to history, to further history, as the house at 29 Argyle is revealed. Good intentions, and more good intentions, go wrong, very, very wrong. The evil that emits, as the history of the house is revealed, vibrates off the pages of this book (or your ereader). Do not be afraid, its only a book, and your imagination will play the scene as only you can see it.

I give this story 5 heads of hair standing on end out of 5. The answer to your question: Why did you only give it 4 stars? , is simple. I gave it 4 stars because I live in The USA. The story is written across the world and the language/slang usage at times I needed to look up. The other reason was sometimes I had to stop and retrace my steps to recall the part of the house timeline I was on. The only thing I would recommend to the author would be to enter the date or year at the beginning of the time warp. I don't think this story could be told in any other order. those were my only two hang-ups. Stephen King scary!! THANK YOU for the read Mr. Terri!!!! I'm still curious if the end of the book, was only the beginning of another chapter... :-)

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Q2ETTRS/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i3

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

A book of timeless horror.

Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 starsA master work of the creepy and atmospheric

By Red Butleron March 16, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Review of 29 Argyle Drive by David Turri


Holy cow! Where do I begin to talk about the masterful storytelling here? I am shocked. What a great author this Mr. Turri truly is, this book of timeless horror offers New Zealand history that fascinates, a magnanimous creepy vibe that runs throughout, and great characters of realism, endearment and supreme sleaze of malevolence. The text is written in an astounding flow of slick ease, with grand dialogue and proper editing that pops the story in your subconscious. This one pops and crackles in all the right places, with candor and precision that makes me wish every book from now on will read this way. I have never seen 287 pages fly like this in a long time. Mr. Turri should be famous no doubt. For anyone that has ever lived in a haunted house the story will ring true, and surely this author has direct knowledge of these heinous situations. This is a profoundly impressive horror classic story. I was so impressed by the iron mind of the author as to detail of people, places and things, a man that knows research, writing, social issues, family issues, psychology and the spiritual effects of immorality on society. I am a huge fan after this remarkable story with the nuanced conclusion.

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Escarpment, a book worth reading

Customer Review

US    - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0725JJS71

Japan - https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/B0725JJS71

 

5.0 out of 5 starsA Funny and Powerful Tale

ByMichael P. Hartnetton April 4, 2018

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

 

Escarpment by David Turri is a simultaneously humorous yet moving journey through Japan and its war-torn legacy. Our narrator Dave is a cantankerous, self-deprecating guide to an expatriate’s vision of a country inhabited both by its intense economic present and its bloody, haunted past. The up-and-coming businessman Matt serves as the conduit between these worlds as his somnambulant soul is inhabited by a sergeant in lost his life in the brutal Battle of Okinawa back in 1945. Turri deftly handles this layered plot in humorous ways as the long-suffering Dave seems as cursed by the burden of Matt’s peregrinations as Matt is by the ghosts of lost Japanese soldiers. Much of the extraordinary underlying story is related by scholar Mr. Shimizu, who has a gift for spinning evocative accounts of the horribly brutal battles on that island.


Ultimately, Escarpment amounts to a loopy, yet powerful novel that makes compelling and original connections even as most the characters are reluctant participants. That reluctance and grounded outlook give the spiritual elements of the plot gravity and fill the work with authentic, character-driven humor. David’s wife Keiko is absolutely hilarious and her combination of morality and hostility gives the novel a wonderful edge. As Dave wryly explains, “There is not a wife in the world that cannot reinforce an existing problem by adding walls, pouring in concrete and making it a stronger, bigger and almost insurmountable one.”


Turri has given the readers a daring and lively tale here. Escarpment is truly an adventure story that offers great understanding of the savagery of war’s legacy even as it pulses with a big-hearted, charming humanity.

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.

 

Cold Case Japan: The Miyazawa Family Murders

The Wikipedia entry is itself chilling…

Location:  Setagaya, Tokyo

Date:  December 30, 2000

Target: Miyazawa family

Attack type: Mass murder, home invasion

Weapon: Knife

Deaths: 4

Perpetrator:  Unknown

 

The murders happened during the night of December 30, 2000, inside a house in Setagaya, a Tokyo ward.

Mikio Miyazawa, a businessman, lived there with his wife, Yasuko, who was a teacher, their 5-year-old daughter Nina and six-year-old son, Rei. The time was about 10:45 at night. Mikio was downstairs finishing a work-related matter on his computer. Yasuko and Nina were in the loft room watching TV. Rei was asleep.

The intruder, armed with a sashimi knife he had purchased at a hardware store earlier in the day, climbed over the back fence and up a tree to a second-floor bathroom window through which he gained access. He went first to Rei’s room, but he didn’t use the knife on the boy; smothering him with his own pillow instead.

Mikio must have heard some suspicious noise. He went up the stairs to investigate and surprised the intruder on the second-floor landing. He attacked Mikio with the sashimi knife – ten stab wounds about the face and neck that sent him tumbling dead to the bottom of the stairs.

Mother and daughter, coming down the ladder from the loft, watched the attack in horror. The intruder came after them, stabbing and slashing at both in a frenzy.

But suddenly, in the midst of the attack, he pulled back – coming to his senses and appalled by his own blood lust? Afraid the screams would bring people to the house before he could escape? He ran away, down the stairs.

Yasuko and Nina were badly wounded, but at least they were alive. Crawling about through their own blood, they found the family first-aid box and began to treat each other’s injuries as best they could, at least to try to stop the bleeding.

But the intruder has not escaped. He had just gone to the kitchen. The sashimi knife had broken during the attack; he needed a sturdier weapon to finish what he had started. Running back upstairs, he renewed his attack on the mother and her daughter with the cutting knife he had found in the kitchen. Even after they were dead, he continued stabbing at their corpses. The ferocity of the assault was far worse than the one he inflicted on Mikio. Afterwards, he covered their faces.

The family had been butchered; and the intruder paid them a final indignity. He stayed in the house. He stayed for several hours. He made himself at home. He was hungry, so he raided the refrigerator for ice cream. He took a crap, and didn’t flush the toilet. He took a nap on the sofa. He used Mikio’s computer to browse the internet. It was broad daylight when he left.

He had cut himself in the hand during the struggle; the wound might have been deep. He tried to stanch the bleeding with bandages from the first-aid box, so that his own blood was left there with the wife's and daughter's. His was Type-A.

In his roaming around, he left bandages strewn about the kitchen and the living room. When the bandages ran out, he used sanitary pads he found, leaving them sodden with blood in the bathtub. That became the repository for a lot of his trash – the ripped up ice cream cartons, for example.

He hunted out various items of personal identification – bank books and cards, Mikio’s driver’s license – and tried to deduce the PIN numbers. Two empty wallets were found lying around. Police estimate that about one-hundred and fifty thousand yen was missing. About $1,500.

He walked out of the front door sometime mid-morning.

Later that day, at a station a long way from the Setagaya district, a man in his thirties and wearing a black down jacket and jeans came into a medical center attached to the station to get treatment for a deep cut in his hand. He didn’t identify himself, more did he explain his he got the wound. After getting the cut cleaned and bandaged, he walked out of the clinic.

The investigation of the murders has involved 246,000 police officers. More than 12,000 pieces of evidence were collected at the scene. Sixteen thousand tips from the public. A twenty million yen reward. Eighteen years later, there are 37 officers still active in the investigation.

The house remains as it was – cordoned off, the windows boarded up,, police tape coming loose, weeds growing high in the garden. It is a duplex. The Miyazawa family lived on one side, and the mother, sister and brother-in-law of Yasuko on the other. At one time, it was part of an upper-middle class neighborhood that ranged along the edges of a municipal park. 

In the years immediately before the murders, extensive plans were made for the park’s expansion into the neighborhood. Negotiations had already been completed with the other households, compensation paid and they had already moved. Only the Miyazawa family remained, and they planned to move out the following spring.

Some things had happened in the days before the murders. Mikio had gotten into a confrontation with a group of rowdy teenagers in the skateboard arena; or it might have been a gang of bikers. Yasuko mentioned an unfamiliar car parked in front of the house; strangers wandering around.

At about 10:00 thee night of the murders, a passerby reported hearing the sounds of arguing coming from the house. At 11:30, Yasuko’s mother heard a loud banging noise from next door. Sometime after midnight, a cab driver picked up three middle-aged men in the vicinity of the house and dropped them off at a nearby station. They sat grim and silent during the ride, the cabbie remembered. After he dropped them off, he noticed some blood stains on the back seat.

The amount of evidence the murderer left behind was bewildering. Items almost like a deliberately manufactured crime scene, in which some pieces fit very neatly, but others just cause confusion.

The intruder discarded a lot of the clothes he came in and left the house in an old sweater from Mikio’s wardrobe. Police found – a sweatshirt, a pair of gloves, a hat, scarf, a handkerchief, jacket and a fanny bag. And he left his bloody foot and fingerprints all over the house.

A statement sure to have upset the Tokyo skateboarding community: “Thee outfit the perpetrator wore resembled clothes a skateboarder might wear.”

Traces of a cologne or aftershave called Drakkar Noir were found on the handkerchief. Again, another rash statement; “Drakkar Noir is said to be popular with the skateboarding crowd.”

From the footprints, his sneakers were identified at Slazenger’s, but not of a size easily bought in Japan. Size 9 is sold in Korean.

All of the clothes had previously been washed, but in “hard” water. Japan uses “soft” water. Hard water is used in Korea.

DNA analysis revealed that the killer was of mixed race. His father was probably Korean; his mother having her roots in a Mediterranean country.

The fanny bag revealed the most bizarre pieces of evidence. First, a piece of grip-tape that was used in the care and repair of skateboards. Next, traces of zelkova and willow leaves, of which the park behind the house was full. Finally, a grain of sand that was identified to have come from the Mojave Desert, near Edward’s Air Force base.

But as the years passed, and with technological advances, the evidence is constantly reevaluated. Now it is believed that the grain of sand came not from an American desert, but from the Miura peninsula, in Japan.

The motive. What was it? What are possible scenarios?

The most accepted is a psycho skateboarder brooding over the upbraiding in the park he got from Mikio a few nights before. The resentment consuming him until it drove him ballistic. Perhaps he was the American-Korean son of a military officer stationed at one of the US Army bases.

Robbery? A lot of drawers and cupboards had been ransacked. Some cash was missing, but not a great deal. One theory, the subject of a sensational book a couple of years ago, is that the family had recently received a huge amount of compensation in cash from the city for losing their house and land to the park’s expansion. According to the theory, a shady real estate developer with connections to the yakuza had gotten wind that the cash was in the house. He had hired a Korean hit-man to kill the family and then find the money. The Japanese writer of the book claims to have personally interviewed the hit-man. But against the claim is the fact that any financial transaction between the city and the family would have gone through the bank no not involved a cash handover.

One specific piece of evidence snagged my attention. 

Forensic analysis found a red fluorescent agent in the perpetrator’s discarded clothes. This was identified as used in stage property painting and design. Similar trace amounts were identified in the garage. But that was a place the intruder didn’t enter that night. Does this indicate a previous visit to the house? Or at least to the garage?

He accessed websites on Mikio’s computer, twice. The first time was at 1:18 in the morning; the second time, at 10:05, after which he unplugged the computer no finally left the house. Both times, he went into only bookmarked sites. 

One of these was of a popular Japanese theater company. Mikio is believed to have had a passion for the theater, especially for that particular group. The perpetrator made an unsuccessful attempt to buy tickets from that bookmarked site.

Was there a personal relationship between them? Could they have been linked by a shared passion for things theatrical? Could that relationship have been more intimate? Consider the ferocious amount of violence inflicted upon the two female members of the family, even after they were dead. Was he jealous of them? And, in contrast, the way the little boy died – smothered or strangled, almost without pain.

Looked at in this light, the intruder’s long sojourn in the house takes on an even more sinister meaning. The family was dead. He was no longer an intruder. This was his house now. To roam about in; to eat and take a nap in, to crap in. To luxuriate in. He was home.

And at Mikio’s computer, looking with fond memories at the bookmarked theater group site, maybe he thought: Shall we go to a performance together, Mikio-san, one last time? Let’s see if I can buy us two tickets. Nope, I can’t. Too bad.

The brutal murders of the Miyazawa family is one of the most heinous crimes in modern Japanese history. Will it ever be solved? For the thirty-seven detectives still actively working the case nearly twenty years on, the answer must be an affirmative.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comment

David Turri

Although I was born in England, I have lived in Japan for the past forty years. That’s why this country, its people and history, form the backdrop to many of my novels. I have no big ideas to peddle; I consider myself a simple story-teller and work hard at my craft. I spin my stories in such disparate genres as horror, espionage, war, occult - and humor. I live in Osaka with a wife, two grown daughter and two young grand-daughters – the whole catastrophe, as Zorba describes married life.