The Dung Beetles of Liberia: A Novel Based on True Events
What happens when one tires of the routine of normal everyday life? Ken Verrier has found himself in this quandary and desires a change. Ken is battling survivor’s guilt due to the untimely death of his brother. Ken feels his family blames him, despite his girlfriend’s reassurances. His father decides to aid Ken in his quest and makes some calls guiding Ken to a new opportunity in Liberia. Ken is employed by a small aviation outfit called Air Africa Services. His job is to fly passengers and cargo throughout Liberia and surrounding regions. Ken is surrounded by German expatriates, who drink heavily, sing the praises of the long dead Hitler, and fret the presence of Israeli spies. The job is fraught with peril, whether dangerous conditions or the possibility of the airline going bankrupt. Ken’s days are filled with white knuckle take offs and teeth gnashing landings. The country of Liberia is ruled with the iron fist of President Tubman, who shares fascist leanings with the minority population, while ruthlessly dealing with detractors. Ken performs his job with aplomb, but he also has to bribe countless officials to carry out his daily tasks while also doling out spare change to the poverty stricken populace he runs into.
Ken flies by day and drinks himself into oblivion by night. The pattern doesn’t waver until he meets Ana, a beautiful young woman who works in the German Embassy. Despite his stateside relationship, Ken is intrigued and smitten with Ana. Unfortunately, Ana’s time in the country is temporary, and Ken contemplates remaining in Liberia. Ken views the country as stable, but signs are indicating trouble on the horizon. As soon as Ken is bidding Ana goodbye, he encounters the bewitching wife of an Israeli official. He is approached with the job of spying on his new boss, while the wife seduces him. The danger is inherent in both activities. Ken’s life is threatened by the continuing battles of the Cold War as well as the environment. The question remains about whether Ken can survive a tropical paradise full of intrigue and betrayal with his sanity intact.
The Dung Beetles of Liberia is a fast paced real life thriller worthy of an action movie. The story weaves drama, dark comedy, and romance throughout a rich tapestry of narration. Daniel Meier captivates his reading audience with his telling of a wayward youth desiring a sense of purpose in a rapidly downward-spiraling world. This is a great read for all to behold.
|Daniel V. Meier, Jr.
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