Peruvian adventure Story "Peckerwood Twist"
Peruvian Amazon Adventure
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Peckerwood Twist      Review page two
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Conan Tigard Book Reviewer
Read an Excerpt:

Our trek to the town of Paucartambo was uneventful.
This town also had neither electricity, nor toilets that flushed. As this point, I'd be more surprised if I saw a typical toilet. I'd probably head straight for it like a male dog seeing its first tree in days after running across the Sahara.

We'd arrived in time for the Festival of Paucartambo. We walked around town to see what was available in the way of transportation and ended up meeting the town mayor, an attractive woman whose bloodline was half-Peruvian and half-Venezuelan. She seemed highly-educated and told us she spoke four languages fluently.

The mayor walked with us and explained that Peruvian families had brought the wares they'd made over the past year to sell. During the festival, the town became a gigantic flea market.

"These few days of festival are very important to the Peruvians as it is a way for them to get money to see them through the following year," she told us.

I leaned over and whispered to Ursula, "Now I see why the men knit non-stop."

All around us were round faces and high cheekbones of the locals. Like the other Peruvians I'd seen, these were also short in stature. Many of the children had runny noses, just like the children I'd seen before. Though I wasn't sure at what age it happened, adults had the weathered look of those who live high up in the Andes, the freeze-dried effect, maybe. And, of course, nearly everyone we saw had a blackened mouth.

I think because we were American, the mayor invited us to stay at her hacienda while we were waited for a ride back to Cuzco which wasn't possible, she told us, until the next day. The mayor escorted us to her home, which was simple, but nicer than most of the dwellings we saw on the way. Near her house was a waterfall that split into two rivers. One river moved toward the town of Paucartambo, The other lost itself in the jungle, most likely heading towards the Amazon basin.

She showed us to our room so we could drop off our gear, and asked what we'd like to do. We still had the rest of the day to ourselves, so decided to enjoy the festival along with the mayor, who insisted she be our guide.

We were getting ready to go back to town, so I picked up my backpack. Ursula told me we wouldn't need to carry anything with us. The mayor was watching this exchange. I was anxious about leaving everything there, but realized if I acted anything but casual, it would draw attention. More than likely, no one would dare anger the mayor by stealing from her guests. I put the backpack down and hoped this wasn't the last time I saw the bedroll.

There were real, live gauchos in town; and my guess was they'd traveled from Bolivia just to raise hell. They were great horsemen and rode at full-gallop around town, even on the cobblestone streets, chasing the men and women who ran ahead of them as part of the festivities. They created quite a sight as their full-length leather coats, still muddy from the long journey to Paucartambo, flowed wildly behind them.

Strangely-dressed men who seemed almost clown-like, but unlike typical American clowns, ran on foot; and as it seemed customary, also chased everyone. What was unique was the fact each man carried in his hands what appeared to be a penis with testicles attached. They took great pleasure in chasing the women around with their newly-acquired genitalia. I decided not to ask which animals were now singing some high Cs. At least, I hoped they came from animals.

Like most towns in South America, there was a plaza and a church at its center. The one here was beautiful; and, the mayor informed us, the people were very proud that this church, in particular, had a noted priest in its history.

"The priest was a famous orator," the mayor said as we climbed up the steps in front of the church and walked in through the front doors. "When he died, the people missed him so much they cut out his tongue and preserved it."

We reached the altar and the mayor gestured towards a large clear jar with what looked like a cow's tongue floating in liquid. "And here he is," she bragged. Ursula took one look then quickly went in the opposite direction.

"As you see, the jar has been decorated in religious finery," the mayor said proudly.

"Good thing he wasn't known to be an excellent lover."

The mayor turned towards me, and in a most deliberate and careful way said, "Some have their tongues revered, others eaten." Then she turned and left.

Ursula was on the front steps, but had heard this exchange. "It's too bad your mouth moved before your brain had a chance to think."

"I couldn't let it pass by. It wouldn't seem right."


Sam Paris is a man in his mid-sixties and lives in Port Selerno, Florida. He is having a drink in his favorite bar, the Peckerwood, when a couple enters the bar. They have come in for a case of Peckerwood hot sauce. While the woman talks to some of the men in the bar, Sam and the man, Harry Parker, have a drink together. Harry is a writer and is looking for interesting stories. So, Sam starts to tell Harry about something that happened to him twenty some odd years ago, in 1985.

Sam was homeless in New York City and is approached by a German woman named Ursula. She offers Sam money to help her out with something, and they end up flying to Peru to look for a downed pilot. They take a train that is heading to Cuzco and a man tries to give Sam a black bag. When Sam refuses to take the bag, the man ends up hiding it in the bathroom just before he is arrested and dragged off the train. Ursula retrieves the bag, which ends up having hundreds of thousands of dollars in it.

They arrive in Cuzco and get a room in a hotel. While at the bar, two French men and two French women show some interest in Sam, but Sam really doesn't want to have anything to do with them. He blows them off and soon names them the Cuzco Four, because they lkeep popping up everywhere, That night, the owner of the hotel, Carlos, tries to steal the Ursula and Sam's money, and Ursula kills him.  As they hop on the boat to Tequile, the Cuzco Four jump on after them.

Later, while resting beside a river, Sam meets Frank, a mysterious man who wants to meet Sam on the following day. After Frank disappears, Ursula claims that she didn't see Frank, but agrees that Sam should meet him tomorrow. The next day, out on the water in Frank's boat, Sam and Frank trade compasses. Frank informs Sam that he is there to help Frank and the native people. Sam returns to Ursula confused by all that Frank has told him.

Later, Ursula admits that they are not in Peru looking for a lost pilot. They are really there to help get Sigmund Wasser out of the country. Sigmund and his father, Dr. Wasser, have been working in Peru for forty years continuing the work Dr. Wasser started in Germany during World War II as a Nazi scientist. Dr. Wasser had experiments on Jewish twins during the war. Ursula, who now claims that she is a Nazi Hunter, says that they need to get Sigmund back to the U.S. so he an his father can be stand trial for their crimes. Ursula tells Sam that he is the spitting image of Sigmund and they want to use Sam's passport to get Sigmund out of Peru. Sam agrees to help Ursula and doesn't realize that he has just stepped on the biggest hornet's nest in South America.

Peckerwood Twist is the thriller written by Nathan Lichtwar. It is the story of a man who it taken to Peru to help find a missing pilot. What he finds instead is peril and intrigue and a group of Nazi Hunters.

Peckerwood Twist is an interesting thriller written by a man that has lived on the sea for 45 years. Captain Nathan Lichtwar, of the U.S. Coast Guard, has put to pen and created a story that is full of mystery and deception. The first half of the tale deals with Sam and Ursula travelling though Peru, going from town to town, heading for the place where the pilot went missing. Everyone seems to be after the money they found, and Ursula leaves a trail of dead bodies in her wake. Sam fought in Vietnam, so he is no stranger to violence, but he is a pacifist at heart. The second part of the story deals with Sam and Ursula coming to the aid of Sigmund Wasser and getting things set up so they can get him back to the United States. Throughout both parts of the story, the reader is left wondering whether Frank is real or not. If Frank is a figment of Sam's imagination, how did he end up with Frank's compass? And the gold . . . where is all the gold we keep hearing about? All of these questions are answered, although I am still a little foggy on the Frank issue.

Lichtwar has created an interesting story in Peckerwood Twist and I found that I had a good time reading it. His robust descriptions of Peru made me feel I was standing right there beside Sam and Ursula. I could almost feel the suffocating humidity as they trekked through the jungle going from town to town. There is a lot of misdirection in this story and I had no idea what was going to happen next. At first, I was quite confused by the swastika on cover, and it wasn't until I was halfway through the book until it all became clear. The surprise ending and then the revelation after the surprise left me reeling. Overall, Peckerwood Twist is a great first novel by a man that has probably lived a lot of what is in this book, at least it feels that way to me. I look forward to reading more adventures with Sam Paris in the future.

I rated this book an 8 out of 10.

 Cover Design by: Kristin C. Klaiber
Editing and re-writing provided by
Joyce Shafer

Peckerwood Twist©