I thought, after a really nasty attitude by a traffic cop roadblock, that I might just understand the ultimate road rage of losing it completely and blowing them away. That action which would send one’s life to hell because of one stupid emotional blow-out.
PURGATORY ROAD – self-published 2008. Originally written in the ‘70s, this is another non-PC tale set in Southern Africa. I didn’t try to dolly it up to meet our more exacting PC obligations of the present, but to reflect the moment in history through the eyes of a South African pale-face.
At the time, in the early ‘70s, Apartheid South Africa was under siege from the self-righteous West and by the Communist Block (in retrospect, a weird alliance.) From a vision of Southern Africa’s nations proudly developing their own states separately, Apart-ness morphed into a majority oppressed by a privileged minority. Of course the vision was flawed, and even naive, but the intentions were, I perhaps also naively think, not bad. They just could not come to fruition in any practical manner, so the experiment exploded when nobody else shared the impractical dream.
The Bush War in Rhodesia was in full cry. Both the Rhodesians and South Africans were under sanctions. Petrol was rationed; speed limits to save fuel were in force. PURGATORY ROAD unfolds against that background as a stockfeed salesman speeds home to his little farm at midnight and runs afoul of a roadblock manned by corrupt police. He stands to lose his little dream-farm, and his job.
He snaps. Minutes later, he is a murderer.
At home, he finds that his wife, a city girl, has left him. With a death sentence awaiting him and nothing to live for, he sets off for Rhodesia and the Bush War, to commit a useful suicide.
It is a tale of redemption set against the powder-keg of 1970s Southern Africa.
What sets Peter J Earle’s debut novel,
Purgatory Road, apart from the
rest of the genre is his compelling
no-nonsense, fast-paced narrative using
credible characters and a strong
sense of location, delivered in
In short: refreshing and remarkable.
– READERS’ FORUM BOOK CLUB –
just ripe for the
picking with an
and an incredible
the terrain. – Dexter Petley, author.
“...Stafford is a product of his times — born in South Africa well before the end of apartheid and white-minority rule in that country, drawn to again take up arms to defend white-minority rule in Rhodesia as a death-wish penance for his horrible crime. Earle makes no apologies for Stafford being on the wrong side of history and portrays the time and place of his novel with unblinking frankness and the same absence of apologia….Stafford knows he is caught in a vise and that’s what makes this such a classic noir tale. The setting may be the veldt, but the feel is the concrete urban jungle of American noir. Earle deftly ratchets up the fear and pressure while masterfully bringing to life one country well before its dramatic change and another that no longer exists. That’s what makes PURGATORY ROAD such a crackling read.” – Jim Nesbitt, author of THE LAST SECOND CHANCE and THE RIGHT WRONG NUMBER
Enquiries and Orders for the soft-cover edition from me: firstname.lastname@example.org