Fever Tree: Tim Applegate
Changing the way people perceive you is not always easy. The minute Dieter enter Crooked River, Florida his whole life changed. The people living there enjoy gossiping, speculating and thinking about why someone like him during the time period of the 60’ and 70’s would choose to live in an old hotel in this town. The town speculated and gossiped creating their own reasons as he, Dieter did not want to talk about his past and by not doing that he sets off a chain of events that could prove fatal as the town drug lord, Teddy Mink, thinks he is there to take over his territory. Things start to change as Dieter’s story is shared with readers and we learn about his wife and how she died leaving him alone and empty inside and wanting to start over somewhere else, But, Maggie Patterson’s path crosses his hoping somehow his life would change but first Maggie has some demons to deal with on her own. Crooked River is not a town that many of us would visit or want to live in yet he does. Dieter is into drugs to wash away his pain yet hiding the fact that he is a well-known novelist deciding to work and help Mr. Gold in his store just to help the man and never asking for a dime. Dieter appears to be able to confront danger and yet when dealing with him he remains a mystery to most. In order to create his own log or journal and write his second novel he decides to visualize and depict the town and the people by writing short paragraphs about them and then when speaking with his sister who wants him to return home, he begins writing his novel titled Fever Tree. Sometimes the pain outweighs the realities and he often takes drugs, drinks and when the author shares the plot of the first novel he begins to think he might be the main character and end up on a beach collapsing with blood coming or pouring of his mouth. Told in his voice we hear his struggles, understand his fears and learn why he and Maggie might make a better pair. Yet, Maggie is seeing Colt Taylor a drug mule working for Teddy Mink and although he claims to care for her and their son, he cannot seem to stop his ways, violence and even cheating on her. Colt fears Dieter in his own way and the plot involves his friendship with a young Mexican who is friends with her boyfriend and there lies more danger.
Dieter appears to be working for Mr. Gold yet when questioned he becomes defensive and when someone close to Mr. Gold asks why he says he will back off if that is necessary. But, Dieter is a character that is complex and yet he warms up to readers as does Maggie who finally realizes that Colt is toxic for Hunter their son and that having him in her bed is bad and his whole demeanor not what she wants. But, when things spiral out of control and someone cuts him up she has no choice but to nurse him back to health before finally cutting him lose. However, someone else is watching Dieter and although Colt is not a hit man he is hired to make sure that Dieter is eliminated since Teddy Mink wants him gone. No one realizes that he is an author until Mr. Gold starts bragging about it and that he is living in the old hotel and working for him. Others have read the book and many just steer clear of him as he and Maggie begin to bond but will someone end it all before things wind up for them both?
Gene the bartender was beholden to Mink and fearful of him as he came into the bar and asked for information about Dieter. Her friend Lureen married to Raul noticed a change in him just what kind of a hold did Teddy Mink have on him and why was he chosen to take out Dieter? Why were so many afraid of him and why didn’t he realize why Dieter really came to this small town? A confrontation what would change the lives of many and one man who refused to give up on his vision for what he wanted and it just might cost him his life? Who lives and who dies and who will live to understand the meaning of love, trust, honesty and the will to change for the better who will understand the magic behind the music of Fever Tree. I listened to some of their songs so that I would get the flavor of the music and the band. Sad, somber, soft and yet filled with meaning. This is a heartwarming story of love, revenge, redemption, hope, healing and finding a new path in life. Author Tim Applegate brings all of these issues and family loyalty to light in this heartfelt novel
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine
Fever Tree features strong, unique characters who face difficult challenges, and Dieter’s story is sure to resonate with those who appreciate narrative depth. Misunderstandings, crime, and love all add to this story of self-discovery.
A mysterious stranger arrives in town: It’s one of the oldest plots in history. But Oregon poet Tim Applegate gives it a fresh twist in his debut novel, “Fever Tree” (Amberjack Publishing, 232 pages, $13.99).
The stranger, who goes simply by Dieter, is friendly but reserved, and the residents of the fictional Florida Panhandle town where he’s landed can’t resist trying to find out more about him. It turns out Dieter has chosen Crooked River, where his family vacationed when he was a child, to hunker down and lick a grievous wound in private – but fate has other plans for him.
Applegate, who lives outside Gaston, plans “Fever Tree” as the first volume in a trilogy set in the 1960s that will revolve around “people who sort of live on the edges, people who don’t quite fit into the box that society provides us.” For the first book, Applegate said, he started with the idea of a young man showing up
She would set her main character down in this Southern town and surround him with a group of true Southern eccentrics, and that’s what I did because I used to live in Florida and I’m very fond of that part of Florida.”
Applegate also looked to the 1960s in titling the book – “Fever Tree” commemorates a cult psychedelic band from that era. “They had a real following of avid fans and I was one of them,” Applegate said.
His literary influences include, in addition to O’Connor and film noir, the novelists Ernest Hemingway, Frederick Exley and James Salter. Of the latter two he said, “They’re both just consummate prose stylists … they influenced me because they just came at fiction from a different angle and that’s kind of what I’ve been trying to do.”
“I wanted to write a genre piece – suspense – but wanted to come at it unconventionally and I wanted it to have a distinctive voice.”
Applegate will read from “Fever Tree” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, at Annie Bloom’s Books, 7834 S.W. Capitol Highway, Portland.