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Ted Botha

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Ted Botha Latest

The Animal Lover

‘The Animal Lover’ began as a novel in installments that I first posted on the blog. Start reading it here! Or, for anyone with a Kindle or iPhone, just click here.

The story in brief: Our hero, Upton Magna, the sadsack, ditty-writing son of evil Solomon Magna, a millionaire businessman in London, has been posted/sidelined to West Africa to find exports for his father, but he’s not doing very well. On a whim he starts following the mysterious, gorgeous Ella Bazaar on a madcap journey in search of an okapi that has been stolen. (If you don’t know what an okapi is, don’t fret.) At the same time, he starts reading the 1939 diary of one Hercule Perpignon, dashing hero, canal builder and hunter (at least for a short while, this being a novel about animal love) on a coconut plantation in wartime West Africa. As Hercule’s adventures with the lovely young mistress of the plantation, Sylvie, get more intense, so do Upton’s with Ella Bazaar. Coincidentally (or maybe not), strange things are happening in parts of the world where the evil Solomon Magna’s empire has its tentacles, and someone seems to be orchestrating his downfall. What is the connection between the demise of the Magna empire, Upton’s education on the road with Ella, and the diary? Or is there any at all? And who is the animal lover? If you think you know, think again. You are probably wrong.

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The Girl with the Crooked Nose

In The Girl with the Crooked Nose, Ted Botha tells the absorbing story of Frank Bender, a gifted, self-taught artist who can bring back the dead and the vanished through a unique, macabre sculpting talent. Bender has been the key to solving at least nine murders and tracking down numerous criminals. Then he is called upon to tackle the most challenging and bizarre case of his career. Someone is killing the young women of Juarez. Since 1993, the decomposing bodies of as many as four hundred victims, known as feminicidios, have been found in the desert surrounding this gritty Mexican border town.

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Video: “The Girl with the Crooked Nose”

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In 2003, prodded by local political pressure and international attention, the Mexican authorities turn to the United States to help solve these horrific crimes. The man they turn to is Bender. Through breathtakingly realistic sculptures, Bender reconstructs the faces of unknown murder victims or fugitives whose appearances are certain to have changed over years on the run. The busts are based in part on the painstaking application of forensic science to fleshless human skulls and in part on deep intuition, an uncanny ability to discern not only a missing face but also the personality behind it. Arriving in Mexico, Bender works in secrecy, in a culture of corruption and casual violence where the line between criminals and law enforcement is blurry, braving anonymous threats and sinister coincidences to give eight skulls back their faces and, hopefully, their histories. Drawn to one skull in particular- The Girl With the Crooked Nose -Bender gradually comes to suspect that perhaps he is not meant to succeed, and that the true solution to the mystery of the feminicidios is far more terrible than anyone has dared to imagine.

Ted Botha brilliantly weaves Bender’s story-the cases he has solved, the intricacies of his art, the colorful characters he encounters, and the personal cost of his strange obsession-with the chilling story of the Juarez investigation. With a conclusion as shocking as its story is gripping, The Girl with the Crooked Nose will haunt readers long after the last page is turned.

ISBN-13: 9781400065332
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