The G.O.D. Journal: a search for true gold (a novel)
After he accidentally kills his wife, Baxter runs. Hiding in his derelict boyhood home in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, he discovers a journal that leads to a treasure of gold. With the guiding hand of a deranged hunter and Wall Street financier, Baxter discovers true gold is concealed in the heart of a woman who helps him search for an Anasazi pictograph that is the key to the family treasure.
J.A. Baxter is not who he seems. After high school he takes a new name and makes himself into a high-dollar Texas oil man. But when he accidentally kills his trophy wife in a way that looks like murder, he resumes his original identity and hides in Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
When he discovers a family journal full of riddles that lead to a long-lost family treasure marked by an ancient Indian pictograph, he enlists the help of Professor Marshall Garvin, an Anasazi rock-art expert, and Garvin’s niece, Elby.
After Garvin accidentally kills a man in hot pursuit of Baxter, a deranged hunter and Wall Street financier with the initials G.O.D. steps in as judge and jury. He renders a verdict that reveals the true treasure: Elby’s dream for redemption that begins with saving the life of G.O.D.
Fiction>Adventure, Thriller, Suspense
I call it a Literary Thriller. What does that mean to me? Not as fast-paced (frantic) as most top-selling thrillers, with more character development and less violence.
Anasazi, pictograph, petroglyph, Pagosa Springs, Colorado, gold, treasure, Weminuche Wilderness, backpacking, hiking, Wall Street, manslaughter
RSS (Ridiculously Simplified Synopsis)
With the bizarre help of a deranged Wall Street financier with the initials G.O.D., a man discovers true gold.
After a man with an assumed identity accidentally kills his wife, he flees to his boyhood home and resumes his true identity, only to be caught up in a search for a storied treasure of gold with the help of an Anasazi rock-art expert, his daughter Elby, and a strange man with the initials G.O.D.
Jedediah Aberdene Baxter: The true name of an abused boy from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, who flees to Texas and assumes the fake identity of Tom Oley, and becomes a successful oil man, only to accidentally kill his trophy wife and return to Pagosa Springs to hide.
Marshall Garvin: A retired professor of geology who specializes in Anasazi rock art in south-central Colorado, who helps find the ancient pictograph that is the central clue in finding the storied Baxter’s gold.
Elizabeth “Elby” Elder: Garvin’s niece, herself as abused as Baxter and perhaps the only person who can truly understand him.
Trevor Williams: One of the richest men in Texas who provided backing to Baxter’s deep exploratory gas well in northeast Texas and pressured his doll-like daughter, Pam, to marry Baxter. After Baxter did not provide Williams with a grandson, he turned against Baxter.
Wilson Reeves: Baxter’s next-door neighbor (when Baxter was known as Tom Oley), who worked for Trevor Williams and had an affair with Baxter’s wife, Pam, making her pregnant.
Gerald Oliver Dodge (a.k.a. “Glory Dog”): A deranged Wall Street savant who helped make Trevor Williams rich, and who thinks of himself as a kind of god of mirror images, which he uses to impose a bizarre style of justice when he and his three men go on their annual elk-hunting expeditions near Pagosa Springs, Colorado.
Stoddard (a.k.a. “Stickface”): Dodge’s chief of staff and hunting companion. He’s nearly paralyzed in the presence of women.
Haymer (a.k.a. “Ball Peen”): Dodge’s chief financial investigator and hunting companion, who is a womanizer.
Keemo: Dodge’s chief of security, a mysterious Native American who is the only one among the annual Dodge elk hunt who always makes a kill.
“High ground that is worn down becomes low ground. The justice of geological time. The mirror of the natural world. The pinnacle of finding gold, only to discover there is something more valuable. The desire to make a man—or, in JAB’s case, a woman—stop, only to have them become dead. Highs and lows. Spike up, spike down. Like the zigzags of the market. Or on your Anasazi marker, Professor. The pattern of the pursued, a rabbit darting for its life. A good hunter knows and prepares for the prey to run right into his arms.” —Gerald Oliver Dodge as Glory Dog
“I’d do it again,” Baxter said, working his jaw. “I’ve read about the Navajo burning their hogans to get rid of evil spirits. That’s what I did. That’s what Elby needs to do. That’s what we all need to do. Burn down the past. Start over again.”
“What kind of man kills his wife without meaning to, then burns down a house without meaning to? At the very best, you’re an unlucky man. At the worst…well, hell, I don’t know.” —Marshall Garvin
“I wanted to burn my father’s house down long ago,” Elby said. “I almost did. I had everything ready. Gasoline. Matches. A suitcase packed. But I had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. I couldn’t bring myself to do it.”
“I only submit to God when I have no choice.” —Marshall Garvin
“Rape is no different than hunting—creeping forward with your hard, erect weapon ready to pierce your prey, then jumping out and stabbing them with it, over and over, while they flail and scream and blood soaks everything, and you men like it so much you keep doing it in every, every generation.” She sobbed. “Every time you hunt, you re-enact the rape and pillage of entire continents by sneaking through the woods and flinging your weapons at the innocent creatures of the forest.” —Elby
Settings & Locations
Setting is present day. The story begins in Dallas, Texas, then quickly moves to Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The bulk of the action takes place in Pagosa Springs and in the Weminuche Wilderness north of there. There are short scenes in New York City and El Paso, Texas.
Pagosa Springs, Colorado: Important locations in town include Hermosa Street along the San Juan River, and Seventh Street.
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado: Important locations in the Weminuche Wilderness, north of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, include Fourmile Trailhead, the Anderson Trail, the meadow east of Pagosa Peak skirted by Anderson Trail, Upper Fourmile Lake, and the upper reaches of Deadman Canyon.
Themes & Symbolism
Guilt vs. Innocence: The fine, blurry line between murder and manslaughter, between the need to protect and the desire to destroy.
Gold Lust: How the proximity of enormous wealth warps the human time-space continuum like a black hole in interstellar space.
Love: True gold, the real treasure.
Redemption: How those who may be guilty in a formal court of law may redeem themselves in the informal court of reality.
Justice: How unexpected renderings of justice can bring about a greater social justice.
Copyright and Credits
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Published by Hot Water Press, HotWaterPress.com.
Copyright ©2012 by Jeff Posey
Trade Paper ISBN-13: 978-0615612850 (Hot Water Press), ISBN-10: 0615612857
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This Hot Water Press edition is published under authority of Jeff Posey.
Cover photo of the bloody handprint copyright nrey/Veer.
Image of Anasazi pictograph drawing is by the author.