River of Madness

Emmett Durkin, chief of the Philadelphia-based Rebner Foundation’s Research Station Four, expects a couple of years of scientific research in South America. He gets a lot more than what he bargained for.
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He took another step toward me. And grinned. “I should have got St. John to say a prayer for you.” Then he burst into laughter. “Jesus, Durkin, you’re about to die and you’re standing here in rubber gloves holding—what in hell are those?”

“Poison-dart frogs. That’s why the gloves, Ted.” And his disgusted grimace gave me a flicker of hope. “Remember? I told you their sweat can kill. And these little bastards are damned nervous.”

* * *

Emmett Durkin, chief of the Philadelphia-based Rebner Foundation’s Research Station Four, stands on the 20-foot-high embankment overlooking the Amazon’s Trombetas River. He accepted a science posting in South America thinking he and his new wife, Felicia, would enjoy a two-year period of “unhurried scientific study” cataloging marine specimens for the Foundation.

For the first few months, all was as expected. Then, Theodore Rebner, screw-up nephew of the Foundation’s chairman, Oliver Rebner, showed up somewhat unexpectedly. The questions were why was Theodore in the humid climes of the Amazon? What was his purpose with Station Four?

What follows is a contentious period of conflict between Durkin and Rebner that soon spills over into the lives of the others at Station Four.

Bill Hallstead has crafted a novel of intrigue, action, passions, and more. The characters of River of Madness are well developed and the descriptions of the river and action by Hallstead quickly allows readers into the story as if they were at the Amazon with Emmett, Felicia, and Ted.

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