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The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno by Charlie…
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The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno

by Charlie Courtland

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Showing 4 of 4
Joe Parker grows jalapenos. Spicy ones too. The secret to Joe’s spicy jalapenos is the compost he makes with the help of the sheriff and few other people in town. Then Vera shows up. The sheriff offers her protection in exchange for information. And Joe is that protection. How can Joe continue his operation if Vera is constantly around snooping? And why are things all of suddenly going seriously wrong? As Joe and Vera become closer, who can say what will become of the spicy jalapenos and their secrets.
Upon reading the first few pages, I realized that this book isn’t your grandmothers “who-done-it” tale of mystery, deceit and death. Courtland writes a story that is both wholesome and gruesome. A contradiction that somehow fully satisfies the reader. She also delves into human nature. Are humans good or bad; right or wrong? I enjoyed this book. Joe isn’t your average guy. And his problems aren’t run of the mill. I highly recommend this book, especially for anyone looking for a not so average tale! ( )
  allisonmacias | Feb 10, 2012 |
Book Title: The Secret of A Spicy Jalapeno
Author: Charlie Courtland
Publisher: Createspace
ISBN: 9781460977156
Reviewed by Michele Tater for the Couch Tater Review

Let us beware of saying that death is the opposite of life. The living being is only a species of the dead, and a very rare species. ~Friedrich Nietzsche

From the beginning pages of this book I was stunned. It starts with a concept so unreal that it gives the reader a shock to the system, in a good way. It proved that there are still story lines out there that have not been used yet. That being said, it is story set in a small town called Providence located in the Pacific Northwest. The sheriff in this seemingly quiet and safe town has seen a upturn in the a criminal element so he decides to do something about it in an environmental and social way. With the aide of his close friend Joe Parker, they decide to grow Jalapeno peppers in an organic way. This organic way of farming becomes the solution to the problem of truly evil people who happen to do wrong in Providence. Business starts to boom with no one in town the wiser of how can their peppers are hottest and the best tasting. Along comes Vera, a streetwise woman, with a shady and sad past. She is but in protective custody at the farm where Joe is in charge of the secret ingredient. Things change from then on with the operates of the business.

I don't want to let the body out of the bag or anything, so I will not say more about the plot. In my opinion it is a great read that has a horror story overtones and a unlike start of a love story as well. Characters are small town bred with simply ideals to life's big city problems. Must read for gardeners everywhere; caution, the secret ingredient mentioned in the book could get you in trouble to say it mildly. ( )
1 vote bluesky1775 | Jul 7, 2011 |
The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno by Charlie Courtland is a truly unique story that will leave you wanting more! In the small town of Providence, the crime rate is climbing and the local jail is feeling the strain from the full cells. When given the ultimatum to either raise taxes to build an addition onto the jail or early parole inmates, Sheriff Caine sets a plan in motion to not only keep his town safe and the crime rates down, but to make a little profit. In order for the secret plan to take place, Sheriff Caine enlists the help of a few close friends, including Joe Parker who has perfected his craft of being an organic farmer. Given a little time to work his magic, the Sheriff and Joe have the town feeling safe and the threat of raised taxes gone.

Joe Parker is a complex character who may do questionable things but has a great heart. He is shy, sticks to himself and is the guy in town that everyone finds a little creepy because they don't know hardly anything about him. Being taken in like a son by Sheriff Caine, Joe is perfectly happy with his isolated life and loves living on his farm and growing the best Jalapenos the area has to offer.

Vera Cruz is a woman with a troubled past who done whatever was needed to survive the cruelties of the street. She is desperately trying to escape the controlling grasp of her low-life drug dealing boyfriend Robby. Recognizing that the path she is on is only going to lead to her demise, she steals Robby's car and doesn't look back. Her plan is short-lived however when she is pulled over and the cops find Robby's hidden stash of cocaine that was concealed within the dashboard. With nowhere to go, Vera gives up information that will bust Robby in return for police protection. Vera is taken to Joe's farm where she ends up in the middle of Joe's questionable world.

The Secret of a Spicy Jalapeno is a breath of fresh air to the horror genre, filled with gruesome goodness that will keep you hooked. The budding romance between Joe and Vera balances the horror nicely and adds a bit of sweetness to this unusual tale. Even though both Joe and Vera have done questionable things, they understand the situation and each other and meld perfectly, just like Jalapeno Jam.

This book does contain graphic descriptions and should be read by mature audiences only. ( )
1 vote JaidisShaw | May 30, 2011 |
Plot recipe: Start with a few completely original and unforgettable characters and a large heaping of twisted gruesomeness, mix in a generous dash of humor, then add a splash of an unexpectedly sweet romance. That is what you'll find in The Secret of A Spicy Jalapeno. The story is crazy, horrid and often graphic but, like a bad car wreck, I couldn't make myself look away. If you're looking for a story to make you laugh while you cringe, this one's for you. ( )
  Darcia | May 8, 2011 |
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Some might say my job is unusual, if they knew what I did.
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“Sometimes it takes a violent and grotesque act for a character to experience a moment of grace. Perhaps, this is the truest path toward fictional redemption.” ~ Charlie Courtland
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Beyond the urban sprawl of a Pacific Northwest city lurks the peculiar little town of Providence and in it, an organic farmer named Joe Parker. Joe’s lurid story, or rather this particular piece of it, begins when Sheriff Caine fashions the big idea to grow jalapenos, albeit with questionable methods. The gritty scheme is plucked from the undercurrent of the sheriff’s self-righteous mind and carried out with the help of Joe’s skill, two local agents, and a coroner. Everything is progressing as planned. That is, until Vera Cruz, a prostitute and girlfriend of a drug dealer, is delivered late one night on Joe’s doorstep. The new houseguest suddenly complicates his routine. The woman bunking on the rear porch not only threatens to upset the jalapeno operation, but also Joe’s conviction about what is rightly just and intrinsically wrong. Will Vera save Joe or lure him further into depravity?

The creation of The Secret of A Spicy Jalapeno derives from the unequivocal influence of acclaimed Southern gothic writer, Flannery O’Connor.

“Sometimes it takes a violent and grotesque act for a character to experience a moment of grace. Perhaps, this is the truest path toward fictional redemption.” ~ Charlie Courtland
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Beyond the urban sprawl of a Pacific Northwest city lurks the peculiar little town of Providence and in it, an organic farmer named Joe Parker. Joe's lurid story, or rather this particular piece of it, begins when Sheriff Caine fashions the big idea to grow jalapenos, albeit with questionable methods. The gritty scheme is plucked from the undercurrent of the sheriff's self-righteous mind and carried out with the help of Joe's skill, two local agents, and a coroner. Everything is progressing as planned. That is, until Vera Cruz, a prostitute and girlfriend of a drug dealer, is delivered late one night on Joe's doorstep. The new houseguest suddenly complicates his routine. The woman bunking on the rear porch not only threatens to upset the jalapeno operation, but also Joe's conviction about what is rightly just and intrinsically wrong. Will Vera save Joe or lure him further into depravity? The creation of The Secret of A Spicy Jalapeno derives from the unequivocal influence of acclaimed Southern gothic writer, Flannery O'Connor. "Sometimes it takes a violent and grotesque act for a character to experience a moment of grace. Perhaps, this is the truest path toward fictional redemption." ~ Charlie Courtland… (more)

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