People love a good action or murder mystery movie. In years past the Oceans Eleven and Twelve movies told a heist story from the thief’s point of view. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a popular book made into movies twice now. And the library’s true-crime section is usually well browsed. If this tickles your fancy, I have a new true-crime novel for you: The Jolly Rodger Social Club by Nick Foster.
American citizens who semi permanently move to another country are called ex-patriots, or ex-pats for short. Beginning in 2002 Panama saw an influx of American and other foreign nationals, eager to start over somewhere far removed from their home country. The islands of Bocas del Toro near Panama saw a new group of English speaking people congregate around Bocas Town, the largest settlement in the islands. It was a place where a person could party with bars and restaurants right on the water, buy land or a house, and in a year or two sell it and make money.
Into this scene came and American known as “Wild Bill” Cortez, whose real name was William Dathan Holbert. Wild Bill financed the buying and selling of properties, advertising that he could buy hassle free and with fast closings. He also owned a motor cycle repair shop, opened a dive bar called the Jolly Rodger Social Club, and is accused of murdering five fellow Americans.
Author Nick Foster is a journalist, and in 2011 his editor asked him to write a feature about the bizarre real estate world in Panama. While researching he came across the peculiar case of Wild Bill and decided to investigate. The news stories and first-hand accounts are conflicting, but intriguing. Foster has put together what he believes is the most real account of what happened, and it reads like a thriller. This novel is the perfect exciting to read for the faster darkening evening hours this fall.
You can get the book reviewed here at the Port Library at 1718 N. Hersey in Beloit. This is director Rachel Malay, saying “Thanks for checking us out!”