E-book excerpt: “Satan Makes Three” by Ben Fountain

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By Calvin S. Nelson



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Eleven years in the past, Ben Fountain received a Nationwide E-book Critics Circle Award for his debut novel, “Billy Lynn’s Lengthy Halftime Stroll.” Now, Fountain is again with “Satan Makes Three” (Flatiron), a political thriller with touches of Graham Greene and John le Carré.

The story entails an affable younger American in Haiti who loses his scuba enterprise following a coup. Determined for work, he begins diving for treasure off the coast – and finds that the Haitian navy needs a reduce.

Learn an excerpt beneath. 

“Satan Makes Three” by Ben Fountain

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The day earlier than the coup they cleared over a thousand {dollars}. He had Kinston and Samuel working snorkelers out to the reefs till nightfall, and there have been two dive teams, one within the morning and one other within the afternoon, that Matt himself had taken out to the Zombie Gap. Kinston’s son Kenal had been Matt’s crew for the dives, fourteen years outdated, his first time tending the boat alone. Matt would not have let him if situations had been any lower than excellent.

There’d been rumors, however there have been all the time rumors. Setting out that afternoon together with his second group, Matt swung near Kokiyaj for a glance. The restaurant was full, the grounds full of a multiracial crowd having fun with a lazy Sunday afternoon on the seaside. It was a reassuring sight. Folks would not be out if a coup was coming down, and everybody knew a coup did not make sense, not at this level. Enterprise was good, life was good and getting higher on a regular basis, after which he woke Monday morning to this, bristling static on the radio and gunfire to the south, towards Fond Boucan. The electrical energy and cellphone had been out, common, however quickly his neighbors had been strolling up from the seaside with rumors of a coup in Port-au-Prince. They appeared to need him to substantiate in some way, as if a blan had entry to info not out there to Haitians. Among the youthful guys, the hotheads, grew to become passionate, and Matt felt their anger coming to bear on him. He’d been in Tully lengthy sufficient for sure grudges and resentments to accrue to him, from folks desirous to be employed, wanting favors, loans; who wished to hold across the store and be his buddy, and he simply did not have the time. He breathed a little bit simpler when Kinston and Samuel arrived, then one of many Dormond brothers jogged as much as report the headless physique of the mayor of Fond Boucan had been came upon on the freeway. And was nonetheless there, if anybody felt like taking a look.

“Keep,” Kinston murmured as he left with the others, so Matt stayed. He swept out the store, then the porch and the tools sheds, senseless work for a day when there was an excessive amount of to consider. Just a few boats had been within the channel, the sensible turquoise of the water rendered matte this morning by an aerosol overlay of haze. A dive group from Port-au-Prince was booked for eleven a.m.; he knew higher than to hope they’d present up, however nonetheless. He supposed that is why he saved trying up the lane, as if by staring laborious sufficient he may will them into sight. He’d been that cussed these days, that intentional, however how may it’s in any other case? ScubaRave being such a totally glorious place, and he’d made it occur with sweat, religion, and everything of his inheritance. It was tucked among the many palms that rimmed the seaside, a modest compound of concrete sheds, a ship ramp and jetty, the stone bungalow that housed the store and his monk-like dwelling quarters. A half mile of scrub forest lay between his place and the freeway, past which a quick run of brown foothills sheared abruptly to mountains, the primary ridgeline topping out at a thousand toes. It appeared a miracle when he opened for enterprise and other people confirmed up, paying prospects who’d seen the advertisements, who’d heard by phrase of mouth. Haiti was turning into a part of the world once more, and right here he was on the bottom flooring of the upcoming growth, the one PADI-certified operator between Port-au-Prince and Cap-Haïtien.

“Mott!” The smurfs had been arising his path, the posse of neighborhood youngsters who lived within the loosely strung village alongside Tully Seashore. “They canceled faculty,” introduced Oxcil, a hyper little boy of eight.

“Is that proper, Oxcil. I can see you are very devastated about that.” The opposite youngsters laughed. “He hates faculty,” Guyler stated. “He is all the time getting in hassle.”

Pa vre.” I do not consider it.

Extra laughs. They requested if he’d heard in regards to the coup, and would he be taking the boat out at this time, and did he nonetheless have some cookies from the Baptist mission. Then Eliane, Kinston’s youngest, requested if he’d seen that man.

“What man?”

“The person with out his head.”

“No, chérie, I did not.” It occurred to him that youngsters would need reassuring. “That occurred over in Boucan. Not Tully.”

“He was the mayor,” stated Kenal.

Matt acknowledged this.

“He was Lavalas,” stated Adoline.

“I would not learn about that,” stated Matt.

“Are you Lavalas?”

“I am not something. I am a blan.”

They thought of this. Oxcil requested if they might borrow the soccer ball. Then Eliane piped up once more:

“Do you assume they killed him?”

Him may solely be Aristide, president for seven months. That youngsters needed to ask such questions. Matt’s coronary heart broke a little bit at this.

“I do not know. I hope not.”

“It will be dangerous for your small business,” stated Kenal. “That is what my papa stated.”

“Your papa’s a sensible man. It will be dangerous for everyone’s enterprise.”

“Have they got coups within the US?” Eliane requested now.

Matthew Amaker, school dropout, summoned up his American historical past, such because it was. “No, my expensive. Properly, not for a very long time.”

That afternoon the coup got here to Tully Seashore within the type of idiots tearing alongside Route Nationale 1 honking horns and spraying bursts of enjoyable bullets within the air. After their first move Matt padlocked the gate to the compound and obtained a machete and gaff hook from the tools shed. The belt of forest between his place and the freeway may appear to supply some safety, however nothing, actually, saved them from driving down the lane and busting by way of his gate—to do what? And why his place out of all of the others, or did they even want a cause. Perhaps randomness was a part of the strategy, pure probability as the very best expression of a sure form of energy.

Excerpted from “Satan Makes Three.” Copyright © 2023 by Ben Fountain. Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers. No a part of this excerpt could also be reproduced or reprinted with out permission in writing from the writer.

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