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Why I wrote this book
Despite being a novel, “Confusion” contains many true observations I made while living in the Philippines.
When I told my friends and family some of my daily stories, they could not believe them; the facts were just too absurd to be true. And I must admit that I would not have believed them either, had I not personally experienced them. In the course of time, I got very frustrated by the situation in the Philippines; for a Westerner like me the bureaucracy, corruption and arbitrariness of officials and the unreliability and ignorance of suppliers and employees can be very taxing. Writing about it helped to take the sting out of things and I had a grateful audience who encouraged me to continue writing about the appalling situation in the Philippines.
At some stage, a good friend asked me why I did not write a book about it, since it must be entertaining for others to read about it too. I considered his idea and decided not to create a piece of non-fiction, but instead use the factual situation as basis for a novel. After all, the facts were sometimes too absurd and besides, it is sometimes wise not to speak too loudly about certain facts in the Philippines. So my novel is, although being a piece of fiction, to a large extend based on true facts. It sketches a plausible image of the Philippine society in its tropical environment.
Of course the story has a hero, but he is, as all other characters in the book, a person with very human flaws. This makes the book more ‘natural’; there is no super-hero who, against all odds, and through supernatural skills, strength or perseverance wins the game. On the contrary; the hero, although being a gifted person, in the end fails to deliver, because he allows personal feelings to overrule his professionalism. At the same time the villains, and there are several of them, are not one-dimensional monsters who are possessed by an urge to destroy the whole world or worse. No, they are also only humans with flaws, who, by the course of things, were driven into a wrong direction. They are in a certain way not even unsympathetic. And isn’t it like this is normal life? If we are truly honest, isn’t there in each of us a bit of both a Hero and a Villain? This is probably the reason why the reader is able to sympathize both with my hero (or heroes) and the villains.
For this reason, some might say that the novel also has other autobiographical elements; I possibly try to ‘humanize’ the villains in order to reduce the level of frustration I experience, when confronted with ‘real’ villains who make my life tedious in the ‘real’ world. A conclusive assessment I leave to my psychological colleagues….
Confusion is the first book in Peter de Vos' 'Nothing Is What It Seems' four-part series, a gritty crime drama with erotic and mystic undertones. The books emphasise the hidden dark side that lurks in each one of us and that occasionally overtakes our good side, with lethal consequences...
The Philippines, Summer 1978. Confusion opens with the murder of Elena Lee, daughter of a powerful local magnate, on the beautiful topical island of Siquijor. Enter Jonathan Sy, a successful detective who is hired to carry out the investigation, along with local Chief of Police Daniel Arozo. During his quest, Sy meets several potential suspects, but instinctively knows that the real killer is not among them, an inkling that is proved as, one by one, the suspects all meet with a gruesome, premature death. The mystical atmosphere of the island and its inhabitants slowly change the attitudes of the otherwise cool and reserved inspector, and drive him to carry out actions he otherwise would have never remotely considered...An intricate whodunnit that constantly changes tack and keeps readers on its toes, Confusion is a gripping work of crime fiction. The story is continued in the next parts of 'Nothing Is What It Seems', Clarity and Commitment, and the truth is finally revealed in the final book, Confinement.