Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Blog Tour: Blood Before Dawn


Book 2 of the Dung Beetles of Liberia series.

Political/Historical Fiction

Date Published 12-15-2021

Publisher: Boutique of Quality Books (BQB Publishing)

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April 1979: Ken Verrier and his wife, Sam, return to Liberia to buy diamonds. They did not return to get caught up in a rice riot and a coup d'etat. But that's what happens. Ken witnesses and unwittingly participates in a period of Liberia's tumultuous yet poorly documented history---the overthrow of the Tolbert presidency and ultimately the end of the Americo-Liberian one hundred thirty-three years of political and social dominance.



2019 Grand Prize Winner - Red City Review


Based on the remarkable true account of a young American who landed in Liberia in 1961.


The blend of fictional action and nonfiction social inspection is simply exquisite, and are strengths that set this story apart from many other ficitonal pieces sporting African settings. - D. Donovan, Midwest Book Review


NOTHING COULD HAVE PREPARED HIM FOR THE EVENTS HE WAS ABOUT TO EXPERIENCE. Ken Verrier quickly realizes the moment he arrives in Liberia that he is in a place where he understand very little of what is considered normal, where the dignity of life has little meaning, and where he can trust no one.


It's 1961 and young Ken Verrier is experiencing the turbulence of Ishmael and the guilt of his brother's death. His sudden decision to drop out of college and deal with his demons shocks his family, his friends, and especially his girlfriend, soon to have been his fiancee. His destination: Liberia---the richest country in Africa both in monetary wealth and natural resources.


Author Daniel Meier describes Ken Verrier's many escapades, spanning from horrifying to whimsical, with engaging and fast-moving narrative that ultimately describe a society upon which the wealthy are feeding and in which the poor are being buried.



It's a novel that will stay with you long after the last word has been read.







April 1979


I’d always known that one could get into trouble just standing on a street corner, but never like this. We had just finished a late breakfast at a new Lebanese restaurant on Gurley Street in center city Monrovia and were actually standing on the corner of Gurley and Benson when a crowd—more of a roaring mob—swept down the street like a tidal bore. Judging from the signs and posters coming toward us, the throng seemed to be heading in the direction of the Executive Mansion. We watched for a moment, fascinated, just as one might stare at a growing flood, then realized, too late, that we were caught up in this human deluge. We tried to run, but we were already submerged in the tumbling waters of human flesh and the roar of human voices.

Sam and I glanced at each other. “What the hell?” All we could do is lock arms and flow with the mob.

I had returned to Liberia because I needed to raise a lot of cash quickly, and the best way I could do that was to drop in on some of my old friends in the diamond business. It was the beginning of the wet season in West Africa—not the best time to arrive or, in fact, to do anything there. My wife,                             Sam, had insisted on coming with me. I told her I didn’t think it was a good idea—Sam is one of the toughest people I know. You just don’t say no to her, not even a maybe. Then, too, I knew she was better at this sort of thing than I was.

It had been twelve years since Sam and I were in Africa, but Sam appeared not to have aged a single day. She still had the same thick red hair that she had cut short for the trip. It would be easier to manage in the heat and humidity of Liberia. Her eyes were still clear and green with the same                         laugh wrinkles at the corners, and the attractive bridge of freckles across her nose and upper cheeks had not faded. I knew that with her intelligence and insight we had a much better chance of succeeding.

The flights to Liberia had been long and arduous despite Pan Am’s latest jet transport airplanes. Sam and I learned a new term on this trip:  “jet lag.” We experienced it by first falling asleep during the taxi ride to the Ambassador Hotel. Then, after a surreal check-in at the hotel, we went up to our room in a dreamlike state and, without removing our clothes or taking a shower or any of the normal things people do before retiring for the night, collapsed onto the bed and immediately fell deeply asleep until early the next morning when our unexpected adventure began.


The noisy mob, brandishing posters reading, “Out with Tolbert!” “Stop  Oppression Now!“ "We Want Rice!”  swept us up into their superheated midst,  and carried us along like two pieces of entwined flotsam. We tried but could not move against the flow. Sam and I and began to move laterally through the crowd like two small animals trying to swim across a rushing river.

The noise was deafening until I heard the gunshots in the distance, and the crowd grew silent for a very brief moment. Then screaming started, drowning out all other sounds except the staccato rhythm of automatic gunfire. Sam and I fell facedown onto the pavement, making ourselves as  flat as possible. A man, an older man with gray hair, fell on his back in front of us, blood spurting from the front of his head like a small red fountain. As his blood pressure dropped, the gushing slowed to a trickle and the man lay dead. Blood covered his face, slowly filling his right ear. A woman tripped over us and fell, shrieking, still holding on to her protest sign.

Finally, the firing stopped. Soldiers ran toward us, rifles in hand. I couldn’t make out what they were saying. They stopped along the edge of the street and shouted at us. They seemed to want us to leave, and made aggressive waving motions with their free hands. Several people stood up, hesitated as though waiting for something to happen, then started to run. There was no more firing. I looked over at Sam. Her red hair was disheveled and her face was contorted into a snarl, and through gritted teeth she shouted, “I wish I                        had my goddamn Uzi!”

“I think they want us to go!” I hissed back to her. “I’m making a run for it. Are you ready?”

She nodded. We stood up slowly. The soldiers, now nearby, were motioning for us to move. I took Sam’s hand and we started running. By this time, most people had gotten to their feet; that is, those who were not  dead or badly injured. We ran with the crowd, stopping only once to help            someone who had fallen. After that, we didn’t stop running until we got to  the Ambassador Hotel several blocks away. The front doors were locked, but people were inside, crouching behind chairs and flowerpots.

“Let’s try the back!” I shouted.

We ran around to the beach bar. The patio was deserted. The entrance to the interior bar was also locked—of course it would be. I picked up a barstool and raised it to smash the glass door. Just as I got the stool over my head, the back door opened slightly and Joe, the bartender, peeked out from inside.

“Mr. Ken,” he said quietly from the partially opened door, “please don’ do dat. Ya know, it be expensive to get glass.”

I pulled the door fully open with a jerk, nearly yanking Joe out onto the pavement. Sam and I rushed in and closed the door behind us. Joe stayed  next to me the whole time and quickly locked it.

“Well, if it isn’t ‘Set-em-up Joe’!” I exclaimed. “I’ve never been happier  to see anyone in my life! But you don’t think these locked doors will keep them out, do you?”

“Yah ah do. For dhey is notin’ fo’ dem here. Dhey after food. Dhey  starving and dhey after Tolbert’s head on a stick. Dhey don’t wan notin’ else. So, why you hee, Mr. Ken. It be almos’ ten yee now. You come to fly again?”

“Long story, Joe. Long story.”




About the Author

A retired Aviation Safety Inspector for the FAA, Daniel V. Meier, Jr. has always had a passion for writing. During his college years, he studied History at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW) and American Literature at The University of Maryland Graduate School.  In 1980 he published an action/thriller with Leisure Books under the pen name of Vince Daniels.

Dan also worked briefly for the Washington Business Journal as a journalist and has been a contributing writer/editor for several aviation magazines. In addition to BLOOD BEFORE DAWN, he is the author of its prequel, the award-winning historical novel, THE DUNG BEETLES OF LIBERIA, as well as 2 other highly acclaimed novels published by Boutique of Quality Books (BQB Publishing).

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