The vast majority of these cases are based on true events… The short story ‘Burning Issue’ was first published in magazine format in 2007: here is a brief excerpt:
“They were bold and efficient.”
Landscape defines some towns and cities. And even the people and the small mountain town of Cocentaina were perhaps typical. So I thought, as I drove Jacinto Alvarez and his wife, Puri, along the A7 on our approach. The town had been under siege more than once in its history and I reflected that that was how the Alvarez couple felt right now.
In the passenger seat, Jacinto hugged the bulging dark leather briefcase to his pigeon chest and sweated despite the efficient air-conditioning. Puri was in the back, fingering her worry beads and praying.
The town sprawled outwards from the eastern slope of the Sierra de Mariola. Its historic heart still beat behind the modern facade of new apartment blocks and factory units that produced textiles and furniture.
The Alvarez textiles were almost exclusively purchased by the design shops of Amancio Ortega for transforming into the latest fashions in the Ortega Empire, for outlets such as Zara, Massimo Dutti and Bershka. Where Ortega was valued in billions, Jacinto Alvarez was close to making his first million. Which, sadly, made him and his family a target for the ungodly, and that’s why he got in touch with me and told me what happened.
Now that ETA had gone relatively quiet, kidnapping was not so commonplace in Spain, unlike Sicily, any South American country or Mexico.
Well, I said it was brief…
Panoroma of Cocentaina
On approaching the modest town of Cocentaina, you’d be forgiven for thinking it was simply an industrial estate, hardly likely to appear on any tourist itinerary. Yet, past the defensive wall of textile and furniture warehouses you’ll find a charming haven. The historic part of the town is divided into two zones, El Raval, the ancient Moslem neighbourhood, and La Vila, the area inside the walls that protected the Christians from the Moors. While the streets of El Raval rise in terraces up the hill in the direction of the Ermita Santa Barbara, most of the architectural and historical life lies in La Vila.
The centre of Cocentaina was the Palau Comtal, historical home of the Corella family, whose crest features a woman’s head atop the body of a serpent. Adjoining the Palau is the Convento Y Monasterio de la Virgen del Milagro, ornate, colourful, gilded. Keeping a watchful eye over the town is the Castillo, the tower built in about 1400 or so.
To find out what Leon Cazador and Jacinto are doing in Cocentaina, please read the book.
Spanish Eye paperback post-free worldwide from here
Kindle UK from here
Kindle via Amazon com from here