The Gabriel Ross Series: Recaps The Hanged Man, Chapters 16, 17, 18

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Chapter Sixteen: The Two of Cups

Gabriel reviews the volumes of books John gave him, also finding mixed memories as to his own childhood reading.

Alex comes to the apartment, but before they can get much into research, Gabriel receives a phone call from an unidentified person. The man tells Gabriel he is on the right track with his investigation, and they have a brief discussion on conspiracies. The man points to Nazis as being at the heart of the case. He says if Gabriel can find him, he’ll talk more.

Gabriel is not bothered by the call–too much weirdness in his life already, but Alex is disturbed. They go on to converse more about mysterious conspiracies and happenings and Alex gets into his database and finds some articles that point to a particular group–the Tertullian Society. Gabriel begins to speculate on what might have occurred with Raymond finding Nazi/Tertullian connections. Alex is concerned that Gabriel is putting himself in danger.

Eventually the discussion drifts off to romance, and Gabriel and Alex sleep together.

In the middle of the night, Gabriel wakes up, alarmed by Archie’s sense someone is outside the apartment. Gabriel grabs his gun and approaches the door, interrupted by Alex. Gabriel steps out and doesn’t see a would-be intruder, but he does see Joel on the stairs leading to the roof.

Gabriel excuses himself and has a tense conversation with Joel. Joel insists he saw a man try to break into the apartment. Gabriel is torn–he knows Joel wouldn’t lie, but he’s suspicious still about Joel being there. Joel is scornful of Gabriel’s suspicion and attitude.

Chapter Seventeen: The Page of Pentacles

On his own at the apartment, Gabriel searches more in Alex’s database and finds an interesting article by a former writer, Kent Varney. On intuition, he emails Kent, who calls him back. Kent has more backstory for him on the dangers of investigating conspiracies. He reiterates that Nazis are involved. Gabriel presses him on connections to the Foundation. Kent is reluctant to expound further, but invites Gabriel to visit him in DC, where he works in a museum.

Gabriel updates Alex on what he found. He also does some gruntwork in getting expert opinions. He finds an ugly threat on his car–a picture of him with his eyes cut out. Angry, he impulsively decides to confront Ethan Nelson. Gabriel has an image from one of the experts that Gabriel says looks like Nelson. Nelson is supercilious, but inadvertently reveals a bit more knowledge than he should have. Gabriel pushes his buttons (feeling Nelson is jonesing from some drug activity and psychologically unstable),and earns Nelson’s open enmity.

Chapter Eighteen: The Eight of Swords

Gabriel is back home from the confrontation. His mood changes upon seeing that Joel, in typical efficient manner, has both completed a stack of necessary paperwork Gabriel needs and cleaned the apartment. Feeling both glad and guilty, he calls Veronica. They have a conversation about his complicated love life. Veronica feels Gabriel still has something for Joel, although Gabriel denies this.

Gabriel has a pleasant domestic interlude with Alex, beginning the sort of conversations that build a relationship. And then he goes to see Veronica and Joel at a cafe.

Things turn tense when Veronica tells Gabriel that she and Joel have both been watching Gabriel, and have seen the person stalking him. Gabriel is furious at their complicity, and leaves.

Dr. Cole calls Gabriel and says he is concerned that Eleanor Whitford is not responding to his calls–and that Nelson has said he’s taking care of her. He asks Gabriel to look into it. Gabriel goes to Whitford’s brownstone and enters an open balcony door. He finds Whitford apparently drugged and out of it. Suddenly Nelson arrives, and Gabriel has to escape.

Gabriel asks Alex to help him. Alex calls Nelson and pretends to be Eleanor’s nephew, and demands to see her. Of course Nelson is surprised by Alex and Gabriel showing up.

Between the Pages:

Beyond the Pages:

  • Linda Elder and the late Richard Paul, whose text and ideas I use in teaching critical thinking, suggest that people have different stages in critical thinking. Gabriel is Advanced in his work, but more Beginning in his emotions–especially when confronted with the conflict that Joel gives him just by his presence. I think we can related to having different stages in different areas of our life. The problem is if one outweighs the other dangerously, and that is what Gabriel has to be careful of.

Questions for Readers: 

Impulsiveness is hard to conquer. This takes being mindful of what you are doing and why, and coaching yourself to pause and think. It generally takes a couple months to develop a new habit. What was or is your hardest habit to conquer?

Playlist: For the investigative parts of the chapters, I like the dark undertones of the Glitch Mob, Fortune Days. Instrumental has become more and more intricate and meaningful for mood.

Page updated 3/5/2023