On Sunday fellow writer Dan Walsh notified his followers that Amazon is offering the first book in his latest series free until tomorrow. Having read the second book in this series and found it very good, I decided to claim this first one.
Sergeant Joe Boyd —If you’ve read the Jack Turner mystery series, you met him there — is a detective in the small city of Culpepper, a town in the deep South. And he’s just been promoted to Lieutenant and given the responsibility to head Culpepper’s Cold Case Squad. He’s down in the basement rummaging through old files…
Meanwhile his friend Jack Turner is doing some renovations — removing a couple of walls — from a lakeside cabin house he and his wife Rachel are buying. They come across some scratching on a couple of the studs, and soon realize these are letters. And the letters spell HELP ME. More tearing out of wallboard reveals more letters and they piece together: I’M CHAINED UP… VERY DARK…
Jack calls Joe, who brings Sergeant Hank along to check this out. A look at the writing and they decide this best be investigated.
Next readers are taken back to June 1964, to a former plantation near Culpepper, where Mason, the youngest son of a prominent, proudly white family, is trying to cope with the attitudes of his people for generations. In a flashback to Civil War hostilities, we see this up-to-date version of “brother fighting brother; father fighting son.” Mason is a believer in civil rights for all; his father and older brother are Klan sympathizers.
I find this book almost too scary because the emotions are so real, the hatred so alive — and this takes place in an era I remember! Not some fictitious world I’ve never seen. I’ve read about all those civil rights marches and protests, about the violence directed against protesters. We see Mason caught up in all of this, prepared to join the march for civil rights, but hoping his family will never find out.
Back to the present, where Joe, Jack and Rachel are piecing together letters and puzzling over this message. Joe is investigating when these studs were placed in the wall, and by who. And who scratched the message on them. Did he escape, or will this be one of the cold cases investigated?
I’ve only gotten part way, so I can’t tell you whodunit, or to whom, but it’s hard to put the book down. If you’re interested, pick up your free copy from Amazon.