Slave Graves

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Categories: Suspense/Thriller/Mystery/Crime
Publisher: Happy Bird Corporation/Happy Bird Corporation | Date published: 06/21/2004


A mysterious shipwreck is discovered under a Maryland marsh. An expensive real estate project is held up while the site is evaluated for historical significance. Local researchers fend off impatient contractors who are losing money for failing to meet deadlines. Enter Dr. Frank Light, famous archeologist, sent to this backwater marsh to referee, hand picked by Jake Terment, popular national figure, real estate tycoon, and head financier of the construction, who wants his project back on track and fast. When Frank arrives at the marsh, he meets Maggie, an outspoken state archeologist, and Pastor Allingham, a black preacher who claims the shipwreck site hides a long lost slave graveyard that also needs to be preserved from the construction. Frank comes to the site anxious to please Jake, but he begins to have doubts as the dig yields more and more secrets of a past crime, a horror that occurred on the old ship. The revelations of evil and the tension with Jake cause Frank, at one time an idealistic historian in the days before he fought in Vietnam, to have flashbacks to the war and to question Jake's lack of interest in what they are uncovering. As they lose their investment, Jake and his associates become increasingly angry and insist Frank declare the dig of no significance, threatening that his career will suffer if he does not comply. The more resistance and attempts at compromise Frank tries, the more Jake turns to violence to persuade him. Hollyday's always present and eclectic universe of Maryland characters living and dead, including a mysterious waterman of Mexican heritage, Native Americans, farmers, birdwatchers, Confederates and ghosts, converge on and add color to the site. Finally, Frank, after attempts are made by Jake's men on his and Maggie's lives as well as on that of the Pastor, is forced to draw on his Vietnam prowess and, in a stirring climax, decide whether to risk his life again for what he believes in.

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