In August 1898, Wilmington, North Carolina, was a Mecca for middle-class Blacks. Many of the city's lawyers, businessmen, and other professionals were Black, as were all the tradesmen and stevedores. Blacks outnumbered Whites by more than two to one. But the White civic leaders, many descended from the antebellum aristocracy, did not consider this progress. They looked around and saw working class whites out of jobs. They heard Blacks addressing Whites "in the familiar." They hated the fact that local government was run by Republican "Fusionists" sympathetic to the Black majority. Rumors began to fly. The newspaper office turned into an arsenal. Secret societies espousing white supremacy were formed. Isolated incidents occurred: a shot was fired through a streetcar bearing Whites, a Black cemetery was desecrated. This incendiary atmosphere was inflamed further by public speeches from an ex-confederate colonel and a firebrand black preacher. One morning in November, the almost inevitable gunfire began. By the time order was restored, many of the city's most visible Black leaders had been literally put on trains and told to leave town, hundreds of Blacks were forced to hide out in the city's cemetery or the nearby swamps to avoid massacre, and dozens of victims lay dead.
Based on actual events, Cape Fear Rising tells a story of one city's racial nightmare—a nightmare that was repeated throughout the South at the turn of the century. Although told as fiction, the core of this novel strikes at the heart of racial strife in America.
Nick Wolf is a “public research specialist” for NorthAm Oil Company, but he likes to think of himself as the company storyteller. Nick, who believes in the old-fashioned integrity of the people who run NorthAm, is sent to scout potential oil exploration/drilling sites to assess the political climate. He keeps a low profile while he meets the locals and figures out who the real players are and how they can be convinced that NorthAm will be good for their community. His latest assignment sends him to Hatteras Island, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Growing up, Nick’s grandmother used to whisper the name of the island “like a hissing curse that shouldn’t be spoken out loud.” Nick’s grandfather was said to have died on Hatteras during World War II, though he was mysteriously claimed as a fallen soldier by both the American and German armies. As soon as he arrives on the island, Nick is the victim of several suspicious accidents and begins receiving cryptic notes that lead him to surprising revelations about his grandfather. In the course of his research for NorthAm, Nick discovers that four families run everything and everyone is somehow connected. Even Julia Royal, the fascinating and frustrating woman who runs the boarding house where Nick is staying, is the granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful patriarch of the four families—Liam Royal, known as The Founder.
This mystery/thriller follows two intriguing storylines. Contemporary politics of the Outer Banks, including the always-controversial question of offshore drilling, interweave with the history of German saboteurs during World War II. The book’s title—The Dark of the Island—is what the old timers on Hatteras called a moonless night with no stars. It was on these nights that the “mooncussers and wreckers” would raise a false light on the beach luring an unwary ship’s captain to run aground so the locals could row out to the wreck and loot the cargo.
In this novel, it’s Nick Wolf’s destiny to discover what is behind the true “dark of the island.”
An 18-year-old driving up to Canada to escape the Vietnam draft, a lonely housewife trying to attract the ghost of a ten-year-old housemaid, a widowed professor of archeology trying to keep his head after a home invasion gone wrong, a 36-year-old accountant tasked with making preparations for the funeral of one of his best friends, siblings coming together to get their polio-stricken younger brother the perfect Christmas gift. The struggles of these characters explore loss, loneliness, estrangement, and surprising ways of coping and understanding themselves in new ways.
Set off the treacherous Outer Banks of North Carolina during the final days of the First World War, Hatteras Light is the compelling story of the dedicated keepers of the Hatteras lighthouse and their tightly knit community. For generations these men have drawn their livelihood from the sea, served in the rescue of shipwreck victims, and guarded seagoers from the hazardous shoals. Their wives and daughters endure a difficult, solitary life, their fortitude constantly tested. Loyal to one another and to a traditional way of life, the islanders are suspicious of outsiders and censorious of those who leave. The insular world of these Hatterasmen disrupts when a German U-boat reveals itself offshore, indiscriminately sinking civilian and military vessels, challenging the courage of the lifesavers, and signaling the dawning of a darker, less honorable age. Over a few crucial days, we become intimate with these men and women, and with the German officers aboard U-55 who have made the islanders' lives hell. What emerges is an adventure story full of wisdom and compassion, a novel unfailingly accurate in portraying the struggle of man and sea, man against man, and of men and women. Based on historical fact, Philip Gerard's novel is a powerful book whose storytelling represents the most human tendencies in life and art.
Dexterously crafted, this macabre story of the hunt for a serial killer in Phoenix is a triumph of pacing and sense of place. Paul Pope, the wise but aging state chief of homicide, enlists the aid of nephew Roy, a professor of literature, to solve a series of ghoulish murders of young women. The case becomes a race against time, because it's feared that the killer is holding captive a topless dancer and student of Roy's named Cindy Callison. Meanwhile, echoes from the past relate the grisly murders to the Popes' clouded family history. Interspersed with cryptic fragments of the phantom's demented internal ravings, the narrative is a gripping read despite some hackneyed plot elements. Powerful psychological undercurrents course through and impel Gerard's wonderfully fleshed-out characters: Roy's wife, Eileen, silently suffering the anguish of a brutal rape resulting in abortion; Roy, haunted by his ill-considered rendezvous with Cindy at the bar where she worked; Jane, psychologist and ceramist, carrying an old torch for Paul; and earthy, Mexican Esmeralda, ex-prostitute and now Paul's loyal, long-suffering housekeeper.