BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE
By Randy Overbeck

 

 

Publisher: Wild Rose Press (April, 2019)
Format: Trade Paperback
Price: $18.99
ISBN-13: 978-1-5092-2328-2
Kindle: $5.99

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The Haunted Shores Mysteries

 

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel
(September, 2020)

 

Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay

“You see that widow’s walk up there, with the white railing and the cupola in the center? That’s where they say he died.” Darrell Henshaw followed the school secretary Harriett’s pointing finger to the roof of Wiltshire High School and saw a young black man staring down at him. The hairs on Darrell’s neck bristled, and shivers ran down his spine. The figure exuded a great sense of sorrow. His eyes pleaded with Darrell, asking for something he could not interpret. As he watched, the image faded from sight. His mind tried to reject what he’d just seen. “Oh God,” he thought, “not again!”

Darrell Henshaw saw his first ghost when he was thirteen. The experience was so traumatic, so tragic, that he’d hoped he’d never see one again. Now, all these years later, he realized he’d hoped in vain. He’d left the big city life in Michigan and his cheating ex-fiancée to make a new start in the small, peaceful town of Wiltshire on the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, but he didn’t outrun his psychic abilities.

Harriett continued her spiel, oblivious to what had just happened. She pointed to a window near the cupola, saying that was his new office. “The athletic office is small, but it has the best view in the building.” He had an office? That meant he’d gotten the job coaching football and teaching history. He really needed the job, and Wiltshire was his last chance. If the position came with a ghost or two, so be it. His history students were, for the most part, poor, bored, and indifferent, but he hoped he could change that.

Before leaving Darrell to settle in his new office, Harriett casually asked him if he believed in ghosts. Did she know his secret? She went on to say that some people believed the shade of the student who’d killed himself back in the 1960’s still roamed the halls, especially on the third floor. Then she smiled and said “… It’s an old school. Bound to hold a few skeletons, right?”

The first weeks of school moved swiftly. He made some friends among the faculty, bonding with band director Al McClure right away. Al endeared himself to Darrell even more when he introduced Darrell to a lovely and fascinating red-haired nurse named Erin. He’d sworn off love after his bad breakup, but for Erin he might make an exception.

There were some bumps along the way. He experienced some weird events in his office: the feeling that an invisible force was holding him immobile for several minutes; strange footage in the middle of game videos; odd movements of items in his office. There were troubling dreams and cryptic messages about the death of the student thirty years ago. A medium Al introduced him to told him he wasn’t crazy, and that he’d been chosen to help solve the mystery of the boy’s death. There would be great danger, she said, and events to come would prove her right.

He got along with most folks, made some good friends, and he and Erin became closer and closer. Others were not so welcoming. When the football team starting winning, a group of local movers and shakers offered to spend a lot of money to help the team. Darrell had an uneasy feeling that if he accepted the offer, there would be a price to pay.

Determined to figure out what had happened to the young man whose ghost kept reaching out to him, Darrell, with eager assistant Erin, dove into the newspaper archives and other historical sources. They uncovered the story of the ugly, violent events of the civil rights era that divided the country. Some of those events happened in Wilshire, and some very prominent names were involved. How far will those people go to keep their secrets buried? Darrell found out they would go very far indeed.    

This is Mr. Overbeck’s debut novel. It’s an atmospheric, creepy ghost story with a bit of romantic suspense. The history of the turbulent times during the fight for civil rights is seamlessly woven into the plot.        

 

*** CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY (Haunted Shores Mysteries), the second book in the series, is scheduled for release by the Wild Rose Press on July, 2020.

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