The calm waters of Lake Olivia portray a sense of idyllic life, but locals know that all is not as it seems in these short stories of mystery and suspense.
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When Dr. Andrew Rosselli and his wife relocate from Tampa to her hometown of Olivia, he brings with him his beloved Cabo 35 Express, lax professional and moral ethics, and his perceived superiority. Rosselli’s blasé existence in the sticks takes a sharp turn when a boat capsizes on the chimney of a submerged house near his secluded rural health clinic, threatening him and his medicinal allocations with unwanted attention from the local sheriff’s department.
Widower Fayette Moseley alleviates the loneliness at home by adopting a dog from the local shelter and trying his hand at homemade blackberry wine. By day, he runs a vintage press at Preston Prints in downtown Olivia. When the pastor of school-aged coworker Jeremy is hired on, the boy is noticeably apprehensive. Fayette reluctantly returns to the mystical waters of his own childhood for answers concerning young Jeremy and the oily preacher moonlighting as a pressman.
Anne Adams’s favorite season is upon her, and she’s already received the most precious gift she could ever imagine—sole custody of her granddaughter, Abigail. But holiday cheer is hard to find in the foreboding foothills of Myer County. When the dreadful actions of her estranged daughter, Cassidy, are revealed at trial, Anne discovers her good fortune has come at a most disheartening price.
Billy’s Friday night guitar lessons with his friend, mentor, and guitar hero Russell Sumner are the highlight of his week. Though Russell’s fingers never miss a note, the aging picker’s mind is failing him. Billy’s family and friends start to wonder if Russell’s increasingly far-fetched tales and accusations could be more than what his nephew, caretaker, and heir apparent, Kenny Sumner, has dismissed as symptoms of mild sundowning.
From afar the Southern Appalachians appear majestic and pure, but within what the Cherokees called “the land of blue smoke” lurk hidden evils not listed in the guidebooks.
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Ray Solomon can leave his home town behind. His wife and daughter, too. But Ray’s past actions and his thirst for alcohol seemed to have made the trip to his new home in the foothills of Southern Appalachia, where his attempt to live the life he’d always dreamed of falls apart in brutal fashion.
It was the final day of the 1982 World’s Fair and Finley Cross’s annual Halloween party brought about the culmination of all the big money, big cars, big houses, big bags of coke, and monstrous egos. The next day, as the masks lay strewn about the floors of the criminally wealthy, Alan and Sherry Thomas will suffer the worst hangover of them all.
Bobby Tolliver is doing all he can to keep his family “normal” after his wife April passes just after giving birth to their son. But the Tolliver family has a history in the foothills of Myer County of not always abiding by the law, even when they are the law. Bobby learns the depths of human depravity when his brother, a local deputy, finds himself in the crosshairs of a criminal enterprise far more sinister than his own.
Gerald McNabb is dying and he knows it. Living aboard his nineteen-sixties sea skiff Betsy, he attemps to clear his conscience by telling the story of his childhood up on Whistle Mountain to a temporary caregiver, and the circumstances which lead eleven-year-old Gerald to an exclusive resort on the other side of the mountain. But working at what his late Grammy had called an evil place, seems the only way off the mountain for he and his young, widowed mother.