Age Group: Adult
Genre: Mystery, Romance
Release Date: July 9, 2015
A father’s strange fear may kill his son.
Hank Green’s young son, Bobby, is trapped somewhere in a cave beneath the water-drenched swamp of the Chesapeake Bay. He was exploring an unsolved World War Two mystery. Even worse, a powerful Easter Sunday storm with its flood surge is coming up. Hank rushes to join the team of experienced local firemen and friends who will try to find and rescue his son.
Yet he feels once again his own numbing personal terror. He is overcome by a lifelong claustrophobic fear of entering closed spaces like caves. It’s a phobia he inherited from his immigrant father, a displaced person from the 1945 European war and his own Vietnam esperience. He knows if the others lose hope and fail, he will go on alone and risk his life to save his child. He must find a way to conquer his weakness and time is running out.
Easter Sunday, Book Seven of the River Sunday Romance Mysteries, is the latest of this acclaimed Chesapeake series by Thomas Hollyday. The author’s unique voice once again gives us an exciting read about the people, their beliefs and legends, and the grasping mud and black water wetlands of this mysterious American region.
It was the day before Easter Sunday.
Bobby looked up from his grandfather’s letter. He folded the pages and stared angrily at his father, Hank Green, who was beside him. Since opening this long awaited letter, to be read only on his twelfth birthday, the boy’s face had changed from anticipation to disappointment. Bobby took another moment to examine a pointed black metal object attached to the last page. It looked like a small black crucifix. Bobby inserted all back in the envelope.
Hank watched with growing concern as Bobby crushed the letter into the pocket of his jeans. A white corner showed from under his oversize black and orange Brooks Robinson baseball shirt.
The boy, thin and tall from baseball practice, turned to leave. He said slowly to himself, “Not never.” “Not never,” he repeated with emphasis, scuffing the wood floor of his father’s store. He strode outside, knocking over one of the carefully arranged pots of Hank’s prized white daffodils. Bobby stopped for a moment, bent down and set the pot back on its shelf.
The boy reached the street outside and stood silhouetted in the hazy sunlight. Dark clouds grew in the southern sky. His friends waited on their bicycles. Cathy Allingham, another twelve-year-old, rangy and tall, yelled in her tough voice, “Hey, what did the letter say? Did your grandfather leave you some money for your birthday? Are you going to get a boat?”
Bobby pedaled off without answering her and she followed, barely keeping up. The other friend, Richard Solomon, a chunky black boy, rushed after his friends, puffing weakly, “Wait up, you guys, wait up.”
Hank, still surprised, ran to the door, calling down the tree-lined street. The children pedaled more than a hundred yards away. He called again, “Bobby, we have to talk about this. Come back!”
The boy either didn’t hear or didn’t intend to stop. Hank looked after him.
Whatever my father wrote was wrong. Twelve is too young to spring something distasteful on a kid. Not more than two hours later, the fire alarm went off.
During Hank’s childhood, always when he heard that siren, he thought that his father, who had been Chief of the Volunteer Firemen, would be in danger. After Bobby’s birth, however, Hank changed his focus. He began to worry that instead it was Bobby who might be in danger.
Hank listened as two rescue trucks roared out of town. He shook his head again about Bobby’s disappointment and anger at the letter. A few minutes later, he sat at his desk planning his annual stroll through town. He had done this for years. He had given daffodils to the town parks and took his walk to photograph them in the spring when they bloomed.
He was a gardener, like his father had been, an average height, handsome man approaching middle age, still with all his hair and possessing a strong body kept tough by his outdoor work. He thought about the past years, his former wife, his young son, Bobby, his father and mother now gone, his friends, and the steady life he had found here. A song ran through his mind about the green grass of home, an old Vietnam song.
The phone rang and the town fire alarm went off again, the two echoing against each other.
The police dispatcher was on the line. “It’s your son, Mr. Green. There’s been an accident at the Wilderness.”
Hank’s stomach lurched. All his concerns came back, the alarm ringing a tardy reminder that he should have gone after Bobby when his son left in such a distraught mood. He glanced at the wall clock as he ran through the store. Seven o’clock. It would soon be dark at the Wilderness, almost night. He grimaced as he thought of the letter again, that somehow it might have caused Bobby’s accident, made him careless, and affected his judgment.
Outside it had begun to rain. In a few moments Hank was on the way, leaning over the steering wheel of his old white delivery truck. Its headlights shone weak in the road shadows, the engine racing as fast as it could.”
Thomas Hollyday brings to life the modern Chesapeake in his fictional shipbuilding town of River Sunday, a place located at a crossroads of today’s world. Reviewers praise his storytelling, with its rich sense of place, animals and nature coupled with a vibrant imagination. His unique voice resonates with a deep awareness of history, reminiscent of Michener and Follett.
He describes how from pre-history to the present, marauders have disturbed the Chesapeake land and its people when tribes, pirates, soldiers, criminals and, some say, even ghosts have come to do evil. His novels have been compared to “pocket battleships,” with interwoven story lines, intriguing mysteries, beautiful love affairs and unique characters in carefully scripted pages. There is humor too as Tom draws on a comedic sense honed from an accomplished cartoonist background.
In addition, his long experience in international trade and manufacturing have developed his understanding of the human character. As a result, critics praise his ability to take the reader into thrilling suspense and to make him or her “see the blood” and “breathe the swamp air.” His books are a knowledgeable and enjoyable sojourn into the mysterious and fascinating world of the Chesapeake, its people, legends and beliefs, and are definitely must reads on today’s bookshelf.