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Pate County – Larry Copeland Media
350 (or so) Words On: The Demons in Detective Mock’s head

His nightmares about the young men he lost in the war have been in his head so long he can sleep through them.

His anger, regret and sorrow over the death of his wife are fresher. But he has learned to live with that as well.

What troubles his sleep now is the murder of the Meecham boys. Leon and Jerome, brothers age 11 and 12, who vanished one afternoon on their way home from school. Their bodies were found two days later along some abandoned railroad tracks.

The boys’ murder was very similar to the other child killings in Atlanta in 1980. It looked like the work of the elusive serial killer who’s been stalking the city for months.

But Detective Cleveland Mock knew in his gut that his cases were different. He knew it, but he couldn’t prove it. And when his bosses insisted on adding the Meecham boys to the Missing & Murdered Children’s list, Mock went to the media. That got him kicked right off the special task force investigating the murders.

Mock is just about to get handed some new nightmares.

Because there are so few other detectives available, he gets assigned to the murder of Reverend Jimmy Lee Hightower. The charismatic preacher, whose name was a household word in the ‘80s, at least in Southern households, is found stabbed and dying at an Interstate rest stop.

His son, Rufus, a young man with a troubled past, is found standing over his dying father. But the murder weapon is missing and Rufus is standing mute.

The killing pushes an already-tense city toward the breaking point. Many believe Hightower was killed because of his civil rights work around the South. Protesters ring City Hall demanding Rufus’ release.

But Mock soon comes to believe that Rufus is covering for somebody: The Reverend was killed by someone close to him. Mock travels to Hightower’s hometown of Almah, Georgia, in Pate County to find answers.

In Pate County, he uncovers a trove of long-buried secrets – secrets that someone will kill to keep. And he encounters a sadistic killer guaranteed to add new nightmares to Mock’s collection.

The Moaning Bench © 2016

Coming in January

350 (or so) words on: #The Moaning Bench

The Moaning Bench is a murder mystery set in Atlanta and rural Georgia in 1980, as Atlanta is in the grip of a serial killer who’s preying on children.

That August Reverend Jimmy Lee Hightower is killed. His son, Rufus, is found standing over his dying father screaming at him. The murder weapon is missing. Rufus isn’t talking.

Detective Cleveland Mock, just booted off the Missing and Murdered Children’s task force, is pressured to close the case quickly and charge Rufus with murder. But he thinks the nineteen-year-old college student is covering for somebody. Is it:

  • The lovely widow, Liz, who is clearly hiding something and who seems all-too eager for a new romance?
  • The other son, Corey, the playboy preacher who knew his neglected wife, Laura, was sneaking around with Jimmy Lee?
  • Was it Laura herself, a passionate, high-strung beauty with an ax to grind?
  • Or William Stone, Jimmy Lee’s shadowy political godfather, and his murderous chief henchman, Tiny Weaver?

Mock’s investigation takes him to rural Pate County, Georgia, where he forms an uneasy alliance with Sheriff Ed Meaney, who has his own agenda. He meets Mama Kalie, a witchy old psychic who foresaw Jimmy Lee’s murder years earlier. Mock digs into a viper’s nest of hidden motives and secret hatreds before coming face-to-face with a demented killer.

 (Coming in January)

The Moaning Bench © 2016