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While dangling a fishing hook from his flat bottom skiff before dawn, former SEAL-turned-PI Craige Ingram spots grey-black smoke coiling above the treetops across the river in the direction of the Georgia bayous and Corpsewood Manor. Bayou or bogs, fire in the uncut cypress and pines bodes a sense that the river is no barrier to the fire that threatens his ancestral home, Moccasin Hollow. Neither are the bodies later found in the burned mansion of Corpsewood Manor. Craige wastes no time in helping his ex-SEAL buddy Lt. Graysen MacGerald who is now Head of Buckingham Homicide Investigations by unofficially investigating the bodies and an exquisite dragonfly brooch found in the mansion with a reputation for evil, hauntings, and mystery.my review...
Although not listed online anywhere, the cover of this book says it is Book 5 of “The Moccasin Hollow mystery series”. This is another story of Craige Ingram and his navy seal buddies. While they might seem like friends and “good old boys” they kick into profoundly serious sophisticated navy professionals when danger is involved. I love them all. They have their faults just like we “other humans”, but they are definitely the good guys. I also love all the up to date almost futuristic equipment mentioned in the story. I could picture Craige’s room full of computers, trackers, satellite pictures, etc. He even has his own plane and hangar outside of little ole Moccasin Hollow.
I’ve read one other Hawk McKinney book and really enjoyed it too. Sometimes both books seemed to move a little slow in the beginning. I think the reason for this is the author trying to paint the setting and the character for us. Most importantly, don’t let this stop your reading because the story, the suspense, and the action really make the book worthwhile. Check out the other Moccasin Hollow series books here. https://amzn.to/3cvSEAF
read an excerpt...
In the bright sun-fired afternoon, Craige parked curbside in front of Mattie Skuggs’ well-lived-in cared-for neat welcoming house. He never pulled into Mattie’s driveway. Mattie never owned a car. It wouldn’t have mattered if she had; she would’ve made sure no oil or grease smudges got left on her drive. The drive was spotless. Outside and in, everything about her small cottage of a house was clean and inviting. Mattie fit right into the homey, comfortable space she had made for herself. He made his way up the pansy-trimmed dollhouse walkway embraced with flower beds of daylilies and wild violets in scrupulously weeded, arranged patterns across Mattie's lawn. Stocky and short, Mattie Skuggs was a kind soul but by no means unsophisticated. Mattie’s simple and uncomplicated, happy, content life was the rare exception in the hurry-up-dash PTSD world. Quiet and retiring, Mattie was no timid push-aside walkover. Mattie Skuggs was one of an almost forgotten genre. Retiring, soft-spoken, polite, and considerate, she never complained. She had a warm guileless appeal Craige often wished there was more of. Crass and bluster offended both. They’d gotten it from their upbringing; Mattie’s Mama and Craige’s Grannie had been faithful churchgoers.
Few understood Mattie’s gift, often giving her fearful sidewise glances, mostly for what she might truly know about them. Mattie had learned to quietly use it to help when she could. Craige didn’t need to ask. He’d seen it first-hand in Grannie as well as Mattie. Wasn’t something explainable to run-of-the-mill millennials that couldn’t survive, their lives wired into the latest gadgets? With Mattie, it was simple—a blessing to be shared.
Mattie never married. Never spoke of beaus or boyfriends. Craige made a point of never asking. He doubted she’d ever had a date. Could picture her likely shocked speechless if she saw a man naked, then again, maybe she wouldn’t. A true maiden lady could often know way more than anyone suspected. Born with a keen mind, yet she never finished high school. Didn’t read or write well. Her greatest delight was her tidy, orderly, immaculate one-bedroom cozy, bought-and-paid-for home. With an exceptional eye for rare quality, flea market sojourns were regular delights on her off-days from the Fabric Shoppe where she’d worked for years. She was thrilled if she found a treasure, like her antique brass front door knocker rescued from the gone-to-ruin Pasquerre mansion.
As he reached for the door knocker, her front door opened. Her plump, rosy-cheeked guileless face framed in the doorway, “Mister Craige.” In her lower Alabama accent, stout matronly Mattie’s spirited ice blue eyes were all a-twinkle.
about Hawk McKinney...
Hawk MacKinney began writing mysteries for his school newspaper, served in the US Navy for over 20 years, earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history, taught postgraduate courses in the United States and Jerusalem, authored professional articles and chordate embryology texts on fetal and adult anatomy, and is well known for his works of fiction. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel, was nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award. Both his CAIRNS OF SANCTUARIE science fiction series and the MOCCASIN HOLLOW MYSTERY series have received worldwide recognition.