The multi-talented Kealan Patrick Burke is the cover artist for my upcoming ebook release, Where Darkness Dwells. I’m very happy with how this turned out.
Synopsis: What are people willing to live with in order to live? The people of Coal Hollow, Illinois must answer this question in order to determine the fate of their small town.
During a hot summer night in 1934, tragedy strikes when two local boys search for the truth behind a local legend. They stumble upon the Underground, a network of uncharted caverns just below the surface of Coal Hollow. Time holds no sway in the Underground. People no longer age and their wounds heal as if by magic. By morning, one boy is murdered, while the other never returns home.
The Underground is hidden for a reason. Certain locals want to keep their lair secret, no matter the cost.
After learning a long-held family secret, Theodore Cooper is set adrift. Once well off and set in his ways, he is no longer sure of his role in society. He leaves his comfortable life in Chicago to tramp the countryside, searching for meaning in this new context. He’s drawn to an abandoned house in Coal Hollow, and after inquiring about it, he impulsively buys it, intending to renovate it for his own residence.
Cooper doesn’t know that a massacre had taken place in his new house. In 1851, bounty hunters, empowered by the new Fugitive Slave Law, tracked a family of runaway slaves to the home. The bounty hunters killed the former homeowners as conspirators, then chased the runaways into a cellar tunnel leading to the Underground. After catching up with the slaves, and filled with bloodlust, they slaughtered them. To everyone’s astonishment, the slaves then rose from the dead. Eventually, the bounty hunters stayed below ground, taking advantage of their new slave labor to build what they term “Paradise.” Soon, no one can leave without decomposing as they would have at their natural ages.
Their numbers are augmented by deathbed miners who are offered immorality in exchange for their subservience and labor.
Below a town struggling to survive both the Great Depression and the closing of the local coal mine, there lives an immortal society built on the backs of slavery and pervasive immorality.