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on October 3, 2016
Just when he’s settling into his cushy job as the youngest head of a university archeology department, with a new book in the works, and a sophisticated girlfriend, Frank Light is sent to a backwater town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to assess a construction site belonging to rich industrialist and TV personality, Jake Tement as a favor to the university president. Upset that his comfortable routine has been upended, Frank hopes to check the site, decide it’s of no historical importance, and get on with his life. But, things come unglued when he learns that the site is quite possibly a slave burial ground. With the help of Maggie Davis, one of his former students who is now a state archeologist, and Jefferson Allingham, a local preacher who is certain of the historical importance of the site, Frank finds himself at a crucial point in his life; should he just sign off on the site as Tement wants, or should he seek the truth.
Slave Graves by Thomas Hollyday is a tense drama, with the rich history of rural eastern Maryland woven seamlessly into a story that has more than enough action. I was particularly impressed with the way the author used Frank’s experiences in the Vietnam War to move the story forward to a most satisfying conclusion. For readers who are interested in some of the lesser known aspects of American history, this book is a gold mine of information, from the history of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, to the little known southern sympathies held by many rural Marylanders during the Civil War. The action is built, step by careful step ending in a dramatic, but satisfying conclusion. History and mystery, when well written as this book is, are a sure-fire good read.
14 people found this helpful
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on July 2, 2016
Slave Graves is currently free on Amazon and you might want to head over there right now to snag your Kindle copy. It's the first in the "River Sunday" series set in backwoods Maryland featuring a university archaeologist named Frank Light. (If this were a romance series instead of a mystery, "River Sunday" would be the name of the heroine.)

Frank is out in the mosquito-ridden marshes because real estate financier Jake Tennent wants to build a bridge right in the middle of what might be a significant archaeological find. Jake is a friend of the university that employs Frank (and his girlfriend Mello, who teaches some business courses) and when Frank and a ragtag team of students, scholars, and state archaeologists block his plans, he is not a happy man. (It's no coincidence that Terment comes across like a certain New York-based real estate mogul currently running for president.)

While Slave Graves does not have the comic edge of Carl Hiaasen’s work, the eclectic cast of quirky characters and the collision of special interests here reminds us a lot of Hiaasen’s work, particularly The Blue-Tongued Vole.Slave Graves is a story about history--and not just the history represented by a possible ship wreck or the location of a slave cemetery. Waterman Soldado hates Jake Terment and has been feuding with him for years. It's a story about race and class and entitlement. It's about knowing which fights you can win and which you can't.

So what you have with this book is the entire package--good characters, a twisty plot, and terrific local color. If you're a fan of region-specific mysteries, you will love Slave Graves.
9 people found this helpful
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on January 28, 2018
This book is a tale of greed, a retelling of the Cain and Abel story. It is fiction, with enough truth to make it fascinating. The site under exploration is an ancient shipwreck, intended to be buried in the name of progress. The archaeologists doing the site survey are being pressured to gloss over the history to allow the project to proceed. The tale of the site, the owner who is pushing the project forward and the archaeologists make for a truly gripping tale. If you have any interest in archaeology or history, be sure to read this.
2 people found this helpful
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I received this book free from one of the book sites. I do not remember which one! This is my honest review.
A fascinating read, full of money, big business, history, conscious, and doing the right thing even though it may not work. The characters are strong and memorable. The dialogue is proper for the time & place. Thomas Hollyday has written a beautiful book full of misery, memory, and conscience.
The character of Jake has more than one face. There is the face for the investment groups. The face for the politicians. Another face for the locsls, rich then poor. There is the face of smugness & one of rage. He was definitely multifaceted in the book.
Frank began as one man, memory brought forth another, & truth brought forth the best. He struggles within himself for quite some time to emerge as a newer man.
Pastor Allingham is an excellent choice of character. He is doggedly determined. He wants truth to come out & is not afraid to speak his mind. He will work with strength & untiring positivity.
Maggie has been burned & chained to a desk for speaking out against construction over an important site, in the past. Does she do what is right for her boss? Does she do what she knows could get her fired?
Each of these characters have a part to play in Slave Graves. Each will see the truth, but one will deny it. Who will win? You should read this book to find out.
Highly recommended.
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on December 30, 2014
I really liked the plot and characters, but the writing nearly made me quit reading by Chapter 3. A good editor would have caught the many problems that made some sentences difficult for me to follow. There were run-on sentences and too often a space or two before a period at the end of a sentence, instead of one after the period.
7 people found this helpful
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on February 20, 2018
Will the discovery of the remains of an old wrecked ship delay the construction of a bridge to a planned development on an island in the Chesapeake bay? The archeologists who are meant to ok the construction find clues to more than one old secret that the developer would kill to protect and the Black residents of the town would risk their lives to bring to light.
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on August 16, 2017
Jake Terment has a massive real estate deal beginning when a possible shipwreck is unearthed. Archeologists are called in to determine whether the site is of historical significance when things start to blow up, literally.

A very interesting, fast paced read. Packed with bits of local and world history, a modern animal rights dispute and a centuries old family secret this book does not slow down disappoint..
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on August 13, 2017
A story of a man who finds his inner strength while working on a dig in a businessman's island. It is a mystery and I enjoyed it with a hint of a old slave ship and modern day protesters dressed like butterflies. The ongoing problem of making a new bridge or studying the old ship they found while digging. A tale of one families running the local town due to their money . This is a fast paced book that I read in one sitting.
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on June 9, 2018
Oh. My. I admit skimming over some pages, not because the story was lagging but because it was so powerful! It affected me deeply. An amazing story of people caught up in the horrors of things that happened long ago but dealing with it and those who want to cover it up. Archeologists sent to do a quick study of something uncovered by a real estate bulldozer leads to discoveries and retribution.
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on July 7, 2015
I enjoyed reading Slave Graves, especially the description of the setting and the long running conflict between Jake Terment, the current leader of the original owners of Allingham Island and the descendants of slaves originally owned by the Terment family. Other conflicts include the commercial development of the island or keeping it a wild marsh to benefit monarch butterflies and other wildlife, and that between Jake and a University of Maryland archeologist, Dr. Frank Light. Jake tries to purchase Dr. light's approval to build a bridge of a an historically valuable archeological site. A budding romance between a former student of Dr. Light's further complicates the novel. The ending has multiple surprises. I would recommend this novel to all my friends.
One person found this helpful
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