Fayetteville native and author Richard Folsom cracks open America’s oldest cold case file in his spine-tingling piece of historical fiction, Indian Wood. The novel explores the centuries-old mystery of the disappearance of the 1587 colony off the shores of Roanoke Island — the only remaining clue was a tree with the word “Croatoan” carved into its bark.
When Colonial history buff and professor Dr. Carl Bowden is murdered in the library of East Carolina University, his friend Luther Surles, a newspaperman, sets out to solve the crime. On his journey of detection, Luther discovers clues to solving the mystery of the “Lost Colony.” But someone doesn’t want him to learn the secrets of the colonists, possibly the same person or persons responsible for shooting Carl. Luther uncovers truths about his friend’s life, including a clandestine love affair with a graduate student and a secret manuscript that leads Luther closer to the answers he seeks. But he quickly learns that a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
History and modern-day mystery literally intertwine, as Folsom provides flashbacks to key historical scenes involving Sir Walter Raleigh, Queen Elizabeth, and the Croatan Indians. He presents the evidence like a well-prepared district attorney, leaving the reader guessing until the end. Indian Wood is an exciting and intellectually stimulating journey through North Carolina’s Colonial history — something well worth investigating.
BookSurge Publishing. 2008, 208 pages, paperback, $15.99. Available at www.richardfolsom.com or at eastern North Carolina bookstores.