"Darrell Henshaw is the keeper of many secrets–most of which are not entirely his own. When he decides to make a change and accept a job in a new school, he fully expects to leave all of his ghosts behind–literally. Entering this new school and beginning the season as the coach of Wilshire, Maryland’s high school football team, should be an exciting time for Darrell, but his past and present are now blurring together. He finds himself in the throes of researching the decades old story of a suicide that took place at the school. In addition, Darrell finds himself dredging up memories that might better be left alone.
Randy Overbeck’s Blood on the Chesapeake follows main character, Darrell Henshaw, on an epic journey of historic proportions as he tackles racial injustice and attempts to correctly label a suicide as a murder. With pertinent mentions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement, Overbeck has crafted a murder mystery for the ages that encourages readers to investigate their own feelings regarding social injustices.
Overbeck could not have taken a more perfect route than the diary he opted to have Darrell find and peruse. Kelly’s diary is not only the most telling sign that Hank was murdered, it is also an amazing glimpse into life in the 60s and a sure sign that desegregation was, in many areas of the US, as violently protested as it ever was decades prior. The readings of the diary by Darrell and Erin, his love interest, make the book. I could almost smell the mildewed pages, and I felt the characters’ frustration as they battled through the diary’s pages to piece together the mystery that is Kelly and Hank’s fates.
Overbeck’s pace is spot on and makes for a thoroughly engaging and quick read. With no excessive filler material, the author moves seamlessly from one tragic event and clue to the next. Overbeck makes readers yearn for closure.
One of the most amazing aspects of Overbeck’s work is the way in which he conveys the characters’ feelings toward racism. Blood on the Chesapeake is not a book to be enjoyed; it is a book to appreciate for the reminders it provides readers. With mentions of lynchings and the KKK leading up to the setting of this book, and Overbeck gives readers a clear look at the way racism and bigotry continued to leak far beyond the bounds of the deep South even after desegregation began to make its way across the US.
Though the book is clearly focused on events from the 60s via Kelly’s diary, the plot is timely considering the state of today’s world. Readers will find themselves quickly caught up in Darrell’s descriptions of his ghostly encounters and eagerly awaiting each and every clue."
"Mr. Overbeck’s Mystery Blood on the Chesapeake offers far more than an intriguing mystery. It’s an amazingly complex, detailed novel that offers well-developed characters, a stunning backdrop, and an unpredictable story line.
Darrell is a very human, flawed main character, who happens to have a sense of the spirit world. And a need to right a wrong. Part of him might regret involvement…as well as involving his girlfriend. He might want to focus on all that is right in the world, as well as the beauty of Maryland’s shoreline. Its easy for readers to find themselves savoring the details of sailing, and enjoying the picturesque setting.
Yet, there is a ghostly presence that so wants justice for a murder. And, this is no minor ‘wrong’- it’s from an important point in history. We find ourselves intrigued by the circumstances; and soon realize, though the initial crime was years ago, the danger is still very much present today. The building tension makes this into something of a thriller.
‘Haunting’ is the right word for this mystery, in more ways than one! 5 stars and truly a page turner."
“Randy’s descriptions made me think I was in this charming, quaint time. He has woven a thrilling whodunit with a supernatural edge. Delightful and engrossing. Enjoyed it.”
—Futures Mostly Mystery Magazine
“I really enjoyed this mystery with its paranormal twist. Darrel and the rest of the characters come alive on the page and the Chesapeake Bay made for some great scenes. The murder plot was well thought out and kept me turning pages right up to the totally surprising conclusion.”
—Kings River News
“I loved this paranormal mystery by new author Randy Overbeck. His characters are interesting and engaging. Technically, it is a paranormal, historical mystery—but whatever box you want to check about this book, be sure it to include it on the must read list. Overbeck’s first novel, Leave No Child Behind is the 2011 Silver Award for Thriller of the Year Winner. It would not surprise me one bit to see Blood on the Chesapeake winning awards in the near future also. Because this is Mr. Overbeck’s first novel in the series, we can assume there will be more to hear from Darrell and Erin in the future. I am excited to add this new series to my list of must reads and recommend picking up your copy today.”
“The novel is compelling, a gripping story filled with twists and turns. The novel brings together elements of history and a setting that is vividly described. Blood on the Chesapeake is well plotted and skillfully written, a novel that entertains readers and appeals strongly their consciences and their sense of humanity. Realistic and entertaining.”
“Very entertaining and a really, really good mystery.”
—Nancy Clare, Speaking of Mysteries
"The novel sounds fascinating...you're tapping into a broad readership of people who believe in ghosts...Oh wow, that's huge...you have racism as a thread throughout your story. The book is getting incredible reviews...Thrilling, kind of fun and eerie and spooky and it's a love story to boot. Gosh, who can resist that?-Susan Wingate, DIALOGUE: BETWEEN THE LINES
Timely and original, this contemporary ghost story is genuinely entertaining! Written with heart and talent, Randy Overbeck's passion for justice and understanding of history combine with a compelling setting and heartbreaking story to give mystery fans a terrific, one-sitting read."
—Hank Phillpi Ryan, NYT Best Selling Author
"An absorbing and genuinely creepy debut tale that will have you gripped to the final chapter!"
—Zoe Sharp, author of the Charlie Fox series
“Blood on the Chesapeake is a spooky, atmospheric mystery set in a haunted high school, featuring an even more haunted protagonist investigating deaths past and present. A page turner!”
—James Benn, author of the Billy Boyle series
"BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE is a tale to be savored in a darkened room, with an eye to the possibilities lurking just out of sight.”
—WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER
2011 Silver Award Winner--Thriller of the Year from ReadersFavorite.com Heroic Teacher of the Year contest, Midwest and South
"Frank and gritty...a story ripped from the headlines"
—Amelia Robinson, Dayton Daily News
"A fast-paced thriller that weaves the economy, international terrorism and homegrown heroism into a telling tale."
—Sofia Burgess, Wilmington News-Journal
"Leave No Child Behind is a strong pick for thrilling fiction, highly recommended"
—The Midwest Book Review
"An action-packed thriller...with a plot that moves swiftly and characters that are multi-faceted and exquisitely developed."
"A page turning suspense thriller that will leave you wanting more! Action-packed with a pace that's absolutely perfect."
—J. Weaver, Books-and-Authors.net