|What secrets were behind this rusty fence?|
Book 1: Clinton Moore Thriller Series
We whizzed past a white rusted half-open gate on the driver’s side that struck me as eery. Inside, I spotted a building project that had been started years ago but then abandoned, with pilings standing straight up from the ground,but no work going on.
I asked her what this was all about. Who’d started constructing the house behind the rusty gate,and why did they quit?
“He was murdered,” she blurted out. “He was a bad man! He was gay!”
I was stunned. But I wanted to hear the rest of this story, and not from her.
The rusted gate had been the entrance to a home he’d started to build before he was killed, that much proved true I later learned from one of his old friends. I got his names from a restaurant owner in the small downtown section of Drew.
I like a good story, but to learn all of this one, I had to discover the who, what, when, where and why for myself. Nobody was going to just sit down and fill me in.
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I called the wife of a local minister, following a suggestion by a restaurant owner in downtown Drew. The little town itself, holds quite a history. Drew is near the site where 14-year-old Emmett Till was lynched in 1955, a murder that helped ignite the modern civil rights movement.
Soon, I learned that Cleve McDowell, the first black student to enter the University of Mississippi’s law school, was the victim of a robbery and murder. The un-built house had been started on land that was his. It took months to pull new information together, but I didn’t even start to write this novel until I retired in Cuenca, Ecuador, years later and found alone time to think and work. Two nonfiction books came first.
Back in Mississippi, I’d tracked down a courthouse clerk and several older people who’d been McDowell’s friends. I was able to find a copy of his autopsy and with the help of a physician and forensic researcher, and I learned that two shooters were probably involved. It looked like the person who shot the fatal bullet got away.
Cleveland McDowell became the main character—Clinton Moore—in The Plan. I changed names, dates and locations, moving the story from Drew to Clarksdale, but did not change much else, at least in the beginning of the book. I wanted to remain true to Delta history. Cleve McDowell was an interesting and compassionate man who deserves to be remembered. I hope this book helps make that happen.
A second character, Joe Means, who also was developed from a person, a fellow lawyer, Henry S. Mims of Montgomery, Alabama also was murdered, in my opinion. Again, I learned that several people in that region believed Mims’ reported suicide was not what really took place. Mims and McDowell were close friends. Both had worked on civil rights cold cases in their spare time.
Stories about other murders are included in The Plan, such as an “accident” in which a Vicksburg private detective, John D. Sullivan, lost his life. He’d been working for his former FBI boss in in New Orleans, Guy Banister, who JFK conspiracy researchers have tied to the assassination planning team. I’ve included quite a bit about Sullivan that has not been reported to date.
The Plan moves from New York City to the Delta and then into South America. It has links to Ecuador and Chile. I hope that readers will learn new facts about Colonia Dignidad, a modern-day Andes-based concentration camp that was only recently closed.
This is where the sequel will begin! (After I come back home from Santiago, Chile.)
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