• Home • About • Myrtle Beach • Cache River • The Tomato Patch • Art •


 

MYRTLE BEACH

A novel by Luther Knight

 

MYRTLE BEACH  $20.00 + $3.50 shipping and

Mississippi or Arkansas Sales Tax if Required.

 

Buy It Now

“Well, now, ain’t that a real sweet scene. You two slobbering over each other…”

Most novels dealing with wartime are mainly in combat settings with only a passing look at the majority of young men and women dutifully serving their country under less hazardous circumstances. In reality, only a small number of these young warriors ever see combat. That does not in any way take away from their dedication to country and the willingness to place their lives on the line. The story, Myrtle Beach, is a tale about how young men barely out of high school cope with overwhelming circumstances of routine military life. This story is for those readers who were young and wild during the Korean conflict, especially those young men and women who served faithfully in the military during that tumultuous era.

Myrtle Beach is a work of fiction written to entertain rather than to indoctrinate the reader to any particular point of view about military service. It does, however, show how one may become entangled in situations beyond control that lead to deeper involvement, often with tragic results.

This story is of the experiences of a series of murders, lost love and broken friendships as related by an elderly retired sergeant in the waning years of his life to a perky young nurse who has befriended him at the United States Veterans Facility at Gulfport, Mississippi.

A reviewer commented, “Myrtle Beach moves like a flathead Chevy tooling along the back roads of South Carolina in the fifties.” For those readers of all generations who enjoy mystery and suspense, with a little romance thrown in, Myrtle Beach is a page turner that begs to be read.


Myrtle Beach Reviews:

Reviewed by: Robert Khayat.

I ran into Robert Khayat, a friend and former colleague, not too long ago at the local Kroger store here in Oxford, Mississippi. He and I were on the same mission—doing the grocery shopping for our wives.

The following facts only touch at the extensive achievements of Dr. Khayat. He retired from Ole Miss a couple of years ago following a distinguished career as a member of the University of Mississippi Law School faculty and eventually as Dean of the Law School and finally as Chancellor of the University of Mississippi. Not only an accomplished academician and talented administrator, Chancellor Khayat is further known for his athletic ability as a former All American Ole Miss Rebel football player and later as an outstanding place kicker in professional football. In addition to his contributions to higher education, Dr. Khayat served as an executive with the NCAA, before returning to academia.

When he learned I had written Myrtle Beach, he graciously offered the following comments. These remarks mean much to me, especially since they come from a friend.

 

 

 

Reviewed by: Norm Goldman.

"It is the summer of 2004, Chief Master Sergeant Lucas Mackley sits in a United States Veterans Retirement Facility in Gulfport, Mississippi. He is seemingly unaware of his surroundings, as he daydreams about painful events he experienced many years ago, when he was an enlisted airman in the US Air Force stationed in Myrtle Beach. These episodes were so distressing that for fifty years he kept them harnessed in his memory, not sharing it with anyone, that is, until he met Nurse Marty Judson, whom he calls Em. She reminds him of his true lost love, a teenager named Emily, and due to this likeness, Nurse Judson is successful in prompting Lucas to recount these agonizing events. Very quickly, Luther Knight, author of Myrtle Beach, pulls us into a compelling and exciting read, involving love, human destiny, deceit, betrayal, untrustworthy friends, monstrous murders, and the injustices of the world.

The unfolding drama focuses on three airmen, Lucas Mackley and his two buddies Charles Kesterman, and JJ Phelps, who first converge at the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, Mississippi. Mackley is from Arkansas, and pursuant to a challenge made by one of his friends, enlisted in the Air Force at the age of nineteen. Kesterman grew up in Mississippi, the elder of two sons of a divorced mother. When Kesterman was seven or eight his mother remarried a man who would abuse her. The combination of losing his father and the cruelty of his stepfather probably was the cause of his constantly getting into trouble. It also resulted in his cockiness, particularly when it came to women. Phelps had grown up in Missouri, and after graduating high school, he had plans to become an electrical engineer. Unfortunately, his plans and life were dramatically changed when he almost killed a professor who insulted his intelligence. As a result, he was forced to abandon his plans and decided to join the Air Force.

While the threesome were stationed at Keesler, chasing women and drinking, the body of a forty-year old woman was discovered in the waters off the Gulf of Mexico. The first presumption was that she had committed suicide. It was also here where the three friends came in contact with a bestial Staff Sergeant Wilbert Burnham Webber, who delighted in making life miserable for anyone that crossed his path. On an early Sunday morning in March 1951, Webber's bloodied body was discovered. He was the recipient of a savage beating leaving very little clues as to who was the culprit. And the murder occurred on the night just before the three airmen were shipped out to Shaw AFB in South Carolina. It was at Shaw where they would help organize a team capable of operating along the South Carolina coast monitoring air traffic while training for eventual overseas duty.

What is noteworthy is that wherever the three airmen were assigned, death always seemed to follow. In all, there were five murders and one fatal accident, and somehow the trio were always at a reasonable distance from the scenes of these deaths. Moreover, they also appeared to have known some of the murder victims. Among the tragedies was the accident of a tobacco farmer killed in a crash caused by one of the airmen from their base. Shortly thereafter, the deceased's wife took to drinking, and one day was found viciously murdered. Another was the case of two teenagers brutally beaten and killed in a nearby town not far from where the buddies were stationed. All of the the murder crimes seemed to follow the same vicious pattern pointing to the workings of a deranged person. However, the civilian and military law authorities were at a loss as to who committed these sadistic killings, although they did have their suspicions that perhaps a connection existed involving one of more of the trio and these perplexing murders. Proving it was another matter, as the evidence was flimsy and circumstantial. As for Chief Master Sergeant Lucas Mackley, when he did figure out what he became involved in, he realized the far reaching ramifications it would have on his future life.

Knight does a masterful job in keeping the intensity of the plot throughout this harrowing yarn. The suspense of the characters' interactions with one another, the menace of Kesterman's unpredictable behavior, the secrets lurking in the past, and the obscure strings that vaguely connect the murders together all contribute to make this debut novel a great read. There is certainly never a dull moment, serving just the right balance of insidious malevolence and innocence."

Myrtle Beach Reviewed by: Norm Goldman   www.bookpleasures.com.

Norm Goldman, B.A. LL.L, is the Publisher & Editor of Bookpleasures. He is also a top 500 Amazon reviewer.

Norm Goldman can also be accessed at Friendfeed and Linkedin.

Myrtle Beach Author: Luther Knight; Publisher: American Book Publishing.

Reviewed by: Kelly Davis.

"Anyone who has ever enjoyed the incredible coastline in and around Myrtle Beach, SC will adore Myrtle Beach by Luther Knight. Author Knight obviously knows this small section of the country well – not only does he perfectly describe the panorama and oppressive humidity of the area, he captures dead-on the unique dialect and cadence of Low Country locals.

As much as Knight knows his stuff concerning all things Low Country, he is obviously even more familiar with life in the United States Air Force. Myrtle Beach’s main character is Lucas Mackley, who enlisted in the Air Force on January 19, 1950 at the young age of 19. When Mackley enlisted, he may have expected to be deployed to Korea but he certainly did not anticipate that he would soon be the main suspect in a string of grisly murders that seem to be following him!

That the reader is afforded a front-row seat to these murders is not particularly unique in a novel of this type but what is unique is how Knight fleshes out these characters so completely that by the time they are killed you may wonder how their loved ones would have reacted. (Definitely not my standard response when reading a thriller!) In fact, my favorite thing about Myrtle Beach is that Knight took obvious time and attention to detailing the lives of every single one of his characters, including those that get but one page of attention. I feel like I know the secondary characters including Staff Sergeant Wilbert Webber, a cruel commander, Mattie Lou Simpson, who is pushing 40 and reeks of booze and cigarettes as even as she seeks comfort in the arms of strange men, Mert and Leona, two of the ugliest barmaids you’ll ever meet, and Roscoe and Sarah Mooreland, both flawed people in differing ways but made for each other.

We are with young Mackley with his drunken comrades in a local bar, where you can almost hear the slurred speech and smell the liquor-soaked carpet. We feel his unease as he realizes the string of murders is following him and he suspects that the killer may be someone close to him. We feel his heart racing as he is accused of the murders and has to run from the APs and South Carolina State Troopers even as they are on his tail by no more than one car length. The sweat on his back as he realizes he is being pursued by police hounds.

Lucas stumbled from the woods into the partially water-filled ditch along Highway 17 and paused, orienting himself. Crossing the road, he raced along a small field to the west, his legs protesting each crucial stride…With terror surging through his body, he sprinted toward the waterway, a marathoner at the finish line…Looking over his shoulder, he saw the dogs loping across the road, their bodies silhouetted by the headlights of an approaching automobile and their shadows exaggerated in the glaring lights…

Will Mackley escape successfully? Will the real killer be found? Knight takes his readers on a journey of not just a fugitive but takes us to a simpler time and place. If you are at all interested in the Low Country, the military, or just great characters in a great mystery – Myrtle Beach by Luther Knight is a must read for you!"

Myrtle Beach Reviewed by: Kelly Davis www.bookideas.com

Myrtle Beach Author: Luther Knight; Publisher: American Book Publishing.

 


Myrtle Beach Comments:

 

Luther Knight’s third novel, Myrtle Beach, tells the story of Lucas Mackley, J.J. Phelps, and Charlie Kesterman, three airmen in the 1950s South Carolina. After a series of mysterious murders, local law enforcement suspects that one of the three is a brutal serial killer…but which one? Knight’s newest novel is a fast-paced whodunit that will satisfy the most discerning mystery aficionado. Knight writes with a keen sense of place and mood, drawing extensively upon his southern roots. His characters are so warm that you feel the he must have personally known each one. This story moves faster than a flathead Chevy on a South Carolina highway!

Glenn Parsons, author of Sharks, Skates, and Rays of the Gulf of Mexico.

Myrtle Beach, by Luther Knight, shares the grit of the people and places during the times of the ‘50s. The story is saturated with suspense, as you experience enlisted life in our military. I enthusiastically recommend it for a great read.

Gerald Inmon, author of Yocona Puff Adder.

Luther Knight’s mystery novels are known for engaging and astonishing his readers. Myrtle Beach is loaded with extraordinary twists and turns. It piques my curiosity as it spiraled to a heartfelt conclusion. Definitely a must read for those that enjoy suspenseful reality in fiction form.

Beverly Slater, private investigator/author.

Myrtle Beach, Luther Knight’s latest page-turner is the story of a series of chilling murders that follow a trio of young Air Force volunteers in the Korean Police Action era. They meet at the radar training facility at Keesler AFB in Biloxi, Mississippi, and finally part their separate ways during a tour of duty at the abandoned WWII air force base near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Knight not only delivers a compelling chronicle of mayhem, he also describes the vistas of his story in vivid and striking detail. Knight tells a good story.

S.Gale Denley, Emeritus Professor of Journalism, University of Mississippi, Publisher of The Calhoun County Journal, Bruce, MS, and Syndicated Columnist.

A cunning sociopath serial killer is on a rampage around the once peaceful ocean resort town of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. His crimes are heinous; beyond just killing, the bodies are almost always mutilated. There are few clues, just desperate hunches by local law officers. Then military investigators from nearby Shaw Air Force Base link an unsolved murder of a senior NCO over a year before at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, to three young airmen now assigned to a radar site near Myrtle Beach. One of these, Lucas Mackley, panics when told he is about to be arrested and flees with his pregnant girlfriend. The climatic build-up to this truly gut-clutching chase that ultimately reveals the killer’s identity is once again told with those entertaining story-telling twists and turns Luther Knight is so well known for in his novels.

Franklin D. Rast, author of Don’s Nam, Ghosts in the Wire, Bayou Samurai.

Luther Knight is the kind of storyteller who you’d welcome beside you at the bar. Myrtle Beach reads with an authentic voice, like a tale that Knight really lived, and that makes it a real pleasure taking the trip with him.

Ace Atkins, author of Wicked City, White Shadow, Dirty South, Dark End of the Street, Leavin’ Trunk Blues Crossroad Blues, and Devil’s Garden.

Knight is a natural storyteller. Truly awesome and amazing. This book kept me reading into the wee hours of the night. This mystery novel is not one that I will forget soon.

Freda A. Hartness, Friends of the Mississippi Libraries.

 


• Home • About • Myrtle Beach • Cache River • The Tomato Patch • Art •

Hit Counter

Copyright © 2009 - 2013 Luther Knight

www.lutherknight.com

 

Luther Knight on Facebook:

 http://www.facebook.com/people/Luther-Knight/100001987759655