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WORDS STILL MATTER
Words still matter. Perhaps, now more than ever.
What we say and what we write carries weight, makes a difference. A few words from a president can set off alarm bells. A phrase from the fed chairman can make the stock market soar or ignite a selling spree. And it’s not just the words of major players. Dangerous misinformation shared on social media platforms actually cost lives.
Our words can wound or heal, can obscure or reveal. We’ve learned long ago the saying, sticks and stones can break out bones, but words can never hurt us, is clearly not true.
Words matter, still.
So when I set off to write my novels, I pay special attention to my words…and what I choose to write about. I’m not naïve. I realize readers pick up my Haunted Shores Mysteries looking for puzzling whodunits or perhaps hoping to get away to one of my incredible locations or even to experience a little “who-hoo.”
But my novels are about more than cold case murders, a ghost or two, a thread of romance or even breathtakingly beautiful resorts. I’m also careful to structure my narrative to tell a larger truth. A truth about us, about our society, about how we treat each other. In the first two entries, my plots entwined with the issues of racial injustice (BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE) and human trafficking (CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY).
In the third installment, SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER, I have my sights set on an equally compelling social issue, one not very well understood by most Americans. As Darrell tries to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of two young Latino children, he is thrust in the middle of our “immigrant problem,” as they might say on the news. As I completed my research for this novel, which takes place more than twenty years earlier, I was amazed how little has changed on this issue. As a nation we’re still struggling today much the same way we were in 2000 with how we deal with “the hungry, the poor, yearning to be free” as is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.
My words are not intended to persuade anyone. Rather, like my efforts in CRIMSON about human trafficking, I’m hoping my writing may cause readers to pause and want to learn more, this time about the plight of migrant workers—and not simply accept the soundbites about the issues on TV or social media.
I hope my words matter.
“One thing that is particularly special about Overbeck’s books is that they unabashedly tackle social issues within their plots. Already having discussed racism and human trafficking in his first two books, “Scarlet at Crystal River” once again forces readers to confront a particularly pervasive and dangerous social issue. This book, in particular, touches upon the dangers of racism and xenophobia, as well as emphasize the often-ignored plights of the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who are the reason we are able to have such a variety of fruits, vegetables and other resources in our daily lives.”—ReaderViews
Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for four decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, the Amazon No. 1 Best Seller, Blood on the Chesapeake, Crimson at Cape May and Scarlet at Crystal River have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the Year–ReadersFavorite.com, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”—ReadersView.com and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation, “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.
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- Release by Wild Rose Press—September 13, 2021
- Paranormal mystery
- 364 pp.
All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin, in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.
When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids gets their car shot up and Erin hospitalized. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to get justice for two young children he never even knew.
Darrell and Erin thought they were heading to Florida for a carefree honeymoon, but the ghosts of two immigrants children haunt them, pleading for help.
“Scarlet at Crystal River is an eerie paranormal mystery I couldn’t stop reading. Randy Overbeck is a masterful writer of the paranormal, drawing the reader in before instilling shivers down the spine. 5+ stars.” –N. N. Light’s Book Heaven
“A rollercoaster of a mystery, hurtling up and down hills and sharp corners until the very end, when the reader is left slightly breathless, waiting for their hearts to beat back to a normal rhythm. ★★★★★—ReadersView
“Scarlet at Crystal River is a suspenseful paranormal novel with compelling characters and an enigmatic mystery that drives the story to a riveting conclusion. Overbeck is a master at building tension–-this is easily a one-sitting read.” ★★★★★—Literary Titan
“This is another masterpiece from Randy Overbeck. His excellent writing style has left me speechless for one more time. He writes in a way that makes you feel what the characters feel and you have no choice but to partake in the journey with them.” ★★★★★—Ioanna’s Reviews, Greece