At ten o’clock one rainy April morning of 1955 an ambulance entered the public square of Morgan, Alabama, with its siren going. There were probably six hundred people – office workers, merchants, shoppers and idlers – in or within earshot of the square at that hour of a weekday morning, and most of them stopped what they were doing to listen. Morgan was a small town and the sound of a siren, whether on a fire truck, police car, or ambulance, was rare enough to attract general attention when it occurred. It was a long black ambulance of the kind that doubles as a hearse in towns the size of Morgan, and the speed it was traveling at testified to the fact that something bad had happened to somebody.
When Charley Mott shot himself in his office at the courthouse, it sent shockwaves through the quiet little town of Morgan. He’d been the County Tax Collector for almost a decade. Everyone in town knew him…or did they? Was it a tragic accident or an attempt at suicide? Was there an issue with the county books or was that just a malicious rumor? With elections just around the corner and a state audit pending, there were just enough questions to divide the town and put more than one man’s reputation in jeopardy. Small wonder that rumors flew, loyalties wavered, decisions were made, and a small town became a live volcano.
Ill Wind captures life in a small town in the late 50’s with acute clarity – from the regret over past mistakes, to repressed feelings of love, to the gossip spread at the bridge clubs and the barbershop, to the struggle for political power and control of the community. It’s a taught, compelling novel that lays bare the emotions, ambitions, and struggles of the townspeople of Morgan as they react to a tragic event that leaves in its wake more questions than answers.
Read the first 2 chapters (31 pages).
Ill Wind is available for the Kindle at Amazon.
About the Author…
W. L. Heath
Copyright 2011 Merrill Heath — All materials on this site and the associated excerpts and documents are copyrighted and cannot be copied, distributed, or otherwise used without the written consent of the author.