Gruesome murders at Oak Hammock Park in Port St. Lucie, Florida

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.Oct. 24, 2015PRLog — Sunbury Press has released Keith Rommel’s second installment about the Devil Tree entitledThe Devil Tree II: The Calling, a super-natural thriller.

tdt2_fcWhat drives someone to kill? Is it something within them, or an outside force that influences them?

One of Florida’s most overlooked serial killers (Gerard John Schaefer) wrought havoc along the Treasure Coast and Hutchinson Island in the 1970s. His reign of terror consisted of unspeakable acts of torture, rape, and murder by an ancient oak tree. He hanged people there, buried their bodies, and came back often to pillage what remained. It is believed that Schaefer’s evil seeped into the tree and surrounding area, leaving a blemish on the otherwise beautiful nature walk in Oak Hammock Park in Port Saint Lucie. When night descends around the tree, the atmosphere changes completely; hundreds of stories are offered up about personal experiences of a true-life haunting.

Continuing with the legend that is pulled into modern day, Satanists commune by the tree in honor of their fallen idol. Terrible things happen around the tree, which seems to have a certain allure to it . . . making peoplecommit unimaginable acts.

This sick and grizzly legend is so deep, so convoluted and wicked, you won’t believe what you read. Whatever you do, don’t visit the Devil Tree after dusk. You will never be the same. This is not just a blurb for the back of a book, but a warning from many people–including uniformed officers who have come forth to share their experiences at the tree. I have seen both confusion and truth in their eyes.

This is a must-read series for all Floridians and those intrigued by legends, the supernatural, and the occult.

EXCERPT:

tgt2_bandThe big oak tree remained firmly planted in the soil and blocked out the moonlight with its thick overhead canopy draped in Spanish moss. It towered there like a sentinel of bad omens with a history it didn’t ask for and a reputation it couldn’t shake.

A dozen people gathered around, all dressed in long black robes with silk, ropelike belts with tassels and red plastic masks to disguise their faces. Two from the group placed candles around the tree and one followed behind them, lighting the candles. The flicker of candlelight added to the eerie scene that had begun to play out.

Everyone backed away and two others stepped forward. Unlike the others, their masks were white with a bloody teardrop underneath the left eyehole. They brushed away the leaves and acorns that covered the forest floor, sat down on the cool ground, and set a Ouija board between them.

Gentle fingers rested on the planchette, the small, heart-shaped movable indicator, and everyone around remained perfectly quiet. Palpable tension hung in the air as if something wicked shushed everyone with the promise of something terrible to come. The onlookers waited while the two chosen ones who had been called forth spoke to the Ouija board. With that, the ritual had begun.

“We have come here and gathered for you, and we respectfully ask that you give us a sign of your presence,” a male voice said, muted by the mask without a mouth hole.

The planchette started to move slowly, without purpose, and the leaders stared at each other.

“Have you been expecting us?” the female said and shook her masked head.

The Devil Tree II: The Calling
Authored by Keith Rommel
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
202 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066522
ISBN-10: 1620066521
BISAC: Fiction / Thrillers / Supernatural

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Devil-Tree-II-The-Ca…

Keith Rommel's "The Devil Tree" based on Port St. Lucie's legend

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla.Keith Rommel’s latest novel, The Devil Tree, based on the Port St. Lucie, Florida legend is has been released in hardcover.

tdt_fcAbout the Book:
Back in the 1970s, a series of bizarre incidents occurred at what has since been known as “The Devil Tree.”  Beneath this ancient denizen, evil was wrought by a sick serial killer, calling upon forces most evil and dark.  People were hung there … and bodies buried there … exhumed by the police.  Overcome by superstition, some tried to cut down the tree, to no avail.  Since then, it has stood in a remote section of a local park — left to its own devices — quiet in its eerie repose — until now!

Best-selling psychological-thriller author Keith Rommel has imagined the whole tale anew. He’s brought the tree to life and retold the tale with gory detail only possible in a fiction novel. Action-packed, with spine-tingling detail, this thriller is beyond parallel in the ground it uncovers … one author’s explanation of what may have really been said — what may have really happened — under Port St. Lucie’s “Devil Tree.”

Excerpt:
PICNIC
The past.
The big oak tree had crooked limbs that reached for the sky and a trunk over twenty feet in circumference. The thick canopy above blocked the midday sun, making the air seem ten degrees cooler than the scorching ninety-degree heat beating down from the hot Florida rays.

Port Saint Lucie was a quiet town and seemed to be a world within its own. Dirt roads and cheap housing had the allure to invite northern folks in hopes of escaping the bustle of city life, high costs of living, and the brutal cold winters that took their toll on the mind, body, and spirit.

For Marion, so far the change of pace was nothing short of perfect. The house she lived in was beautiful, her neighbors were pleasant; the air seemed cleaner and the sky a different kind of blue.

Looking at the ground surrounding the oak tree, she thought it the ideal spot to have a picnic with her two children, Bobby and Judy. She had Bobby carry the white and red checkered sheet, which was folded into a neat and manageable square. Judy helped by carrying the wicker picnic basket but struggled with the weight. Neither her mother or her brother offered to help her because she insisted she could do it and didn’t want help from anyone. Headstrong and full of temper, she was a handful.

Marion fiddled with a transistor radio and tried to get a clear signal so they could listen to music while they spent some quality family time on this perfect day out.

“Right here,” Marion said to Bobby, pointing at the flat ground underneath the giant oak. She mopped the sweat from her brow and looked up the hulking trunk and into the intricate weave of branches that was marvelous to the eyes. Spanish moss hung down, and if it wasn’t daytime the oak might have left the impression of a creepy Halloween prop.

Bobby placed the blanket down and did a fine job of getting all the wrinkles out of it. Marion assisted Judy in placing the basket down on the corner of the blanket, and although she didn’t say so, Marion thought she was thankful for the assistance.

She kicked off her shoes and stepped onto the squares and sat cross-legged. The ground was soft enough, and a coolness from the soil seeped up through the blanket, adding to the relief of being out of the direct sunlight.

“Yes, this is perfect,” Marion said, and the radio caught the marvelous chorus of “Norwegian Wood” by The Beatles. “Put your shoes off to the side before you step on the blanket,” she told the children. “I don’t want you tracking dirt all over the place before we eat.”

The kids did as they were told and Marion looked around, admiring the spot she had chosen. It was the first time she had been to this particular part of town and was glad she’d come across it. She had seen a couple of fishermen on her way in, tugging on the invisible lines they had cast and drinking Blue Ribbon beer. The men had looked over their shoulders at the sound of her car, but she had pulled far enough into the oversized lot that she couldn’t see them from her space.

The water in the canal looked clean enough to cool their feet if they needed, and the flow of water was slow enough that it posed little to no threat of sweeping them away. But she would decide whether or not they would go into the canal after the children had eaten and if they behaved well enough.

Bobby and Judy sat on the blanket, their legs folded Indian-style just like their mother. Bobby’s face lit up as he admired the giant oak and the things that dangled over him.

“Do you think I can climb it when we’re done eating?”

Marion thought about it. There was no question the tree was strong enough to hold him. But the sharp angles of the branches and clumps of Spanish moss made her nervous. She’d heard something about there being chiggers in moss. Despite the warm weather, she shivered just thinking about those nasty biting mites.

“I don’t know, Bobby, let Mommy think about it,” she said but already knew the answer to be no. She just didn’t want to start the picnic on a negative. “Let’s eat some lunch then afterward I’d like to go down to the water there and have a look. Maybe we can get our feet wet.”

“Neat, Mom,” Bobby said.

Static filled the Zenith 500 transistor radio, and Marion fiddled with the small dial, delicately turning it until the tuning was sharp. The Beatles came back to life and she couldn’t help but sing along in an emotional whisper.

She opened the basket and handed Bobby and Judy their bologna sandwiches, which were cut into fours. The children placed them into their laps and ate neatly and with manners.

“How did you find this place, Mom? It’s really neat,” Bobby said and was unable to keep his eyes out of the canopy. The tree seemed to invite him up the hefty trunk and into the tangle of branches. The vantage point from up there must be spectacular, he thought, and he bit into his sandwich with an ailing whine in an attempt to sway his mother’s thinking.

Marion ignored him and continued to take in her surroundings. Their 1966 Studebaker Wagonaire was parked about thirty yards away, cooking in the midday heat. She grabbed her own sandwich and unfolded the foil. As she sat there, taking tiny bites, a sudden chill rocked her body. The cold that came up through the ground and the shade of the giant oak maybe took away too much of the warmth, she decided. Marion looked at her children with the flesh goosed on her arms.

“Are you guys cold at all?”

“No,” Judy said. “It’s nice here. I like it, Mommy.”

“Yeah, Mom, it’s really neat here.”

The Devil Tree
Authored by Keith Rommel

List Price: $29.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
192 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620065884
ISBN-10: 1620065880
BISAC: Fiction / Occult & Supernatural

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Devil-Tree-9781620065884.htm

Serial killer on the loose in the Cumberland Valley

CARLISLE, Pa.Sunbury Press has released J. M. West’s first novel in the Carlisle Crime Cases series, Dying for Vengeance: A Christopher Snow & Erin McCoy Mystery.

dfv_fcAbout the Book:
Carlisle Homicide Detective Erin McCoy battles the jitters as the first woman in Homicide partnered with Senior Detective Christopher Snow. On their first case, they track a serial killer who’s stalking family members embroiled in an inheritance dispute. The perp dispatches his victims with toxic chemicals. As the detectives chase clues and connect the related victims, their mutual attraction blooms while she nurses him after a shooting incident. But sparks fly when FBI Special Agent Howard offers McCoy a job if she’ll train at Quantico. McCoy returns to Carlisle when she learns she has a rival for Snow’s affections.

Snow’s former partner, Reese Savage, returns to the CPD from Middle-East deployments expecting to resume their bachelor ways. Savage’s ire results in a PTSD spike while he’s tailing a suspect. In the interim, Chief March reassigns McCoy to the K9 Unit. When Mac becomes a target, she learns that she needs Chris to shove and shock her into life.

 

Carlisle Crime Cases series

Carlisle Crime Cases series

Dying for Vengeance is Jody McGibney West’s first murder mystery/romance featuring Detectives Christopher Snow and Erin McCoy in The Carlisle Crime Cases Series. Interested reader may wish to backtrack and meet the Flowers family in her debut novel,Glory in the Flower.

Excerpt:
Relieved to be finished testifying in a local Domestic Violence case, Detective Erin “Mac” McCoy navigated the courthouse stairs. Clambering down concrete steps, wearing spike heels and a bulky quilted jacket while lugging a purse and briefcase, she longed to change into sweats and chill. The defendant and a few suits were clustered near the famed, charismatic defense attorney Antony Karagianis. His dark, wavy hair and distinctive silver sideburns framed telegenic blue eyes. She skirted the staged tableau. Karagianis nodded as she passed but turned to the cameras to explain why his client had been acquitted, despite slashing his wife and threatening his two kids. At the bottom of the steps, a reporter cornered the defense attorney for a sound bite, sticking the microphone in his face.

“I feel like Sisyphus,” Erin muttered, anger surging at the uphill battle with DV; usually the perp was acquitted—or not even tried because the victim refused to press charges. Hiking to her silver Honda Accord a block down West High, Erin fished for her keys and unlocked the door. A woman across the street, with wavy chestnut hair and oversized sunglasses, stood by a mud-brown Dodge Charger parked at the curb, her hands hidden behind her back.

The acquitted sauntered toward them. A thin navy suit, white shirt, and tie failed to hide the dragon tat on his neck. His long dark hair had been washed and gelled back off his face, his mustache and soul patch shaved for the trial. Seeing the woman wiped the satisfied smirk off his face. He rushed to confront her. “You bitch, you filed charges against me! I warned you!” His meaty hands latched onto her neck, squeezing; his body pinned hers against the vehicle. Before Erin could cross the street to intervene, the woman’s right hand came between the couple. A loud pop, then blood and matter spurted from the exit wound. Cordite filled the air. The dead man kept his balance for a few seconds, and then crumpled to the ground, shot through the heart. The gun clattered to the macadam.

About the Author:
Dying for Vengeance
is the first in the Carlisle Crime Cases series of murder/mysteries featuring Homicide detectives Christopher Snow and Erin McCoy by Jody McGibney West, pseudonym for Joan M. West, Professor Emerita of English Studies at Harrisburg Area Community College, The Gettysburg Campus. She also taught at Messiah College and Shippensburg University as an adjunct and served as Assistant Director of the Learning Center (SU). She has previously published poetry and Glory in the Flower, her debut novel. It depicts four coeds who meet during the turbulent sixties.

She and her husband live near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. They have two sons and two grandsons. In her spare time, West volunteers at the Bookery—Bosler Memorial Library’s used bookstore, participates in the Litwits Book group, and reads voraciously.

Dying for Vengeance: A Christopher Snow & Erin McCoy Mystery
Authored by J. M. West
List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
394 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064825
ISBN-10: 1620064820
BISAC: Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Police Procedural

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Dying-for-Vengeance-9781…

Capital punishment in early Nebraska history featured in Tim Dempsey's latest book

OMAHA, Neb. — Sunbury Press has released Tim Dempsey’s book “Well I’ll Be Hanged: Early Capital Punishment in Nebraska.”

wibh_fc

About the Book:
Sam Richards was more than likely Nebraska’s first serial killer. Among his many victims were a mother and her three children who were savagely beaten to death. In 1879, Richards was hung for his crimes in Kearney County, Nebraska, and his skull eventually placed on display in the window of the local newspaper. George Morgan was a pedophile who raped and then choked an eleven year old to death on November 3, 1895 in Omaha. Morgan was hung in Douglas County, Nebraska in 1897. From 1867, when Nebraska became a state, until 1897, fourteen convicted killers were condemned to their fate on a gallows erected in county jail yards across the state. Thirteen of these doomed men died at the hands of a county sheriff and one was executed by a United States Marshal. This book looks at all fourteen of these cases. They represent the workings of Nebraska’s criminal justice system in the late nineteenth century, and the men that made it work.

Well I’ll Be Hanged: Early Capital Punishment in Nebraska

Authored by Tim Dempsey

List Price: $16.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
214 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620063361
ISBN-10: 1620063360
BISAC: True Crime / Murder / Serial Killers

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Well-Ill-Be-Hanged-Early…