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It could be any small, Southern town. Overgrown farms and single-wide homesteads huddle along the Catawma River. The old movie house perches just across from the all-night diner in what once passed for a downtown. Route 41 finally got a stop light, though there's no reason to stop. Unless, of course, you want to see the spot near the bridge where those four boys from Enoch washed up after the flood. Or the ditch where they found Janie Dickson's head.

In the town of Gabriel, something not quite right lurks just around every shadowed corner. Guttural noises trickle through the night air. Visitors arrive and never leave. Locals disappear into the darkness. Families look the other way while praying for their own. This is life — and death — for the scarred souls that inhabit Cull County.

Meet Mercy Heller

Like so many other modern writers, I grew up in the backwoods of the South. With a name like Mercy Heller, I figured my career choices were limited to televangelist, stripper or Southern Gothic novelist. Eager for a challenge, I naturally chose struggling writer — the one with least prestige and lowest earning potential. more >

My Recent Thoughts

Just beyond that turn up ahead

Last week I spent a few days on the road, hip deep in leg work for a research project on the oral traditions of mountaineering in the age of social media. Since Christmas, I’ve been stuck in a rut. My wheels spinning. It’s been weighing on me like a wet, cable-knit sweater. This week my wheels finally hit the road and my perspective changed the further I got from home. (more…)
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Works in Progress

Good Neighbors

Generally, good fences make good neighbors. In Cull County, even fences aren't enough as envy, resentment and petty jealousy turn a quiet cul de sac into a suburban war zone. Four families find their secrets exposed and their lives turned upside down in one night of shocking, brutal violence. Coming soon on Amazon and Apple Books.

Good Neighbors

Generally, good fences make good neighbors. In Cull County, even fences aren't enough as envy, resentment and petty jealousy turn a quiet cul de sac into a suburban war zone. Four families find their secrets exposed and their lives turned upside down in one night of shocking, brutal violence. Coming soon on Amazon and Apple Books.

My Pretty Pictures