Despite insurmountable obstacles, a young man dares to become the lawman his deceased father once was.

Young Sean Callahan appears to be lost. His father who was a legendary Lawman, has just passed away. He did however train his son to be a leader and to follow in his footsteps. In the year 1894, he began working on the sea vessel the Intrepid. With the whaling trade slowing. He sets his sights on something else. The one thing Sean knows he can't run away from…

His uncle is the courageous Captain James Callahan who runs the Boston Office for U.S. Marshals. He gives Sean a new start in life, by becoming a marshal himself. Later ordered to an obscure town seeming hidden in Rhode Island. His mission is to find out what happened to four missing women. Under the watchful eye of retired Major Jeremiah Lancaster. He tries to understand what everyone appears to be hiding, in a town filled with folklore and superstition.

With seemingly no clues. He must track down who is responsible or return home a complete failure. His new boss, Colonel Robert Goldberg is running for a seat on the United States Senate. Each day he eagerly awaits the answers that could ignite his campaign. By day, the young marshal hunts for a killer, and at night he must protect them from one.

What he discovers will amaze you and that is just the beginning. The secrets must come out. So, step up and get ready. It's going to be one hell of a ride. The adventure starts now. 

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Excerpt from The Reaper of Washington County © Copyright 2024 Steven Banner

Chapter 1

The Exhumations

Exeter, Rhode Island
March 15, 1892

Major Lancaster was a captain in Grant's army when he was in the Battle of Cold Harbor. There, he was wounded and unable to lead his troops to victory. It became the only serious conflict that the General ever lost during the Civil War. Some say Grant would have won that battle too, if not for a sniper's musket ball that ripped through the captain's shoulder. Towards the end of the war, he was promoted to the rank of Major, and no one had deserved it more. He was, of course, responsible for so much death on the battlefield. But it was Grant who received all the accolades for so many battles won. The North would later go on to victory, yet the Major had only the nightmares of what he had done. Like many soldiers who were in the war, he sadly faded into obscurity. That is, until a young Marshal entered his life.

* * *

“You can yell all you want, all right! There's nothing you can say to get us to cut up any vampires. There's a limit to what we will do. Now I told these men we would help with the digging and that is it.” At that moment, the four men turned towards their horses.

“Now, hold on men,” the Major said. “You can do the digging if that is all you want. I'll have the rest taken care of if need be. There are three bodies in all. Only two are buried. One is just sitting in a vault for Christ's sake. I'm going to pay you to dig up all three. I would not want you men to think I don't appreciate you all.”

The Major was seen as a stern man, aged from the War Between the States. His gray beard shadowed his face with the blackest of eyes. His hair was never a concern to him. These men knew not to run. There was no way these swamp Yankees could be forgiven for this. Crossing the Major at that point would be their end; either they did the digging or they would never be heard from again. “Now, I would have our undertaker take care of this. But he is sick with the rest of them.”

The four men began to look at each other. “We have to get paid when the job is done, Major.”

“You're damn right you'll get paid. Every penny of it. You can bed down in the blacksmith's barn tonight. I'll give you some money now so you can take in a bit of liquor. I'll have some grub sent down to you men later. Just stay out of sight until it's time. Now get going, he is waiting for you down there.” After giving them some money, he watched them head directly to Ed Benning's place. He was well paid to keep them up for the night.

The Major expected no issues. Unfortunately, that left one person: Doc. Metcalf. That is where he was headed next. Just a short walk down the street brought him right to his office.

“Don't give me that damn look, Doctor. You know I need your help on this one. These are good boys. They are going to do a fine job for us.”

“I know you run this town, Major. And I've never had a problem with that. But this barbaric behavior of digging up graves… Did you get permission from George Brown—the father and husband of these people you are digging up?”

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