Mara Anastas has taken on Jack Martin’s Alphonso Clay Mystery Series.
Jack Martin, Mara Anastas
In Treason on the Mississippi, Martin designs and constructs an intricate web of events extrapolated from in-depth research of Civil War memorabilia, journals, photos, and correspondence. Although this a fictional account of the months before and the time during the Battle of Vicksburg, the characters and information are very much real.
The John Brown depicted is not the infamous Brown who ignited the War Against the States but a former Boston detective who solved a gruesome child murder case, which caught the eye of President Lincoln who then appointed him to U.S. Grants battalion. Brown uncovers treason at the highest levels of the Union Army. He sends for the one person who can help him with the investigation, Captain Alphonso Clay. But before Clay could meet with Brown, Brown is assassinated. Now it is up to Clay to decipher Brown’s cryptic notes and follow his deductive instincts to solve the murder, unveil the traitors, and ensure the Union’s victory at Vicksburg, a decisive battle of the war.
In The Siege of Knoxville, a traitor, a freelance female spy, and a murderer must all be dealt with or the Army of the Ohio is lost.
Tennessee, Autumn 1863. Staggered by the loss of Vicksburg in July, the Confederacy has rebounded with a crushing defeat of the Union forces at Chickamauga. The shattered Union army now lies stranded and under siege. Washington has dispatched Ulysses S. Grant to repair the situation. Grant finds that his task is made almost impossible by the presence of a rebel spy high in the Union command structure. Unfortunately, the only officer who could identify the spy is murdered before he can reveal the traitor’s name. Grant assigns Captain Alphonso Clay to root-out the murderous turncoat, but Clay soon finds himself in a nest of intrigue. To identify the traitor, he must solve the murder, deal with a lethal female undercover agent bank-rolled by financier Jay Gould, and overcome a monstrous secret society that is older than the United States itself. As Longstreet’s army surrounds Knoxville, Clay races the clock to keep the Army of the Ohio from being betrayed to the Confederacy. If that should happen, the Confederacy would regain all that it lost at Vicksburg, and will be well on its way to ultimate victory.
In Murder on the March, Georgia is sweltering in the summer of 1864. General William Tecumseh Sherman commands a mighty Union army, tasked with delivering a knockout blow to the Confederacy by rendering the rich resources of Georgia unavailable to the rebellion. Relying on impeccable intelligence, he launches an all-out attack on the Confederate lines at Kennesaw Mountain, and is bloodily repulsed. To make matters worse, his most reliable scout, Captain Ambrose Bierce, is critically wounded, and Sherman’s most reliable general is mysteriously killed under the cover of battle. Sherman is persuaded by Union Army nurse Teresa Duval that these are murderous attacks perpetrated by a saboteur in his army. She urges him to summon Major Alphonso Clay, General Grant’s sinister troubleshooter. However, Sherman is unaware that Duval is a spy for Wall Street financier Jay Gould, and has her own agenda regarding Clay. Clay and his friend Lieutenant Jeremiah Lot find themselves accompanying Sherman’s army on its march through Georgia, desperate to identify the traitorous murderer before he can strike again, and possibly allow the Confederacy to snatch a miraculous victory from the jaws of almost certain defeat.
In Murder by Plague, the murderer of our late beloved president, Abraham Lincoln, is still at large.
April 1865. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia has surrendered to Ulysses Grant at Appomattox Courthouse. The Civil War is all but over, the Union victorious. However, a sinister plot has been hatched to restart the war, and the assassination of Lincoln is only the beginning. The consequences could cost hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and tear the country apart forever.
Colonel Alphonso Clay has been tasked by the Secretary of State to thwart this conspiracy at all costs. Aided by a beautiful, mysterious agent he embarks upon a dangerous journey into the heart of a cult even older than the United States that is determined to destroy the country.
If they fail in their task, all that has been gained in four years of savage combat will be lost.
In Assassination at Willard’s, it is the summer of 1869. America is only four years removed from the end of the war that nearly destroyed it. Southerners groan under what they perceive as an unjust military Government, propped up by corrupt Northern civilian officials and recently freed slaves who, they believe, are not suitable for a voice in Government. Embittered Confederate veterans are forming an organization, the Ku Klux Klan, to fight what they perceive as the unjust oppression of the North and the Freedmen.
However, Ulysses S. Grant, the newly inaugurated president, sees things very differently. He views the Klan as a terrorist organization, using arson and murder to destroy the newly won rights of former slaves and the newly re-established authority of Washington in the South. He is looking for a way to break the back of the Klan without returning to the slaughter and destruction of the Civil War. Desperate, he turns to his most trusted agent, Major Alphonso Clay.
Clay accepts the assignment, not realizing that the Klan violence is being secretly encouraged by the Wall Street speculators Jay Gould and Jim Fisk, sinister financiers hoping to distract Washington from their plan to gain control of the country’s entire gold supply, and hence of the country itself. Clay also does not know that the plans of the speculators are in turn the merest smokescreen for an even more sinister, far-reaching plot; one that will encompass the entire world.
Aided only by his friend the writer, and former Union scout, Ambrose Bierce, and by his lovely, terrifying mistress Teresa Duval, Clay embarks on his greatest challenge yet. Not just to preserve the unity of the country, not just to prevent corrupt financiers from gaining control of the United States, but to save the world from the designs of an organization far older than the United States itself.
After receiving his Juris Doctorate from UCLA, Jack Martin worked for The Department of Defense and the aerospace industry, specializing in contracts and regulatory issues. Tracing his Californian ancestry all the way back to the 1830s, Martin developed a passion for American history and the mystery genre. With encouragement and support from his beloved wife Sonia, he began writing. She passed away on Christmas Eve 2009 following a brave battle against ovarian cancer. He promised her he would finish the books and become a published author. He dedicated his first novel, Treason on the Mississippi to her, the love of his life.
Martin is the author of the Alphonso Clay Mystery Series and in Brother, Can You Spare a Dime? (Blank Slate Press) Clay lives on… He is represented by Loiacono Literary Agency.