"Dead Children's Playground"
Suspense Thriller

An ambivalent young medical student whose true passions are photography and spelunking unwittingly uncovers a secret project to change the history of the world.

Returning home for Christmas vacation after a tormenting first semester of medical school, Arik Ensminger longs to explore the familiar limestone caves near his home on Monte Sano. But news of a serial killer who dumps his victims' bodies in Drost Park at the base of the cave system interrupts his hope for peace and retreat.

Disturbed by the connection between his needed solitude and startling violence, Arik must face a more immediate terror: his family. He is the eldest son of a German scientist expatriated to Rocket City after WWII, and his family's expectation of a medical career directly conflicts with his dream of becoming a photographer.

Then, a neighbor's child goes missing, sparking a community-wide search effort.

Arik joins the rescue team and seizes the opportunity to investigate a previously forbidden area of the caverns, where he stumbles onto Nazi memorabilia and evidence of outlawed Reich gatherings, both pointing to the potential involvement of his own family.

Lured by the haunting echo of a child’s voice, Arik wanders on strange new trails that present an increasingly surreal, Wonderland-like scenario. The blurring lines between reality and the supernatural force him to question his sanity and the very fabric of the world around him.

When the trail through the cave ends at the playground, Arik discovers the missing child's body. In an ensuing battle of secrets and survival, Arik becomes both target and threat. Racing against time he must stay ahead of the killer while confronting the spectral presence of a ghost girl tied to the dark past he uncovered.

Dead Children's Playground is a gripping suspense thriller inspired by a chilling real-life Huntsville, AL, urban legend.

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Author Dawn C. Crouch