It is long past midnight on the New Jersey shore in June 1988. A blue van rolls quietly along Kearney Avenue in Seaside Heights. The man behind the wheel smiles as he spots seventeen-year-old Edsell Jones stumbling out of a house and lumbering down the street. Moments later, the van pulls up next to Edsell and the driver offers him a ride. Edsell falls asleep on the way to Toms River and the man keeps driving into the darkness of the Pine Barrens.
When Lorriane Jones arrives home the next morning after working the midnight shift, she discovers her son has disappeared. The calls the police, then makes a desperate plea to his friends, begging them to help find her son.
The search leads to an old farmhouse in the Barrens, that is supposed to be a secret drug rehab, but when they hear screams coming from the building, they wonder what is really going on.
Adults and teens join together to FIND ESDELL! They encounter an international plot, a medical mystery and a fiery hell in the desolate pinewoods.
You won’t be able to put it down. THE BEACH READ OF THE SUMMER!
Find Edsell! by Elsa Bonstein
Prologue (first two paragraphs): Between the rumble of Philadelphia and the roar of New York lies a strange, still land—a land where quiet lakes mirror stunted pine trees, where gnarled oaks and tall cedars sink their roots into pure white sand, and where small carnivorous plants digest their prey in black-watered swamps.
These are the New Jersey Pine Barrens, a beautiful, vast, and untouched forest preserve where contradictions and continuities exist side by side. Forest fires regularly devour the tinder-dry pines, yet those same fires nourish the soil with their ashes. Rare species of plants and animals thrive near dusty foot trails and meandering tea-colored streams.
Love Scene: Chapter 24, page 94: Joshua turned to face Teddy. His strong face was half-shadowed in the late evening sunlight, his eyes hidden under heavy brows. Teddy suddenly felt a need to touch him to see if he was real. She wanted to see how he felt under her hands. He was different from other men she had dated. Taller, stronger, tougher.
In silence, Teddy slowly reached forward with both hands until the tips of her fingers rested lightly against the sides of Joshua’s face. He twitched as her hands touched him.
Teddy turned his head to the light until she could see his eyes. The pupils were large and surrounded by irises of brown flecked with gold. His lashes were long and dark.
They looked at each other for a long time until Joshua cleared his throat and spoke in a soft, husky whisper.
“I told you before that I won’t do anything you don’t want me to, and I still mean it.”
Teddy dropped her hands and grinned at him, the small crinkles around her eyes illuminating and magnifying her smile.
The silence stretched out again, and she inhaled slowly. I’ve got to make the first move, she thought. It’s going to be my choice as to how far this will go.
Teddy exhaled and then slowly leaned toward Joshua. A hint of a smile crossed his face, and the last thing she saw as their lips came together was the outline of pine trees against the darkening sky.
Fire scene: Chapter 82, page 270: The jet ranger swept back and forth over the advancing fire, bobbing like a yo-yo above the burning trees. Fire licked its carriers and blistered the underside. Johnny Reb struggled with the controls as the wild winds streamed skyward from the burning forest.
Suddenly, a huge column of raw, red flame tore past the right window, and the helicopter lurched up and to the left. Johnny swore an ingenious oath that lasted the full nine seconds it took to obtain a semblance of control over the bucking helicopter.
The story unfolds in and around the Pine Barrens surrounding the Jersey Shore — an area that, to the untrained eye, appears as little more than rugged, inhospitable wasteland. Yet, thanks to Mrs. Bonstein’s exquisite prose, the Barrens quickly transcend traditional limitations and crackle to life. Like a character both beautiful and dangerous, the Barrens’ impact can be seen not only in the lives of our main characters, but in each twist and turn of the story.”
– Kelly H. Johnson
Author of A Better Man: True American Heroes Speak to Young Men on Love, Power, Pride and What It really Means to be a Man
– Clairvaux LLC
– Eleanore Olesin
– Kimmie Durham
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