word craft


Smugglers’ Island

Smuggler's Island

Harper­Collins, 1994

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audio book nar­rat­ed by 
George Guidall

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What’s this book about?

“You’re crazy, Shadrach Faher­ty,” Dav­ey called. “Crazy! You’re going to get your­self killed!”

Shadrach is enraged. Boot­leg­gers have tak­en over his island home, using it as a base from which to run their ille­gal oper­a­tions. The com­mu­ni­ty coop­er­ates because its silence has been bought, and times are hard. But Shadrach can’t be bought. Instead, he vows to gath­er all the infor­ma­tion he can to bust the crim­i­nals. He suc­ceeds, but then choos­es the wrong man to tell.

Liv­ing on a poor island in 1932, a young boy deter­mines, despite his fam­i­ly’s bit­ter oppo­si­tion, to iden­ti­fy and some­how bring to jus­tice the liquor smug­glers who have been ter­ror­iz­ing the island.

Story Behind the Story

Peo­ple are con­stant­ly telling writ­ers, “I have a great sto­ry for you.”

If the writer is patient he/she will hear a nar­ra­tive about some­thing that hap­pened to the sto­ry­teller. Truth to tell, some­times these are good and even inter­est­ing sto­ries, but sim­ply don’t res­onate with the writer. More often than not, they are sim­ply curi­ous nar­ra­tives that do not have much lit­er­ary pos­si­bil­i­ty. Of course, the tellers of these tales are not inter­est­ed in writ­ing the sto­ry themselves.

But in one instance some­one did tell me a sto­ry which caught my atten­tion. It hap­pened this way.

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Awards and Recognition

  • Mys­tery Writ­ers of Amer­i­ca, spe­cial award, 1983


“The plot’s twists and sur­pris­es main­tain sus­pense to the very end.” (The Horn Book)

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