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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Thrillers / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:144
  • eBook ISBN:9781667891965
  • Paperback ISBN:9781667891958

The Voting Dead Project

by Bill Smith

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On sabbatical in the Pacific Northwest, Caden Cole learns of his best friend's murder and becomes fixated on finding Ben Dunn's killers. Using his dead friend's journal entries on his thumb drive, Caden discovers Ben worked on a secretive project that plans to use grave sites as voting booths to shape future presidential elections. The story takes place primarily in two Southern cemeteries where a medium interviews dead Confederate soldiers and their sons as future voters. Caden soon realizes his investigation is putting him and his new friends in grave danger.
VCU professor Caden Cole, on sabbatical in Washington state to research the economic impact of vampire films on the Olympic Peninsula, learns the unidentified body found near the Canadian border is Ben Dunn, his best friend from graduate school. Obsessed with finding Ben's killers, Caden enlists two young women to help him research Ben's recent past. Caden discovers Ben signed a secret contract with the Council of 5 to control future presidential elections. Using data collected by a medium in two Southern cemeteries, the Council plans to gerrymander a new demographic of voters: dead white male Confederates and their sons from the Jim Crow era. In effect, they're resurrecting the Lost Cause to stop unwanted changes. Ben and his colleague apply Occam's Razor to the data and realize the impact of the Council's skewed vision on democracy. Enraged, Ben's research partner plans to expose the project, angering the Cabal and leading to Ben's death. On January 6, as Caden returns to Virginia, he realizes his research mirrors Ben's and is endangering his and his intern's lives.
About the author
Bill Smith is an emeritus professor of English at Western Washington University, where he taught intro to college writing, technical writing, disability studies, and the horror film. He also taught full-time at four other universities, two of them in the South. Although, he edited a refereed journal, co-authored college textbooks and numerous academic articles, he now writes only fiction. His first short story, "Tellin' Tales," appears under "Southern Voice" in Deep South Magazine (2021). Having grown up in Jacksonville, N.C., he's writing a collection of coastal Carolina short stories, hoping to finish before he becomes organic soil. The VD Project is his response to the Covid pandemic.

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