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The Dark of the Island

Philip Gerard

John F. Blair, Publisher
March 8, 2016
$17.95 paperback    
5.5 x 8.5    
240 pages

Nick Wolf is a “public research specialist” for NorthAm Oil Company, but he likes to think of himself as the company storyteller. Nick, who believes in the old-fashioned integrity of the people who run NorthAm, is sent to scout potential oil exploration/drilling sites to assess the political climate. He keeps a low profile while he meets the locals and figures out who the real players are and how they can be convinced that NorthAm will be good for their community.

His latest assignment sends him to Hatteras Island, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Growing up, Nick’s grandmother used to whisper the name of the island “like a hissing curse that shouldn’t be spoken out loud.” Nick’s grandfather was said to have died on Hatteras during World War II, though he was mysteriously claimed as a fallen soldier by both the American and German armies. 

As soon as he arrives on the island, Nick is the victim of several suspicious accidents and begins receiving cryptic notes that lead him to surprising revelations about his grandfather. In the course of his research for NorthAm, Nick discovers that four families run everything and everyone is somehow connected. Even Julia Royal, the fascinating and frustrating woman who runs the boarding house where Nick is staying, is the granddaughter of perhaps the most powerful patriarch of the four families—Liam Royal, known as The Founder. 

This mystery/thriller follows two intriguing storylines. Contemporary politics of the Outer Banks, including the always-controversial question of offshore drilling, interweave with the history of German saboteurs during World War II. The book’s title—The Dark of the Island—is what the oldtimers on Hatteras called a moonless night with no stars. It was on these nights that the “mooncussers and wreckers” would raise a false light on the beach luring an unwary ship’s captain to run aground so the locals could row out to the wreck and loot the cargo. In this novel, it’s Nick Wolf’s destiny to discover what is behind the true “dark of the island.”


"This well-wrought suspense novel from Gerard (Hatteras Light) entwines the tale of five residents of North Carolina’s Hatteras Island coming to manhood in the early days of WWII with that of PR man Nick Wolf, whose company is drilling for oil off the Outer Banks in 1991…. A mysterious letter holds a key that will unlock a secret that affects just about everybody in this engrossing story." —Publishers Weekly
“Philip Gerard has written a novel that is a beautifully paced story of mystery and suspense but also something much more—a profound rumination on the complexities of human allegiances. The Dark of the Island is a triumph.” —Ron Rash, author of Above the Waterfall 
“Wonderfully written! With The Dark of the Island, Philip Gerard continues to write with a clarity of language and storytelling precision matched by few others.”  —Jason Mott, New York Times bestselling author of The Returned
“Philip Gerard’s The Dark of the Island combines the heft of an historical novel with the propulsive power of a literary thriller. This novel is one of those rare wonders of the book world; it’s a fast-paced story that resonates deeply. Readers will tear through this novel, but they’ll ponder its historical and environmental implications long after the last page is turned.” —Wiley Cash, author of This Dark Road to Mercy