The Alan Graham books, featuring a Louisiana archaeologist who tends to dig up murder as often as he does ancient artifacts, were originally published by Avon Books and have since been re-released by MysteriousPress.com.
BURIAL GROUND (Book 1)
Digging for ancient Native American artifacts, an archaeologist finds murder instead
Louisiana’s past is as layered as an onion, with American, French, and Spanish history all resting atop the myriad tribes who have spent millennia on the Mississippi. Alan Graham knows how to peel back the layers. A contract archaeologist in Baton Rouge, he scrapes out a living one dig at a time. Hired by a wealthy landowner to search his property for a cache of long-lost Tunica Indian relics, he expects to find only dirt. But when the client is murdered for his curiosity, Alan knows he is close to the discovery of a lifetime.
To find the artifacts and sniff out the murderer, he must work alongside his competition: the overeducated Yankee Pepper Courtney. As the two dig into the dead man’s past, they find it may be safer to leave some things buried.
“I thoroughly enjoyed Burial Ground…a fast-paced read…It’s supposed to be fun, and it is.” —The Baton Rouge Advocate
THE MERIWETHER MURDER (Book 2)
In a decaying plantation graveyard, Alan Graham finds a clue to a great American mystery
The headstone reads Louis, and when Pepper Courtney finds it, she assumes it belonged to a slave. But when the old woman who owns the crumbling plantation house gives her an ancestor’s diary, Courtney discovers that Louis was a white man whose drifter’s appearance concealed a gentleman’s manners. Who was this stranger, and why did he die with the president’s name on his lips? Courtney’s boss, contract archaeologist Alan Graham, has a radical theory—and there are those who would kill to keep it quiet.
Based on the diary, the dig, and the scant historical records, Graham believes the headstone may have belonged to explorer Meriwether Lewis, who was said to have died in Tennessee but may have survived to make a new life in Louisiana. To solve this centuries-old mystery, he will have to catch a modern-day killer.
“A clever, twisty plot, and plenty of action besides.” –Edgar Award winning author Aaron Elkins
ASSASSIN’S BLOOD (Book 3)
Digging near a mental hospital, Alan Graham and his team come under attack
A dying town just a few miles from the Mississippi River, Jackson has a psychiatric hospital, a sprawling forest, and a bloody history. In the summer of 1963, a drifter passed through town in search of work. Not finding any, he returned to New Orleans and then moved on to Dallas, where he assassinated a president. His name was Lee Harvey Oswald, and his ghost is said to haunt the woods of Jackson.
Archaeologist Alan Graham has no time for ghost stories, but he can’t deny that there is something evil in this tiny Louisiana town. Digging near the Oswald cabin, he becomes engrossed in the unsolved murder of its original owner, who was killed with the same kind of rifle that killed Kennedy. When a member of Graham’s team is shot during the dig, he must unravel a pair of mysteries—or risk joining Oswald in death.
PAST DYING (Book 4)
On the banks of the Mississippi, Alan Graham confronts death in a watery grave
In 1833, Jim Bowie is recovering from an attack of malaria when he learns his wife and parents have been killed by cholera. Desperate for death, he hauls himself onto his horse and rides aimlessly, finally bedding down along the Mississippi. There he sees a shooting star that calls him home to Texas—and to a bloody destiny at the Alamo. One hundred fifty years later, that same star will carry a dark message for contract archaeologist Alan Graham.
A bowie knife has been stolen from a small-town library, and the librarian claims to have seen a UFO. Sent to investigate, Alan finds a dead man at the bottom of the river, not far from where Jim Bowie once spent the night, murdered with a most unusual blade. Bowie left this town on the way to his demise, and if Graham is not careful, he will make the same trip.
THE LAST MAYAN (Book 5)
In the Yucatán, Alan Graham discovers either the greatest find of the twentieth century—or the greatest hoax
Searching the Gulf of Mexico for the legendary Isle of Gold, an explorer and his crew sail into a cyclone, which tears apart their ship, nail by nail. When he comes to, the captain is alone, captured by natives and facing unfathomable forms of torture.
Centuries later, archaeologist Alan Graham experiences a torment of his own in the Yucatán when his beloved wife skips out on their vacation—and their marriage. He returns to Mexico to visit his lover, Pepper Courtney, who is there on a dig, but finds that she has abandoned him too: She has gone into the jungle searching for evidence of a long-lost voyage of exploration. Graham chases after her and they find something that could rewrite history—if they manage to escape the jungle alive.
“History and mystery, both deftly handled, with an engaging, thoroughly decent protagonist.”
“Shuman is skilled in researching local folklore and creating suspenseful tales based on the stories…fun to read…appealing.”
Baton Rouge Sunday Advocate