From the award-winning playwright Mary Casella, It Happened in the Pine Barrens is a compelling saga of love, death and destiny set in the heavily forested area of coastal plain stretching across southern New Jersey. Casella's newly published book transforms this Pinelands into a center of thrilling events that arouse the curiosity and excitement of fiction fans through three riveting stories: "Snakes with Ruby Eyes," "Love and Death in the Pines" and "Closure in the Pines."
"Snakes with Ruby Eyes" follows the mysterious turn of events in the life of Elizabeth Little. After the death of Catherine, her artist mother and owner of The Little Antic Shop, Beth strangely inherits a huge amount of cash and a long list of questions about her parents' life. Stan Turner, who perseveringly pines for her love and affection, witnesses and supports Beth throughout her journey towards self-rediscovery.
"Love and Death in the Pines" picks up the story from where the first tale left off. It revolves around the entwined destinies of Dr. James Bradley, physician, and Dr. Meghan Malloy, an assistant art history professor. They met at the opening of The Pines Antique Shop (formally The Little Antic Shop). James was a friend of Meghan's aunt. Meghan had created an art gallery in the shop to display the art work of Catherine Little. Both never knew that a chance encounter would lead them to love.
"Closure in the Pines" completes the trilogy in stunning fashion. James, who was secretly an FBI /Interpol agent, wants to resign from the department. His resignation is denied. While finalizing some cases, Meghan suddenly disappears. A manhunt ensues. Drug trafficking and gunfight also makes this final story a perfect closing salvo. However, as one of the characters aptly put it, "There is no closure in the crime business."
Creatively blending fast-paced drama, mystery and romance with the slow-paced life in Pine Barrens, Casella has successfully put the place on the map for another remarkable reason. It Happened in the Pine Barrens is a book that leaves readers deeply satisfied yet eagerly longing for answers to more questions inherent in the saga.