HANOVER, Pennsylvania - January 11th, 2023 - Sixteen-year-old Mark Parker is devastated when he learns that his high school crush, Veronica McBride, has been found dead at the bottom of a cliff in their small beach town of Rockport. As the last person seen with the ill-fated girl, the town becomes suspicious of Mark and he swears to find the truth—but in doing so, he uncovers unearthly and evil secrets his town has been harboring for a century. Author Brandon Rohrbaugh brings a thrilling YA urban magical realism fantasy novel of demons and destiny with Legend of Mermaid Cliff, the debut title in The Awakening trilogy.
Until Veronica McBride and her family moved to the small beach town of Rockport, its citizens were all from the original bloodlines of the town dating back to it’s founding in 1917—the same year the suicides began and the legend of Mermaid Cliff was born. With a suicide mysteriously happening every twenty-five years, the legend went that a mermaid lured people to the edge of the cliff, and they were in such awe of her that they walked right over the edge, falling to their death. But legends are stuff of lore… or so the townspeople thought.
Mark thought he walked Veronica home after the big party the night before, but he can’t be sure since he partied a little too much. When snarky classmates accuse Mark of having something to do with Veronica’s death, his best friend Jason assures him that he saw those classmates—whom he calls the Seven—at the entrance of Mermaid Cliff that night as he was driving home. Trouble is, the Seven includes Mark’s older brother, Charles. When the FBI’s Agent Amelia Taylor arrives, it’s confirmed that Veronica’s death was a homicide, and Mark, along with Jason, is determined to find out who’s responsible.
As Mark starts asking around, he’s collecting more questions than answers. Though his mother swears to the FBI agent that she was home when Mark went to bed that night, the drunken sheriff recalls seeing her the night of the murder driving away from the bar. Does his mother have something to hide? And when Mark speaks to the fishing boat captain who found Veronica’s body on the beach—old man McGinty, the son of the town’s first mayor who was the cliff’s first victim a century earlier—the boy uncovers not only a room full of old newspaper clippings from the cliff’s tragedies over the decades…but a bloody missing charm from Veronica’s bracelet along with the girl’s photo. “Don’t believe everything people tell you, boy,” the old man tells Mark. “Everything in this town is connected in a way you or I will never fully understand…”
The deeper Mark digs, he finds odd connections to the legend and Veronica’s death—even the FBI agent’s own personal tragedy years earlier. When he confronts his mom about her recent unusual behaviors, she tells Mark that he’s part of a very important bloodline to the town, with a family name that’s sacred to it.
“Loyalty. We may be connected to the rest of this world by land, but we have our own traditions and secrets we keep to ourselves,” his mom said. “Some secrets are better kept secret…Don’t tell anyone what I told you. Some people in town may not understand the truth.”
Jason and Mark come to realize that their town is full of dark secrets, and their poking around is unveiling them one by one. “I have a bad feeling about all of this. Like there is something bigger going on that we are just now starting to uncover,” Jason said. Soon, Mark will learn of his own role in his town’s terrifying evils—and his destiny to stop it and put the legend to rest.
Rohrbaugh masterfully creates a web of mystery, terror, and a sinister underworld in The Legend of Mermaid Cliff, bringing together themes of loss and longing, good and evil, and destiny and survival. The first title in The Awakening trilogy, the novel will enthrall young adult readers looking for the next enduring urban magical realism thriller.
"Brandon Rohrbaugh's vivid descriptions of the misty cliff, shadowy forests, and chilly nights created an uncanny atmosphere that perfectly suited the plot. The creepy storyline made me scared while keeping me glued to the pages. Rohrbaugh executed an authentic portrayal of the high school kids, with their cliques and hierarchies delineated. The use of Mark's perspective made me privy to his innermost thoughts and emotions, from trepidation to fear to hope. As he uncovered the devastating truth the town kept secret, I felt myself to be a part of his adventures. Legend of Mermaid Cliff is an impressive start to what I expect to be a breath-taking urban fantasy trilogy. With a group of plucky kids trying to confront ancient horrors, this would be a perfect choice for those who enjoyed Stephen King's It." - Shrabastee Chakraborty for Readers' Favorite
If you would like more information about author Brandon Rohrbaugh and Legend of Mermaid Cliff, book one in The Awakening trilogy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit [https://www.amazon.com/stores/Brandon-Rohrbaugh/author/B07BHVTKQV].
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