Did you know that in Florida you can do more than lie in a hammock with a cocktail and a good book?
Here, hammocks are small islands surrounded by wetland. They’re also generally surrounded by alligators. If you lie on the wrong one—with or without a cocktail and a good book—you might get eaten.
In other parts of the United States and through most of the English-speaking world, the word is hummock, and it describes any mound or knoll rising above the surrounding land or water. But a Florida hammock is special. It usually has hardwood trees growing on it, and so, along with the alligators, it has dense, dark cover—and exudes a Southern noir atmosphere.
If Stephen King’s The Shining drifted to an isolated point in the coastal South, it might land on a Florida hammock. In such a place, people are vulnerable to threats from outside and within. Anything can happen, and no one will hear the cries for help.
When searching for such a setting for my new Daniel Turner thriller, I turned to Black Hammock Island in Northeast Florida. It’s a storied place—full of moonshiners and other outlaws. Local boaters steer wide of it to avoid shotgun blasts from the shores. It has seen more than its share of killings. My book Black Hammock adds a few.
On the lighter side, when researching the island, I also found out that there’s a mixed drink called a banana hammock, made from rum, banana liqueur, orange juice, and pineapple juice—a tropical concoction if you’re into that kind of thing. So in Florida, you can row a boat to a hammock and then lie in a hammock drinking a banana hammock and reading Black Hammock. But if you do, you should keep your eyes open for alligators. And for murderous men.
Black Hammock is available in hardcover and as an eBook. Visit our website for more details or order it at your local independent book shop.