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Synopsis

THE DEAD ISLAND is the atmospheric, mystifying and frightening account of the strange paranormal events that occur when an aircraft of the US Air Force is forced to crash land on a small Pacific island, and of the subsequent findings, recommendations and actions of a Court of Enquiry that is convened to examine and report on the incident.

The time is April, 1953.  There is an uneasy respite in the war in Korea whilst overture towards a permanent cease-fire are being considered.

A US Air Force, transport aircraft leaves Chunchon in Korea for Honolulu taking a US General, a staff Major and the General’s ADC to an important meeting linked to the cease-fire.  Also on the flight are three Hollywood starlets who have been entertaining the troops and two film studio officials.  On the last leg of their flight from Wake Island, they encounter an electrical storm and the aircraft is struck by a powerful force of lightning and loses all its power.  It is pulled to a small island by an unaccountable force and crash lands safely on a beach.  The island is constantly shrouded with mist and has a strange, silent, sinister atmosphere which immediately affects all the crew and passengers in different ways with frightening consequences.

The General believes that there are renegade Japanese soldiers still on the island and is supported by his staff Major.  Major Straker, the captain and pilot of the aircraft, is shocked by the General `s stance and tries to reason with him, but to no avail, and the General orders Straker to hand over the weapons that are on board the aircraft so that the General and his staff Major can flush out the renegades.  The General’s conviction about the Japanese renegades becomes stronger as they remain on the island, and this becomes a constant cause of conflict between the General and Straker.

One of the Hollywood starlets quickly begins to lose her beauty and visibly ages.  Another is attacked by a grotesque, slimy monster that emerges from a marsh, and the Sergeant flight steward is driven to attempt rape.

All the crew and passengers are inflicted with a personal conviction, or problem, that magnifies itself and becomes more strangling and frightening as time passes.

Straker and Ruemaker, one of the studio officials, are able to analyse and fight their own problem and Straker begins to see a pattern in all their afflictions.  He also realises that unless they leave the island without delay, their problems will drive them all insane and they will all die and become part of the dead island.  He arranges for an inflatable raft to be assembled, but before they can leave the island, Straker has to persuade the General to join them.  This becomes a difficult task and there is a very heated exchange and some strange occurrences before the General reluctantly agrees to leave the island.

In order to leave the island, it is necessary for their raft to pass through a barrier of grey mist and this becomes a terrifying experience.  The group, finally free themselves of a force that was pulling them back to the island, and in so doing they witness further strange, mystifying events.  They are later rescued by a US Air Force aircraft and are taken to the Air Force Base in Honolulu.

The novel gives and account of the Court of Enquiry that examines the strange events and describes the testimonies given by the crew and the passengers, and gives the subsequent recommendations of the Court.  Straker, the Captain of the aircraft, disagrees with the proposals of the Court’s decision and there is some debate between him and the General, who is the President of the Court of Enquiry.

In the concluding pages, the General and the Commander in Chief of the US Pacific fleet discus a Cold War crisis event that had occurred and is linked with the mysterious events that took place on the island.

As a postscript to the novel, an indication is given of the life pattern of all the crew and passengers for the four years following their harrowing flight experience.  The information given leaves an uneasy feeling, and suspicion, that extreme steps have been taken to safe guard national security.

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