© 2016 by Philip Hayward. Proudly created with WIX.COM

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On a dark and frigid February morning, an archaeologist drowns while rowing on the Potomac River. Contrary to official reports, his death was no accident, and only one person suspects the horrible truth –  but not the terrifying litany of problems it will bring him.

Summoned home from a stellar run as an investigative reporter for the Washington Post to take over his family’s weekly newspaper, Kip Alexander festers with resentment at the interruption in his career. His lethargy quickly comes to an end when his friend and fellow rower drowns on the Potomac River. In the course of his news coverage, Alexander begins to connect the archaeologist’s death with a massive Defense Department relocation plan. With the help of the archaeologist’s beautiful but complicated assistant Alexander learns his friend may have died for a discovery certain to thwart the Pentagon – along with many in his community. The deeper the two investigate, the longer their list of suspects grows, as do Alexander’s misfortunes – family betrayal, arson, suicide, community backlash, and the loss of the woman for whom he has fallen.

Deadly Stroke takes readers into the lively worlds of competitive rowing, archaeology, and community newspaper publishing. Alexander must reconcile the three with the clash of commercial greed and unbending civic altruism. Characters abound: the cheerfully struggling staff of the Port City Beacon, its feuding family board of directors, the hard-partying Port City Rowing Club, an eccentric rival publisher, the widowed owner of a most unusual automobile graveyard, and a small-town corporate raider.

This is a story of not knowing what we’ve got until it’s gone. In answering the family summons, Alexander believes he has lost all that he has lived for. Instead, he learns it’s the opposite.