She Writes Press News: Announcing IN THE SHADOW OF LIES by M.A. Adler

A fire spreads across a California hillside above the town of Point Richmond and claims the lives of two children. When signs point to possible Ku Klux Klan involvement, homicide detective Oliver Wright throws himself into solving the crime—but in the midst of his investigation, Japan attacks Pearl Harbor. As the entire West Coast mobilizes for war, Oliver reenlists in the Marine Corps and is forced to abandon the investigation when he’s sent to work on K-9 patrol on the island of Guam.

After the war, Oliver returns to Richmond haunted by the memory of friends who died fighting, only to find himself entangled in another difficult inquiry: the hanging of an Italian prisoner of war, the chief suspects for which are black soldiers who rioted after the Port Chicago Mutiny trial. With the help of a black MP and an Italian POW captain, Oliver uncovers layers of deceit and violence that stretch all the way back to World War I—and as more and more secrets and lies come to light, he begins to realize that nothing is what it seems.

M. A. Adler lived in Point Richmond as a child and later moved to Ohio, where she became an attorney and a dean at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. She studied fine art photography at the Cleveland Institute of Art and was invited to show her photographs in the Kent State University exhibit “Northern Ohio Women in Photography.” Her work was featured in New Art Examiner, and her images and writing have appeared in Northern Ohio Live magazine
            From time to time, Adler visited the Bay Area to refresh her spirit and research Richmond’s history during World War II. In the late ’90s, she returned to Northern California full-time to write, enjoy her family, and do canine scent work with her dogs. In the Shadow of Lies is her first novel.

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Comment by Dera R Williams on December 13, 2013 at 12:57am

Hi Mary,

I'm not surprised that your readers were unaware of this. Everyone thinks of California as one of the most liberal, tolerant places but just as African Americans migrated from the south for better opportunities, many of their white neighbors who lived by Jim Crow rules migrated here also. I remember reading about the number of white southerners on the Oakland police force who brought their philosophy with them in the 50s and 60s. BTW, I couldn't find your book on

Comment by Mary Adler on December 12, 2013 at 12:57pm

Thank you, Tasha. I appreciate your good wishes.

Comment by Tasha Cotter on December 12, 2013 at 12:36pm

Congratulations on the book, Mary!

Comment by Mary Adler on December 11, 2013 at 9:28am

Hi Dera,

When my draft readers read the ms for the first time, they asked many times whether certain events in the book had really happened, particularly about the KKK in Northern California. I was unpleasantly surprised while doing my research to discover how widely accepted Klan membership had been. There were many local elected officials and people in law enforcement in Southern California who belonged to it. It was also widely accepted throughout the Midwest. People were also surprised to find out about the government roundup of Italian Americans and the restrictions on them. It was a challenge to adhere to the rule about allowing only 10% of what I learned in my research to appear in the book, and I hope I included even less than that because I did not want to slow down the story with the information I found so compelling. I did include a bibliography for readers who wanted to learn more about the events I refer to in the book. Thank you for your comment.

Comment by Dera R Williams on December 11, 2013 at 12:46am

As a Bay Area resident, I am very much interested in this book. Very few people now about the Port Chicago incident and this book sounds like it would inform as well as give a historical context. Additionally, most people here are unaware that the KKK was prominent in Contra Costa County back then as many African-American families migrated from the southern states to Northern California.

Comment by Mary Adler on December 10, 2013 at 4:54pm

Hi Cait,

Thank you for posting this. It is a strange feeling to see the cover and synopsis. As if the book is truly real. How in the world did it happen?


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