Mark de Castrique presents Murder in Rat Alley

Tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina lies a remnant of perhaps the greatest scientific achievement of the 20th century – putting a man on the moon.  One of nine global Apollo tracking stations, this isolated site still exists today as the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute.  

But past and present collide when skeletal remains are unearthed on the complex, and DNA testing confirms the identity of a stellar computer scientist who disappeared during the Apollo 15 mission in the summer of 1971.  Concerned that the FBI will cloak their investigation in secrecy, the niece of the murdered man implores Asheville detectives Sam Blackman and Nakayla Robertson to take the case.  

As Sam and Nakayla dig into the events of the past, they discover the trail not only encompasses the nation’s venture into space but also reveals links to covert operations in Vietnam.  Although the case is as cold as ice, a murder in Asheville’s Rat Alley proves a killer from the past still stalks the present.  And Sam and Nakayla now top the assassin’s list. 

Author Bio:

Mark was born in Hendersonville, NC, near Asheville. He went straight from the hospital to the funeral home where his father was the funeral director and the family lived upstairs. The unusual setting sparked his popular Barry Clayton series and launched his mystery-writing career.

His novels have received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist. The Chicago Tribune wrote, “As important and as impressive as the author’s narrative skills are the subtle ways he captures the geography – both physical and human – of a unique part of the American South.”  Publishers Weekly describes his latest, MURDER IN RAT ALLEY, as a “winner.”

Mark is a veteran of the broadcast and film production business. In Washington D.C., he directed numerous news and public affairs programs and received an EMMY Award for his documentary film work.  His years in Washington inspired his DC thrillers, THE 13TH TARGET, involving a terrorist plot against The Federal Reserve, and THE SINGULARITY RACE, a winner-take-all quest for Artificial Intelligence. 

Mark lives in Charlotte, but he and his wife Linda can be often found in the NC mountains or the nation’s capital.

Can’t make the event? Want your own personalized copy?

Contact the store 48 hours before the event to request one.

704-525-9239 or


Event date: 
Monday, January 13, 2020 - 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Event address: