A MURDER MYSTERY and small-town LOVE STORY, THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST will draw the reader into the lives of the GREATEST GENERATION, the men and women who sacrificed dearly to save the world. Haunting, captivating, compelling, THE FIRST SHALL BE LAST is a powerful mystery that grips the heart. -- Nancy Haddock, Berkley Books novelist. Description: Two young lovers separated by war cling to hope and sanity by exchanging passionate letters. As Howard heads to his first battle on the Pacific island of Peleliu, Helen fulfills her call to duty by working at a local factory. They soon discover they have more to worry about than the elite Japanese forces deeply entrenched on the island. One of Howard's platoon members, Judd Stone, seeks revenge against a black stretcher bearer by the name of Josiah Jackson. Howard fears Stone may go to any length to get what he wants, even murder. Sixty years later Reverend Byron Butler enters the hospital room of an old Marine who wants to confess a dark secret. But Butler can't discover the whole truth until he investigates other leads--Helen and Howard's letters, Josiah Jackson's son, and a mysterious footlocker. Known as the forgotten battle, Peleliu marked the first time segregated black troops mixed with white Marines on the front lines. The integration wasn't mandated. It was attributed to the ferocity of the battle as black soldiers aided the wounded. The novel is based on the memoirs of James E. Ellis, the author's father.
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