They thought the secret would remain buried in their graves forever, but they could not foresee that their daughter’s intense curiosity would only grow stronger with each passing year. The girl silently vowed that one day she would discover the truth about who she “was.” Skeptics laughed at her foolish quest. Didn’t she know that dead men tell no tales? But, many years later, the first clue about her lineage surfaced with the death of her father. He was not who she thought he was. Holding on for dear life to that single clue, the author was hot on the trail of an unknown grandfather known only as “The Mystery Man.” And finally, when every stone was unturned, the dead came back to life. And they did tell their tales. In her debut novel, the author mixes riveting historical facts, genealogical research and a vivid imagination to create a mostly true story of her grandfather’s escape from Poland to America in the early 1900’s. As the young immigrant’s story unfolds, the reader soon discovers why some ancestors are better left buried and forgotten. Proving that some people really are their own worst enemy, this man continually leaves a trail of shattered lives and broken promises wherever he goes. When he meets his wife, a poor but hardworking German immigrant, the story takes on a dimension of suspense as the reader hopes the scoundrel will straighten up for the sakes of his wife and children. The reader is treated to a global panorama of riveting scenes that include glimpses of pre-World War I European life, perilous transatlantic crossings, the melting pot of cultures in New York City and the young man’s meanderings all over the New Land that invariably land him in hot water. When the man’s son grows up and enters World War II, the reader follows this continuing family saga with the harrowing story of his son’s capture and survival in the notorious Prisoner of War camp, Stalag 17. For a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats well into the late night hours, this book will cause readers to wonder if secrets lie buried within their own family lines.

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Moby Dick, Superman comics, and James Michener novels all filled Vicki Nelson’s “Leave it to Beaver” world in the 1950’s New Jersey suburbs. After living all over the world she then headed to the West Coast to begin a new career as a California Department of Corrections officer and correctional counselor, where she met and married a fellow officer, the love of her life and husband of 25 years, Dave Nelson.

With her passion for writing fueled by years of secrecy regarding her grandfather’s existence, Vicki’s New Jersey tenacity simply would not let her,”fuhgeddaboutit.” Her quest to find out more about this, “Mystery Man,” led her on an incredible fact-finding journey out of which her first historical fictional work, ‘Call Me Vishka,’ was born.

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