Crossing Cane Creek

SD Levin 1322796351547


1940s & '50s,Contemporary

SD Levin

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The book is based on the true story of America's last mass lynching. At its center is the unlikely friendship between 12-year-old Danny Bastrop and 84-year-old Lloyd Malloy, each of whom carries deep secrets that are revealed as they face racism, and the price some will pay to keep the past hidden.


Adventure, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Young Adult, Action,,Crime,Detective,Drama

Short Summary

Lloyd Malloy has lived alone since his family was lynched in 1948. Now 84, with his Italian mastiff Betty his only friend, he gives away at a junk shop the spent shells collected at the lynching site. One shell is found by a 12-year-old Danny Bastrop. And he has questions.

Malloy’s family's generations long secret about lost Civil War gold is true. Having discovered a hidden map to its location, Malloy and Danny devise a daring plan that collides with a powerful man from Malloy’s past, one who’s not only searching for the gold himself, but hiding his murderous past.


Pittsburgh, southwestern Pennsylvania

Based on a True Story


Plot - Premise

Quest,,Internal Journey/Rebirth,Overcoming Monster/Villain

Plot - Other Elements

Coming of Age, Twist,,Twist

Mature Audience Themes


Main Character Details

Name: Danny Bastrop

Age: 12

Gender: Male

Role: Sidekick

Key Traits: Confident, Perseverance, Underdog, Decisive, Educated, Adventurous, Aspiring,Adventurous,Heroic,Honorable,Charming

Additional Character Details

Name: Lloyd Malloy

Age: 84

Gender: Male

Role: Protagonist

Key Traits: Selfless,Outspoken,Funny,Blunt,Charming,Complex

Additional Character Details

Name: Terrence Vaughn Jr.

Age: 87

Gender: Male

Role: antagonist

Key Traits: Villainous,Aggressive,Narcisstic,Criminal,Power Hungry,Manipulative,Unapologetic

Additional Character Details

Name: Esther Bastrop

Age: 38

Gender: Female

Role: logical

Key Traits: Underdog,Complex,Engaging,Educated,Skillful,Adventurous

Development Pitch

What makes "Crossing Cane Creek" so good is not just that it's based on a true story of the last mass lynching in America and a well-known legend of a lost Civil War payroll, but that the two intersect through the relationship of an 84-year-old black man and 12-year-old white boy, who only meet because of the latter's affinity for World War I shells. From a single spent shell the old man left at a junk store, the unlikely pair disentangle the lies about the lynching and the truth behind the legend.

About The Author

SD Levin is a longtime newspaper and magazine writer and editor, and has won numerous local, state and national awards for his work. He shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2018. He has authored five nonfiction books; this is the Chapel Hill, N.C. native's first novel.

Target Audiences

Age: 13-17,18-34,35-54,55+

Target Gender: Universal

Group Specific

Pittsburgh, southwestern Pennsylvania

Publishing Details

Status: Yes: self-published

Publisher: self-published

Year Published: 2019

Hard Copy Available