Mingo's Cave: a new novel set in the Caribbean

by Lexa Pennington /
Lexa Pennington's picture
Dec 09, 2010 / 0 comments

Mingo's Cave, by Chuck Ball

Mingo’s Cave is about adventure in the Caribbean. In it, the reader gets to meet quirky island characters, search for hidden treasure, ride along on dangerous boat excursions, learn about the destruction of an Eco-sensitive camp, and seek revenge for a senseless murder.

In 1944, a native boy, Mingo Tamaryn, finds a cave. “Yo needs to stay outta dat cave. Listen to me boy, der ain’t no jumbie, but der is bad spirits and danger. In de bad days, white mens used boats to steal from one another. Der some story dey put der gold in de hole. Mens were kilt in dat hole. Dey jest throw dem down dat hole.”

Mingo almost dies. The location of the treasure cave is once again lost. This time it is locked away in his gentle, broken mind. He becomes a beloved savant at Arawak Camps on the island of St. John.

A physically strong, beautiful young woman, Riley Ferguson, fled a frigid family and found Caribbean paradise. She is a hammock weaver and scuba diver. Riley and Mingo become good friends. He is now a frail old man and tells her fantastic stories of hidden pirate gold.

Leslie Anne Murray, a heavily tattooed, quirky Boston ex-pat was attracted to the sexy Caribbean vibe of Cruz Bay. She has spiked hair, tall lean good looks and world wide diving experience and fits perfectly into the pulsing tropical scene.

Jack Basnight from the Outer Banks of North Carolina is having a Caribbean fling. He is a handsome carpenter employed by Arawak Camps.

Tim, who is Jack’s brother, quits the Navy SEALS and shows up on the island. He is convinced to start up a new scuba operation aboard the fifty-foot dive boat, the Marion II.

The beauty of the cobalt water and verdant jungle mask an ugly reality. The ground under idyllic Arawak Camps is worth millions. Slimy land pirates, Captain Jacque and Big Tom plan to cash in. The bulldozers are rumbling and murder cracks the island serenity.
Join the crew of the Marion II as they search for pirate gold and try to save paradise.

Author Chuck Ball grew up in North Carolina. After high school, he worked his way around the world on a Norwegian freighter as a deck hand. This is when he began keeping a journal and thinking about becoming a writer. When he returned to the States, he went to Elon College (now Elon University) with the intention of being an English major. The turbulent seventies sent him in another direction and he was swept up in the times, studying social science and philosophy. After graduation he worked on the grave yard shift of a milk carton factory and completed his first hand-written novel. He then became a reporter for a small underground newspaper working on stories about the Watergate trials. Eventually he succumbed to the need to have an income big enough for rent and food. He went to work in the corporate world. There he spent long years in 'quiet desperation' in the pharmaceutical industry while raising a family.

"The Caribbean always held an allure for me. I often looked at the beautiful travel pictures in the airline magazines as I did the corporate grind, flying from one sales meeting to the next. I wondered if I would ever swim in those warm turquoise waters."

The chance came in 2004 when Chuck was caught in a corporate 'right sizing'. "My son was working as a carpenter on the island of St. John in the US Virgin Islands. He suggested that I come on down. I couldn't pack fast enough and soon I left the cold, blustery States and stepped into the tropics. I was blown away. Everything was fascinating. The animals, the plants, the smells, the water, the culture. I could not believe I was waking up in paradise."

Chuck worked with his son at an eco-friendly resort and recorded his observations in his journal. "That journal became the essence of 'Mingo's Cave'. I did a lot of research too, but most of what I saw and heard and experienced was in my journal."

Chuck completed 'Mingo's Cave' in 2010 and is hard at work on his next novel.

"I have discovered another island. Eleuthera, in the Bahamas is another fascinating place. Very different from the US Virgin Islands but full of wonder and mystery."

When Chuck is not in St. John or Eleuthera, he lives on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. "The Outer Banks is a rugged barrier island and the locals share some of the same characteristics as people in the Caribbean in that they are extremely independent and resourceful. Both places face the challenge of struggling economies and exposure to hurricanes. These islands also are some of the most beautiful places on earth."


Chuck is working on his next novel, 'Preacher's Cave,' which he hopes to finish soon.

Mingo's Cave is available at Amazon.com as a downloadable ebook.

"I won't be putting "Mingo's Cave" into print because the central theme of the story is about saving a pristine place."

One review described the story as 'Treasure Island' meets 'Indiana Jones'.
"I think this story is a distraction from all the stuff going on in the world. I am unapologetic about happy endings. I often want to escape into a different world like I did as a child when I first started reading fiction. I hope the reader agrees and will enjoy "Mingo's Cave".