Debut novel by Little Cayman resident is eco-thriller

| 27/01/2011

(CNS): What happens when you have to choose between doing the right thing, knowing disaster will ensue, or doing the wrong thing and saving everything you love? Little Cayman resident Tim W. Jackson addresses that dilemma in his debut literary novel, Mangrove Underground, published January 2011 by The Chenault Publishing Group. Set in the Florida backcountry, Jackson’s novel has its roots deep in the state’s eco-thriller tradition. Yet it subtly subverts the expectations of the genre with its story of one man’s betrayal and redemption before a backdrop of wildfires, environmental extremism and real estate skullduggery that could have been pulled directly from today’s headlines.

The tale is told in a series of intertwined narratives, each with its own storyteller. As the stories slowly converge, they convert a former perpetrator into an unlikely hero as he discovers the sacrifices that must be made to save his community and create a life he can be proud of. “Mankind’s struggle with right vs. wrong is a timeless theme, and this is ultimately astory of redemption – although there are plenty of surprises and twists along the way,” says Jackson.

Author C.W. Smith says of Mangrove Underground: “Plotted with the complexity of a Chinatown, Jackson’s novel boasts a gritty authenticity coupled with literary mastery to achieve a vivid portrait of a place writhing in the grip of change.”

A former press photographer in Florida, Jackson gained first-hand knowledge of backcountry firefighting while accompanying fire crews battling wilderness blazes. He also spent much time canoeing and hiking throughout the backcountry that serves as the backdrop for Mangrove Underground.

Following a 10-year journalism career, Jackson returned to academia to earn a Master of Arts in English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. His non-fiction travel writing about the Florida wilderness has appeared in the Tampa Tribune. His short fiction has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the High Plains Literary Review, Confrontation, Palo Alto Review, Oracle Story and Letters and Conceit.

Jackson has worked as a boat captain and scuba instructor at Conch Club Divers on Little Cayman since 1999. He is finishing a second novel, set in the Caribbean, as well as a related collection of island-based short stories.

Mangrove Underground will be available in local bookstores, at the Little Cayman National Trust House, online, and in all e-book formats. To learn more about Mangrove Underground, visit the author’s website at

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