Genre – Paranormal Cozy Mystery
Series: A Dreamwalker Mystery (Book 3)
Hardcover – 292 pages
Publisher: Five Star Publishing (October 19, 2016)
Dreamwalker Baxley Powell can’t remember the last time she had such a crappy weekend. A twilight encounter with a ghost dog left her numb and disoriented, her dreamwalker abilities are wiped out, and the sheriff just summoned her to a double homicide.
With no access to the spirit world, Baxley bluffs her way through the crime scene where a movie star’s assistant and a charter boat captain were strung up and bled dry. In a haunted house, no less. Figuring out who killed these people will be a real challenge without her ability to speak to the dead.
Just when Baxley thinks her powers are returning, her dreamwalks malfunction. With the sheriff pushing her to solve the case quickly, Baxley teams up with a dognapping medium to boost her powers.
Suspects include the captain’s good-for-nothing brother, the assistant’s replacement, and, of course, his stalker. All of Sinclair County is on edge, and the media circus isn’t helping. At stake are the movie’s funding, the sheriff’s job, and Baxley’s senses.
Can Baxley safeguard her abilities and solve the case before the killer strikes again?
Haunted houses, lost pirate treasure, conniving in-laws, supernatural baddies, and a determined ghost dog test amateur sleuth Baxley Powell’s mettle in Book Three of Toussaint’s Dreamwalker Series.
I stared at my best friend, alarmed. “We’re going in the haunted house? Count me out. I didn’t sign on for breaking and entering. I can’t do that. I’ll lose my job as a police consultant.”
Charlotte shone her light on the weathered façade of June’s Folly. “No breaking required, Baxley. The front door is open.”
I added my beam to hers. Sure enough, the paneled door with the centrally located doorknob gaped on its hinges. “Dang. You’re right. Still, this place belongs to someone. We don’t have the right to stroll inside. We’ll be trespassing.”
“Just a peek inside. If the ghost is here, it should repel us at the door, or so goes the legend. Speaking of ghosts, is anyone talking to you? Maybe shaking some chains or speaking in French?”
“All I’m hearing is a desperate reporter.” Cautiously, I touched the banister to see if it was secure. It was. I used the railing for support as I carefully trod the rotten, squeaking steps. Drifts of thickened air stirred my hair and sighed through the pines. Charlotte halted. “You hear that?”
Her voice sounded too high. “The wind?”
“Chains clanking. And a sad, mournful song in another language.”
“Truly?” I heard nothing of the sort. Was Charlotte’s imagination getting away from her? Was there a ghost?
Charlotte sank to the porch decking, her gear clunking as she landed heavily on her rear. “I, uh, need a minute.”
“Okay.” I sat on the top step beside her. Other than feeling dread and a shiver against the elements, I seemed normal with no sign of sensory overload. I marveled that I was still functioning. A little maturity and a little extrasensory training and I had a whole new perspective on this place.
“Don’t you feel it?” My friend’s teeth chattered. “I’m freezing.”
I estimated it was nearly eighty degrees and humid enough for spiders to dance on the air. Puzzled, I touched Charlotte’s arm. Her skin felt cold to the touch. Ordinarily, Charlotte would be griping about the heat and the humidity. Something was crossing her wires.
“Look at you! Working those earlier ghost sites must have unleashed a latent talent.” I gazed at her with frank admiration. “You’re the ghost detector tonight, Char. I’m not picking up anything.”
“Are you looking?”
She had me there. “Nope. I don’t want to have to call my father to come get me again. That would be embarrassing.”
“I thought you were doing this to prove yourself as a full-fledged dreamwalker.”
“My main thought is that you have your answer to the ghost question. Chains and mournful singing support the drowned slave legend. Time to go home.”
“There’s more to this, I know it,” she insisted. “Help me prove it. You can handle whatever it is I’m feeling. I haven’t passed out or anything.”
Like that would reassure me. But there was a certain logic to her claim. I was being a wimp by keeping my senses and my body shielded.
Charlotte had called me out. Worse, she was right. Just because I never heard ghosts before was no reason not to listen for this one.
My talents and my shielding abilities were much more finely tuned now. I’d been talking to the dead for months. I didn’t have to let childhood fears dictate my actions. And, the sooner I gave Charlotte what she wanted, the sooner we could go home.
With that, I closed my eyes and opened my senses to the night. Immediately, I plunged into a freezing fog bank.
Today I welcome Maggie Toussaint to StoreyBook Reviews. She shares with us the friendship of Baxley and Charlotte in her books. I have had many dear friends over the years and totally identify with them.
By Maggie Toussaint
Some of us are lucky to have best friends. It’s rare to have multiple best friends simultaneously, but I’ve been blessed to have two best friends my entire life. They are sisters, and they were my next door neighbors forever.
We grew up sharing scraped knees, Barbies, favorite songs, and chicken pox. We listened to rain on a tin roof, caught blue crabs in tidal creeks, and confided our deepest darkest secrets to each other. We forged friendships that have spanned more than fifty years.
So, when I decided to create a character foil for my amateur sleuth Baxley Powell, I wanted her to have the same rich and enduring friendship I’ve had. Newspaper reporter Charlotte Ambrose appears in every book of the Dreamwalker cozy mysteries, but she was in Baxley’s life long before the series.
In firming up their backstory, I decided this pair had been inseparable since grade school. Charlotte struggles with her weight, with confidence, and with upward career mobility. As a fulltime employee at a weekly paper, she can get title promotions, but the job remains the same, no matter the label. Meanwhile, Baxley struggles with her unusual skill of communicating with the dead, her burning desire to be normal, and her decision to suppress her psychic abilities for most of her life.
As children, teens, and adults, Charlotte and Baxley needle each other when they need an extra push. They support each other when things go wrong and cheer for each other’s successes. They’re in and out of each other’s houses all the time. Charlotte is the sister Baxley never had, and Baxley’s parents are Charlotte’s second set of parents.
This closeness works out well for best friends in real life and for characters in stories. For instance, when everyday things that happen to us, we turn to our friends first. Our friends are our sounding boards and our barometers. They tell us when we’re messing up, and they rat us out to our folks when we need it. The same goes for Baxley and Charlotte.
In book one of the series, Gone and Done It, Charlotte helps Baxley through the decision to become the Dreamwalker. She helps Bax when the admission of power totally whitens Baxley’s forelock. On the flip side, Baxley clues her friend into the first murder the county has had in forever. That’s solid gold and pure adrenaline for an ambitious reporter like Charlotte.
In the second Dreamwalker mystery, Bubba Done It, Charlotte gets first dibs on reporting the banker’s death, but her astute observations shape the overall police investigation. There’s a lot of give and take in their relationship and a squabble or two for good measure. As always, Charlotte remains the brains of the pair and Baxley the pluck.
And now we’re to book three in the series, the subject of this book release blog tour, Doggone It. With several months of dreamwalking under her belt, Baxley enjoys a more formal relationship with the sheriff’s department. The increased work and pay make her life as a single mom easier, but the more cop work she does, the less she can confide in Charlotte in real time. With Charlotte being a member of the press and Baxley on the side of law and order, a rift in their friendship threatens.
In addition, Charlotte’s reporting of two previous murder cases shakes up the pecking order at the paper and gains her notice throughout the state. She’s sure her next murder story will springboard her to a bigtime career. While Charlotte pursues fame and fortune, Baxley keeps a low profile. The people she meets are either dead, criminals, family of the dead, or cops. Her dreamwalking clients drop by at all hours of the day and night, leaving her little time for her friend.
Adjustments must be made if Baxley and Charlotte are to remain close friends.
Read more about Baxley and Charlotte in Doggone It!
For fun, share something you enjoy doing with your best friend. Also, remember to enter the giveaway.
About the Author
Formerly a contract scientist for the U.S. Army and a freelance reporter, mystery and suspense author Maggie Toussaint has thirteen published books. Her recent mystery releases include Gone and Done It, Bubba Done It, Death, Island Style, and Dime If I Know. Her latest mystery, Doggone It, is Book Three in her dreamwalker series about a psychic sleuth.
Maggie won the Silver Falchion Award for Best Cozy/Traditional Mystery. Additionally, she won a National Readers’ Choice Award and an EPIC Award for Best Romantic Suspense. She was twice nominated for the Georgia Author of the Year Award and finaled in the Beacon and the Readers’ Crown Contest.
Maggie lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows.
check out the other great blogs on this tour
October 20 – Teresa Trent Author Site – REVIEW
October 21 – Books,Dreams,Life – REVIEW
October 22 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, & Sissy, Too! – REVIEW
October 23 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW
October 24 – Community Bookstop – GUEST POST
October 25 – fuonlyknew – REVIEW
October 26 – T’s Stuff – REVIEW
October 27 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST
October 28 – The Book’s the Thing – REVIEW
October 29 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – GUEST POST
October 30 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
October 30 – deal sharing aunt – REVIEW
October 31 – Jane Reads – REVIEW