Amateur sleuth Baxley Powell is on vacation at Stony Creek Lake in the north Georgia mountains. Her parents, best friend, and ten-year-old daughter are camping with her. Almost immediately, a young man's body is found beside the lake. Strangely, there's no apparent cause of death. The local police have heard about Baxley's skill at closing unusual cases, and at their urging she agrees to help.
Her psychic sleuthing leads the police to a halfway house. There they encounter eight comatose victims and an odd man named Jonas, who also has supernatural abilities. Baxley senses Jonas cruelly drained their life force energy. Jonas escapes, taking the sheriff as a hostage. Deputy Sam Mayes, a Native American, leads the manhunt, and he keeps Baxley close, knowing she's the key to capturing this powerful criminal.
Baxley's paranormal talent of dreamwalking, which she uses to traverse the veil of life, draws the unwanted attention of beings believed to be Cherokee folklore. Jonas stole a treasured artifact from them, and they want it back. They hold Baxley's best friend and two others because they know Baxley can help them. As the clock ticks, Jonas taunts this crime-fighting duo and proves to be a wily adversary.
With the body count rising, Baxley and Mayes realize they are up against an entity who appears to be invincible. Do they have the power to subdue an energy vampire, turn the tide of evil, and save the day?
Book 4 in the Dreamwalker Mystery series.
About the Author
Maggie Toussaint has published seventeen books, fourteen as Maggie Toussaint and three as Rigel Carson. She is president of the Southeast Mystery Writers of America and has a seat on the national MWA Board. She is also a member of Sisters In Crime and Low Country Sisters In Crime. Toussaint won the Silver Falchion Award for Best Cozy/Traditional mystery in 2014. Additionally, she won a National Readers Choice Award and an EPIC award for Best Romantic Suspense. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. Visit her at maggietoussaint.com.
Read an Excerpt
Mayes said something, but I barely heard him as I slipped into a meditative trance. Light fractured into kaleidoscopic panels whirling and turning and making me dizzy. At the same time, rage vectored up my arm, turning my stomach, making me want to puke. In a flash of light, I saw a clearing where nothing grew. The image whirled and stopped at a strangely shaped tree. The earth was disturbed there. Blackbirds cawed and flew at my face.
I willed myself back to the group home and found Mayes supporting me, his hands holding my hips in a snug grip. "What?" I asked, gazing at the refrigerator and the sink. Hadn't I been in front of the sink when this started?
"You're okay," he said. "I've got you."
Being held felt nice. More than nice. But this was wrong on several counts. My marriage. His being a stranger. I stepped away from him. "Did something happen?"
"You dropped the plates immediately. Your eyes twitched, then you started walking. Tried to walk right through the refrigerator. That's when I grabbed you, so you wouldn't hurt yourself."
Odd. I'd never moved during a dreamwalk before. "Thanks, I think."
"I'd offer you something to drink or a seat, but you don't want to do either in this strange house."
Something else was different about this vision. Something that had not happened. For the first time, I'd felt truly alone on the dreamwalk. "You're right."
"Was it worthwhile?" Mayes asked. "Did you learn anything to help us find Twilla Sue?"
Instead of touching my necklace, as I often did to center myself after a vision or a dreamwalk, I touched the tattoo on the back of my hand. Cold as ice. Usually Rose's tattoos heated when I crossed the curtain. Not this time. Hard to say I missed Rose, but her absence puzzled me.
"The vision was filled with changing images, light, and rage," I said. "I saw a weird tree with disturbed earth nearby. Not a leaf on this skeleton tree, just black bark. The limbs twisted in every direction."
"How does this help us find the sheriff?"
"I don't know. I'd like to talk with you later about the images, about the places I saw. I'm unfamiliar with the area so I don't know if they are landmarks or remote areas we might never identify."
"We will." He seemed to draw into himself for a moment. "Meanwhile, during your dreamwalk, we found the stolen car, but no Twilla Sue. I've ordered scent-tracking dogs to the location."
"We'll find her," I said with more conviction than I felt. I had no idea what we were dealing with in Jonas Canyon. Was he more than an energy vampire? That was enough, truly, but how did he bend people to his will so easily?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Dollycas’s Thoughts Baxley Powell can’t even go on vacation without being drawn into an investigation. This time people are dying without any trauma to their bodies. She is asked to dreamwalk with the latest victim to try and get some answers. Her walk leads her to some scary and unbelievable places both in the present and beyond the veil. Maggie Toussaint has an extraordinary imagination and I can’t help but follow her with mine right into this story. The Powell family seems to be an ordinary American family but they are not. Each has their special gifts to communicate with the supernatural realm and with each other. Now that more people know of her talents Baxley’s demands on her time are almost overwhelming. While on vacation the local sheriff arrests her to convince her to help them on a case, while a pushy medical examiner demands help on a cold case. She has dealt with the medical examiner before, I didn’t like her much then and my feelings haven’t changed. All the characters the author brings to this story are special and different in their own ways. Readers will like most but there are a few to really dislike as well. The mystery itself was very complex mixing Cherokee folklore with other supernatural elements. The way the author made these other worlds come to life is really unique. The dialogue was so well written. The plot has some surprising twists and very fearful moments. This story is sure to be a hit among paranormal/supernatural fans. As this is a series I do recommend reading them in order but this book can be read all on its own.