In all their years at the funeral home, Janet and Michael Savoy had never seen anything like the viewing for ninetten-year-old Thalia Stevenson. That's because they had never seen a Gypsy funeral before, complete with rituals, incantations and a very special gold coin placed beneath the dead girl's hands.....When that coin is stolen, a horror is unleashed. If the Savoys don't find the coin and return it to Thalia's grave before the rising of the second sun, someone in their family--perhaps their little daughter--will die a merciless death. The ticking away of each hour brings the Savoy family closer to a gruesome, inescapable nightmare. Only one thing is certain--Gypsies always have their revenge--even the dead ones.
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About the Author
Deborah LeBlanc is an award-winning, best-selling author and business owner from Lafayette, Louisiana. She is also a licensed death scene investigator, has been a paranormal investigator for over twenty years, and is currently the house clairsendium for the upcoming paranormal investigation television show, Through the Veil. She served four years as president of the Horror Writers Association, eight years as president of the Writers' Guild of Acadiana, and two years as president of Mystery Writers of America's Southwest Chapter. In 2007, Deborah founded Literacy Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting illiteracy in America’s teens. Deborah also takes her passion for literacy and a powerful ability to motivate to high schools around the country. For more information, visit www.deborahleblanc.com and www.literacyinc.com
Read an Excerpt
By Deborah LeBlanc
Copyright © 2005
All right reserved.
Anna tucked the blanket around her baby, careful to leave the
newborn's left leg out as instructed. She heard the
tambourines from outside the camper grow louder, shriller,
like a thousand rattlesnakes hissing in disgust at what she
was about to let happen. The community had been celebrating
since midday, a jubilee the size normally sanctioned for
weddings and baptisms. Drunken voices shouted over mandolins
and enthusiastic offerings of percussion with jugs and spoons.
In that moment, amidst the raucous banter, Anna hated her
husband. She was all too familiar with his over-inflated ego,
how it fed on pomp and circumstance, how it caused him to
embellish traditions or add new ones. Many times she had seen
him turn time-honored customs into regimented absurdities or
create new, inane rituals that served no other purpose but to
flex an authoritative muscle. It wasn't enough that his role
as leader came by birthright, which afforded him an
indisputable, ardent following. He wanted absolute control of
all things-even death. The new ceremony he had commissioned
for today proved it. He was going too far this time.
Anna kissed the top of her daughter's head, the crown of black
hair so soft against her lips she could hardly feel it. She
threw a cautious glance about the confinesof the trailer,
then whispered into the infant's ear the name only she would
use for her. Not even her husband would be privy to it, as was
custom. The baby's community name, the one to be used by every
member of the tribe, she called out softly in the
claustrophobic space. "Thalia. You are my greatest love."
The baby's eyelids fluttered as though in approval, and Anna
clutched her tighter to her breast. She reached for a silver
music box that sat on her nightstand and opened the lid. A
miniature ballerina, poised in the center of the box, began to
pirouette to a lullaby.
"I'm so sorry," Anna murmured. "I would burn the flesh from my
own body if that would stop him." She snuggled her face
against her child's neck. "I will do what I can to make sure
it goes quickly."
She placed Thalia in her bassinet and turned reluctantly to
the bed where the skirt her mother-in-law had made for the
occasion lay in multicolored folds. Sighing deeply, Anna put
it on, feeling the hem scratch against her ankles. She chose a
white peasant blouse to go with it, not caring whether it
matched or not. Bracelets and necklaces, thick with ornate
gold and onyx, had already been chosen for her and laid out on
top of the bureau. Their beauty and value meant nothing to her
tonight. They felt cold and heavy like her body when she
clasped them into place. She placed the droshy that had
belonged to her mother on top of her head for good luck. Her
fingers trembled and fumbled with the silk knot as she secured
it to the back of her head.
After closing the music box, Anna lifted Thalia from the
bassinet and carried her to the front room near the
kitchenette. She stood there, clutching her child, waiting,
watching the door, and not for the first time in her life,
wishing she had been born white or black or Russian, anything
Excerpted from Grave Intent
by Deborah LeBlanc
Copyright © 2005 by Deborah LeBlanc.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
What People are Saying About This
“Deborah LeBlanc understands the rhythms of family life and uses them to chilling effect in ‘Grave Intent.’ She possesses a fresh voice and skillfully navigates the murky swamps of the human heart. I suspect Deborah LeBlanc has a long and successful career ahead of her.” --Scott Nicholson, Author of (The Manor)
“As flawless as a mortician’s hand, Deborah LeBlanc entices us with Grave Intent. She deftly plays on our worst fears of the unknown, building to a fever pitch that will have readers’ hearts racing. At times tender, at others terrifying, Grave Intent is like standing on a Ferris Wheel, tottering over the edge until you fall. Wickedly intense and remarkably original, LeBlanc is a welcome voice in the world of horror.” --(Scott A. Johnson- Author of An American Haunting)
“From its seductive opening line to its nerve-wracking finale, Deborah LeBlanc’s Grave Intent is a first-rate suspense novel, filled with genuine dread, plenty of surprises, and fully-realized characters. I defy you to put this down after the first 2 pages—it can’t be done.” --(Bram Stoker Award-winner Gary A. Braunbeck, Author of In Silent Graves)
“Deborah LeBlanc’s prose is smooth, quick, and as darkly beautiful as the midnight bayou. Creepy as hell and guaranteed to satisfy!” --(Bram Stoker Award-winner Brian Keene, Author of The Rising)
“A powerful haunting tale of curses and death, rendered all the more poignant by the sense of impending doom hanging over the innocent family involved. LeBlanc’s writing is filling with passion and dread.” --(Tim Lebbon, Author of Desolation and Fears Unnamed)
“Deborah LeBlanc’s second novel Grave Intent proves that her first novel Family Inheritance was no stroke of luck. Smart and suspenseful in plot, clear in its delivery, Grave Intent is one delightfully readable tale that will stick to your mind long after you set it down. Never have gypsies been so frightening, their threat quiet yet entirely certain in this story of spiritual vengeance and curses. A read with the lights on thriller!” --(Michael Laimo, Author of The Demonologist)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was just tired of being dissapointed book after book after book, until I desided to try someone new. When I first started to read it I was amazed at how it pulled me in right away, I couldn't put it down. I would stay up hours past my bed time because I had to know what happened next! The only time I found my self slowing down was towards the end, because I just simply didn't want it to end. The difference I noticed with this book that made me like it so much was the fact that the story didn't become corny and lose your intreast at the end, it got better and I'm glad that there is a female writer who understands the meaning of horror. She is great.
I was quite surprised. The book was a really good read and flowed nicely. Loved the family especially the little girl. Will read more of this author........ Scary!!!!!!
Great book. It was scary all the way till the end. Would make great movie. Look forward to reading other books by this author.
Ephraim Stevenson branded his infant daughter with the imprint of a gold coin that he made for her so that she will have payment when she dies and not be stuck in the netherworld. At the age of nineteen Thalia dies in a freak riding accident in a small town in Louisiana; her family arranges for her funeral to be held at Savoy¿s Ephraim takes the gold coin off the ring he is wearing and puts it in his daughter¿s coffin. Michael Savoy¿s father Wilson comes back home during the Stevenson funeral because some very bad people want to collect on his gambling debts. He sees the gold coin and steals it with every intention of using it to pay off his bookie but he loses it before that can happen. The ghost of Thalia¿s grandfather warns Michael that unless the coin is returned to Thalia within forty eight hours, death will come for his loved ones. Michael¿s wife and daughter are at their summer retreat under supernatural siege with his child¿s life slowly slipping away, Michael and Wilson are also under ghostly attack at the funeral home. Only returning the gold coin to Thalia will save his daughter from certain death. --- GRAVE INTENT is a chilling horror story worthy of a Bram Stoker nomination. Wilson¿s sets events in motion by stealing from a corpse, which doesn¿t phase this hedonist, who symbolizes selfish me-me negative behavior; in contrast Michael and his wife risk their lives to save their daughter and readers believe they would insure that Thalia has the money to take passage to the other side even if their offspring was not in danger.--- Harriet Klausner
Mystery, suspense, a supernatural element and an interesting tale of the past and of the present. You were introduced to the Savoy family who runs a mortuary, funeral home and burial site and crematorium. Soon that family comes into contact with a group of individuals that follow a leader who contains the gift of supernatural means. Sense of good and evil, a sense of an evil gift through a Cult like dictator, controller known as a group of individuals worshiping something beyond what society considers the norm. Now Janet and Michael Savoy experience something that they have never seen before. That most of the population has never seen before in their latest client the Stevenson family. There 19-year-old daughter Thalia has died from a freak accident. The Stevenson's pick a local funeral home where the Savoy learn that the Stevenson's belief is if a person dies, that spot, that area is where their soul remains. Now the Stevenson family are gypsies. They contain all the ancient beliefs systems and act upon the very nature of their legends and most of all their truths hidden inside the strange world of good and evil. From ancient rituals and incantations, and a gold coin which is placed upon the dead body of Thalia. But all hell breaks loose when that Coin is stolen from the dead body. True horror unfolds unto the Savoys. The ancient legend states that if the coin cannot be found and placed back upon the body before the rising of a second sun, one of their family members will die a horrible death. The coin is the key to stop the revenge of the gypsies. Nothing is worse than a curse by a dead Gypsy seeking revenge. This is a nice little story induced book that grabs the reader in many sections and is relatable to read. The reader can interact with the characters in the book because each one of them are down to earth and believable, each one seems like an average person. The Savoy family, is the family we can all relate to, the struggle of work, the struggle of being busy, children, marriage, and stubborn family members. It's a simple read fast and quick. I like all the characters. You are introduced to each one in a vivid way. Each character comes together so that the reader can imagine they are real. The book does flow easily as the reader reads, but sometimes there is some slow parts that tend to get a little stretched out. There are parts that seem like just filler to the book, making it longer than it needs to be. This reality makes the book at times feel too long. With that negative, it is still an enjoyable book. I think the book is written in a vivid reality that the reader can relate to. It’s written in a way you become the book when you read the sentences. The situations become visual images in your mind as you scan page after page. I enjoyed the style that it's written in. I enjoyed the vivid nature. I enjoyed the story. I have always been a fan of ancient curses and legends and all that type of reality. This book is filled with a down-to-earth way of understanding and also differentiating from the good and the bad and most of all, consequences of one person or other people's actions.
Started out good and kept the pages turning fast and furious. Excellent read.
Good read from beginning to end a must read story.