Translate

Search this blog

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

☀ Isolation: Faye Longchamp Mysteries [9] - Mary Anna Evans

Thank you for joining us on the Virtual Book Tour for Isolation  by (, Poisoned Pen Press, 271 pages).

This is the ninth book in the Faye Longchamp Mysteries series. PREVIEW: Read the first five chapters with Amazon Look Inside.

Check out the book's synopsis and our Chapter One excerpt below, as well as details about the whole Faye Longchamp Mysteries series. Also do not miss our Q&A with author Mary Anna Evans.

Poisoned Pen Press and Partners in Crime Tours will be awarding 1 Box of Poisoned Pen Press books including Unleashed by Eileen Brady to a randomly drawn US winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.   Please do take part: comment on our post and follow the tour where you will be able to read other excerpts (☀), interviews (ℚ), reviews (✍) and guest blog posts (✉).


Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | Author Q&A | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

Synopsis

Archaeologist Faye Longchamp-Mantooth has dug herself a deep hole and she can’t make her way out of it. As she struggles to recover from a shattering personal loss, she sees that everyone she loves is trying to reach out to her. If only she could reach back. Instead she’s out digging holes all over her home, the Florida island of Joyeuse.

In their old plantation home, Joe Wolf Mantooth is surrounded by family—Faye, the wife he loves; their toddler son he adores; and his father, who hasn’t gotten around to telling him how long he’s been out of prison or how he got there—yet Joe has never felt so helpless or alone.

Then a close friend at the local marina is brutally murdered, the first in a string of crimes against women that rocks Micco County. Joe, desperate to help Faye, realizes she is in danger from both her inner demons and someone who has breached the island’s isolation. Local law and environmental officials say they want to help, but to Faye and Joe they feel more like invaders. A struggling Faye reaches back over a century into her family’s history for clues. And all the while, danger snakes further into their lives, threatening the people they love, their cherished home, even the very ground—some of it poisoned—beneath their feet.

Teaser: Excerpt


Chapter One

Fish know which docks are owned by people who are generous with their table scraps. In the evenings, they gather around wooden posts that vibrate with the footsteps of a human carry- ing food. They wait, knowing that potato peels and pork chop bones will soon rain from the sky. They race to skim the surface for floating bread crumbs. They dive, nibbling at each half-eaten hot dog as it sinks. When a restaurant, even a shabby dive where hungry people clean their plates, throws its detritus off one particular dock every night, fish for miles around know all about it.

On this night, the fish wait below a dock that has always offered a nightly feast. Tonight, they feel the vibrations of familiar feet. The food falls into the water, as always, and the sound of a stainless steel spoon scraping the bottom of a stainless steel pot passes from the air above to the water below. Everything is as it has been, until a sharp noise jabs into the water hard enough for the fish to hear it. The spoon falls.

The spoon is large, designed for a commercial kitchen, so it hits the water with a smack that can be heard both above and below the surface. A scream falls into the fishes’ underworld along with the spoon.

A big pot, with food scraps still clinging to its inner surface, hits the water an instant later. Only creatures with the agility of the waiting fish could scatter quickly enough to avoid being hit.

After another heartbeat, something else falls among them, something bigger and softer. Soon there are two somethings, both with arms and legs and feet and hands, one that gurgles and another that leaves when the gurgling stops.

The thing that stays behind is a human body. As it settles in the water, tiny minnows nestle in the long hair that floats around it like seaweed. Catfish explore its ten long fingers with their tentacled mouths. None of them associate its two bare feet with the sprightly vibrations that had always signaled a rain of food.

Before long, predators appear, drawn by the smell of blood.

Chapter Two

Joe Wolf Mantooth was worried about his wife.

Faye was neglecting their business. She was neglecting her health. He wanted to say she was neglecting her children, but it would kill her to think he believed such a thing, so he spent a lot of time telling that part of himself to be quiet. He also wanted to say she was neglecting him, but it would kill him to believe it, so he spent the rest of his time telling that other part of himself to be quiet. Or to shrivel up and die. Because if he ever lost Faye, that’s what Joe intended to do. Shrivel up and die.

The children seemed oblivious to the changes in their mother.

Michael, at two, saw nothing strange about her leaving the house every morning with her archaeological tools. She had always done that.

Amande was away from home, doing an immersion course in Spanish at a camp situated so high in the Appalachians that she’d asked for heavy sweaters long before Halloween. Faye had been too distracted to put them in the mail. Joe had shopped for them, boxed them up, and sent them off. Faye seemed to have forgotten that her daughter had ever said, “I’m cold.”

Amande was perceptive for seventeen. If she hadn’t noticed that Joe had been doing all the talking for the last month, she would notice soon. Lately, when faced with a call from her daughter, Faye murmured a few distracted words before pretending that Michael needed a diaper change. If Faye didn’t come up with another excuse to get off the phone, Amande might soon call 911 and ask the paramedics to go check out her brother’s chronic diarrhea.

Though Joe did speak to Amande when she called, surely she had noticed by now that he said exactly nothing. What was he going to say?

The closest thing to the truth was “Your mother’s heart fell into a deep hole when she miscarried your baby sister, and I’m starting to worry that we may never see it again,” but Joe was keeping his silence. Faye had forbidden him to tell Amande that there wasn’t going to be a baby sister.

Was this rational? Did Faye think that her daughter was never going to fly home to Florida, bubbling with excitement over her Appalachian adventure and the coming baby?

If she did, it was yet more evidence supporting Joe’s fear that Faye’s mind wasn’t right these days. Every morning brought fresh proof of that not-rightness as she walked away from him…to do what? As best he could tell, she was carefully excavating random sites all over their island. If she’d found anything worth the effort, he sure didn’t know about it.

In the meantime, Joe sat in the house, face-to-face with a serious problem. This problem was almost as tall and broad as Joe. His hair had once been as dark. His skin was the same red- brown, only deeper. This was a problem Joe had been trying to outrun since he was eighteen years old.

His father.

“Try this spot.”

****

Faye Longchamp-Mantooth believed in intuition. It had always guided her work as an archaeologist. After she’d gathered facts about a site’s history, inspected the contours of the land, and scoured old photographs, she always checked her gut response before excavating. Her gut was often right. It was only recently, however, that her gut had begun speaking out loud and in English. Lately, her gut had been urging her to skip the boring research and go straight for the digging.

“Have you ever excavated here before?” its voice asked. Faye’s answer was no.

“Then try this spot.”

Every day, Joyeuse Island sported more shallow pits that had yielded nothing. Of course, they had yielded nothing. Faye had failed to do her homework. But going to the library or sitting at her computer would require her to be still and think. Thinking was painful these days, so she skipped it.

“Okay,” she said, not pleased to see that she’d begun answering the voice out loud, “I’ll give it a shot. But I don’t think there’s anything here.”

Her hand was remarkably steady for the hand of a woman who’d been hearing voices for a month. She used it to guide her trowel, removing a thin layer of soil.

She would have known this old trowel in the dark. Her fingers had rubbed the finish off its wooden handle in a pattern that could match no hand but hers. Since God hadn’t seen fit to let her grow the pointy metal hand she needed for her work, she’d chosen this one tool to mold into a part of herself.

Faye was working in sandy soil as familiar as the trowel. It was her own. She’d been uncovering the secrets of Joyeuse Island since she was old enough to walk, and she would never come to the end of them. As she grew older, she saw the need to mete out her time wisely, but she rebelled against it. The past would keep most of its secrets, and this made her angry.Faye didn’t know where to dig, because she didn’t know what she was trying to find. It would help if the voice ever offered a less hazy rationale for ordering her out of the house. All it said was “You can find the truth. Don’t let this island keep its secrets from you.”

Her frenetic busyness was an antidote for the times the voice tiptoed into ground that shook beneath her feet. It crept into dangerous territory and then beckoned her to follow. It asked her to believe that she was to blame for the baby’s death, for the mute suffering in Joe’s eyes, for every tear Michael shed.

This was craziness. Two-year-olds cried several times a day. Men who had lost babies suffered. And there was rarely any blame to be handed out in the wake of a miscarriage, even late miscarriages that carry away a child who has been bumping around in her mother’s womb long enough for mother and daughter to get to know one another.

Still, the voice said Faye was to blame, so she believed it. And it told her that it was possible to dig up peace, so she dug.

Isolation - available NOW!

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK purchase from iTunes UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo purchase from iTunes US

The Series: Faye Longchamp Mysteries

Click on the book cover to Look Inside the book on Amazon and read an excerpt.

Artifacts [1]

Faye Longchamp has lost nearly everything except for her quick mind and a grim determination to hang onto her ancestral home, Joyeuse, a moldering plantation hidden along the Florida coast. No one knows how Faye’s great-great-grandmother Cally, a newly freed slave barely out of her teens, came to own Joyeuse in the aftermath of the Civil War. No one knows how her descendants hung onto it through Reconstruction, world wars, the Depression, and Jim Crow, but Faye has inherited the island plantation—and the family tenacity. When the property taxes rise beyond her means, she sets out to save Joyeuse by digging for artifacts on her property and the surrounding National Wildlife Refuge and selling them on the black market. A tiny bit of that dead glory would pay a year’s taxes. A big valuable chunk of the past would save her home forever.

But instead of potsherds and arrowheads, she uncovers a woman’s shattered skull, a Jackie Kennedy-style earring nestled against its bony cheek. Faye is torn. If she reports the forty-year-old murder, she’ll reveal her illegal livelihood, thus risking jail and the loss of Joyeuse. She doesn’t intend to let that happen, so she probes into the dead woman’s history, unaware that the past is rushing up on her like a hurricane across deceptively calm Gulf waters... [Published 15 April 2003, 305 pages]

Relics [2]

Faye Longchamp is digging out of her depth. Back in school to pursue her dream of becoming an archaeologist, she has been asked to run a project for which she is barely qualified, under the direction of a man who doesn’t seem to like her much. Her assignment—to uncover the origins of a mysterious ethnic group of people called the Sujosa who have lived in Alabama’s most remote hills for centuries—is exciting and significant: the Sujosa have shown impressive immunity to many diseases…including AIDS.

Late one night, Faye sleepily realizes that she is warm for the first time since leaving home, but the cozy moment is interrupted by a woman’s scream. Faye is warm because the house is on fire. She saves herself and one of her housemates, but her friend Carmen, the project historian, never had a chance. Within days, an 18-year-old boy commits suicide, jumping from a cell phone tower that, when completed, will bring the outside world into the Sujosa community.

Faye’s archaeology skills at ferreting out the past may help her unravel the two mysterious deaths, and they just might save her life. She has few clues beyond her own intuition to tell her that the two deaths are related, but the oral histories Carmen was compiling before she died may hold the answers she needs. [Published 1 August 2005, 313 pages]

Effigies [3]

Faye Longchamp and Joe Wolf Mantooth have traveled to Neshoba County, Mississippi, to help excavate a site near Nanih Waiya, the sacred mound where tradition says the Choctaw nation was born.When farmer Carroll Calhoun refuses the archaeologists’ request to investigate an ancient Native American mound, Faye and her colleagues are disappointed. But his next action breaks their hearts: he tries to bulldoze the huge relic to the ground. Faye and Joe rush to protect history, with their bodies if necessary. The situation grows more dangerous as Choctaws arrive to defend the mound and the farmer’s white and black neighbors come to defend his property rights. A popular young sheriff is able to defuse the situation, but tempers are short.

That night, Calhoun is found dead, his throat sliced with a handmade stone blade. Was he killed by an archaeologist angered by his wanton destruction of history? Did a Choctaw take up arms to defend an embattled heritage? Did someone decide to even the score with an old rival?

The sheriff is well-aware that Faye and Joe were near the spot where Calhoun’s body was found. The whole county saw their confrontation with him over the mound. And their combined knowledge of stone tools is impressive. They had motive, means, and opportunity—but so did almost everyone in Neshoba County. [Published 15 January 2007, 313 pages]

Findings [4]

Faye Longchamp is once again at Joyeuse, the family plantation in Florida she labors so lovingly to restore. She’s doing archaeological work for pay, excavating a site once owned by her family. But her joy abruptly ends when thieves break into the home of her beloved mentor Douglass Everett and kill him, inexplicably ignoring the impressive display of artifacts and valuable artwork in his mansion. The thieves also left behind the magnificent emerald that Faye had just unearthed and brought to Douglass that fateful evening. All that’s missing are Faye’s field notes.

Then another murder quickly furnishes a clue that only Faye is likely to interpret, launching her on a treasure hunt connected to Marie Antoinette and to the history of the Confederacy.

Faye’s research rubs a number of people wrong, including some Civil War souvenir seekers. The killers have shown they will stop at nothing to get the information in Faye’s notes. It’s only a matter of time before they come for Faye. [Published 1 May 2008, 275 pages]

Floodgates [5]

Centuries of tragedy shadow New Orleans—wars, slavery, and a monumental flood that killed a thousand people and still threatens to wash all that history away.

Faye Longchamp and her team of archaeologists, fighting to save New Orleans’ past, are horrified when they discover a corpse that’s far too new to be an archaeological find. The police presume it’s just another dead body in the long, sad sequence of dead bodies left by Hurricane Katrina, until Faye shows them a truth that only an archaeologist could see: the debris piled on top of the dead woman is all wrong. Someone brought Shelly Broussard to this flooded-out house and left her dead body behind. Presumably, that someone was her killer.

Faye and her assistant Joe Wolf Mantooth are drawn into the investigation by a detective who believes their professional expertise is critical to the case. They quickly learn that trouble swirled around the victim like winds around the still, quiet eye of a hurricane. Is Shelly’s heroic rescue work in the aftermath of Katrina the key to her death? Or does the sheaf of photos in her work files hold the answer? Will Faye and Joe be the next innocents engulfed in this deadly deception? [Published 1 July 2009, 271 pages]

Strangers [6]

Flush with her brand new PhD, Faye Longchamp and husband Joe Wolf Mantooth have founded an archaeological consulting firm —just in time for the economy to tank. But a meeting with a couple who run an elegant B&B in an historic home in St. Augustine, Florida, lands the firm’s first big project.

Within a day of their arrival at Dunkirk Manor, a lovely young employee disappears, leaving behind a sinister smear of blood in her car, a collection of priceless artifacts, and a note asking for Faye’s help. Two days later, the missing woman’s jerk of a boyfriend is found floating in the Matanzas River, his throat slashed. The detective in charge of the case believes that the artifacts are key to the crime and hires Faye to track down their origin. The artifacts Faye and Joe excavate at their work site date from every era of St. Augustine history, and the discovery of a buried cache of children’s toys from the 1920s hits eight-months-pregnant Faye particularly hard. Dunkirk Manor seems haunted in a way that Faye can’t explain.

Then the most stunning discovery is made: the diary of a priest who left Spain in 1565 and was present at the city’s birth. Faye is driven to translate the manuscript. In what seems like an unfolding tale by the Brothers Grimm, Faye and Joe uncover terrible secrets past and present. [Published 5 October 2010, 250 pages]

Plunder [7]

Time is not on Faye Longchamp’s side. She and her husband Joe are working near the mouth of the Mississippi, researching archaeological sites soon to be swamped by oil. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has morphed her run-of-the-mill contract job into a task that might swamp her fledgling company. It isn’t helping that an injured babysitter has left Faye to work with a toddler underfoot.

An adolescent girl is drawn to Faye, perhaps because she idolizes the confident archaeologist. Young Amande is bright and curious, and a poverty-stricken life on a houseboat with an eccentric grandmother doesn’t look like a good to get the education Amande deserves. When the girl’s grandmother and her no-account uncle are murdered, her prospects worsen. With only two known relatives–neither of them much more respectable than the dead uncle–Amande seems destined for neglect or worse.

Soon, Faye and Joe find themselves among people fighting hard for Amande’s pathetic inheritance: a raggedy houseboat, a few shares of stock, and a hurricane-battered island that’s not even inhabitable. Pirate-era silver coins are found and disappear. Shadowing it all is the fact that there’s a murderer on the loose. But why should Faye be surprised by such shady events, here in these watery lands settled by the greatest pirates of them all? And the oil slick looms, because this country is still being plundered, after all these years… [Published 1 March 2012, 307 pages]

Rituals [8]

Faye Longchamp doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she’s an archaeologist—dead people are her life. Yet while working in Rosebower, a rural New York town founded by Spiritualists, Faye is surrounded by people who talk to the dead on a regular basis. When influential Spiritualist Tilda Armistead invites Faye and her daughter to commune with the dead, Faye can’t say no. She’s just too curious.

Then an hour after her crystal ball shows Faye things no rational mind can explain, Tilda is dead. The evidence says that someone trapped Tilda in a small room, nailing its one door shut before setting her house afire. There is no possible way for her to have escaped the blaze, let alone drive for miles before finding Faye and dying in her arms. Yet Tilda did. How? And why?

It seems Rosebower is full of people who had reason to kill Tilda. Tilda’s estranged daughter is the heir to the Armistead fortune. That daughter’s husband is a stage magician with a long history of making things vanish. Against Tilda’s wishes, a rich developer would like to turn Rosebower into a Disneyland with real ghosts. And then there is the famed root doctor whose mysterious herbal potions are anywhere else, these people would be dismissed as crazy. In Rosebower, “normal“ is relative. As Faye watches the psychics and charlatans jockey for power, Tilda’s sister, Myrna, is slowly dying. Will Rosebower reveal its secrets before more goes up in flames? [Published 30 October 2013, 285 pages]

About the Author

Mary Anna Evans is the author of the award-winning Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries–Artifacts, Relics, Effigies, Findings, Floodgates, Strangers, and Plunder.

She has degrees in physics and chemical engineering. Her background includes stints in environmental consulting and university administration, as well as a summer spent working offshore in the oil fields.

Writing lets her spend weeks indulging her passion for history, archeology, and architecture, and months making up stories.

Mary Anna is preparing to move to Oklahoma since accepting an Associate Professor position with the University of Oklahoma.

Follow Mary Anna Evans:

Visit the author's blog Visit the author's website Visit the author on Facebook Visit the author on Twitter Visit the author on Google+ Visit the author on their Amazon page Visit the author on GoodReads

Giveaway and Tour Stops

Enter to win1 Box of Poisoned Pen Press books including Unleashed by Eileen Brady. The giveaway begins on September 1st, 2015 and runs through September 31st, 2015. For US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Isolation's tour at:



No comments:

Post a Comment