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?
Suddenly the air felt wrong in this tranquil setting, as if it was too heavy to draw into my lungs. These cops were searching for a suspect. Not my problem. Except I had a sinking feeling it would become my problem.
All three dogs howled at the siren, and Larissa, bless her, tried to quiet them.
Loggins scowled and stepped off the boat toward Charlotte, tablet tucked under his arm. He was taller than me and looked former-professional-athlete solid.
I felt a tug on my elbow and jumped.
Deputy Duncan gestured toward the path leading back to our camp. “Come with me, ma’am. We have cruisers meeting us at your campsite for transport.”
My feet grew roots. The fishing rod bobbled in my hands. “I’m not leaving my daughter or my friend. We’re traveling together. If you need someone to vouch for my character, call Sheriff Wayne Thompson down in Marion.”
“You’re in our database as his consultant, and we’ve already got a call in to him. This is a routine precaution. For your safety as well as ours—”
“Gun,” Deputy Loggins yelled from behind me. “She’s got a handgun in her waistband.”
“Hands in the air,” Duncan said, weapon drawn. “Now.”
“But I can explain.”
A millisecond later, my Beretta was gone, my pockets emptied, and my arms were tightly clenched behind me. In the second before I totally locked down my extra senses, I got an inkling of the cop’s mental state. Neutralize the threat. Protect my partner. Assess the danger level. Contain the situation.
Fear threaded through his laser-focused thoughts, along with excitement. I needed to do some fast talking before the situation escalated further. “I can explain the gun,” I began again, twisting around to search Deputy Duncan’s face. “Sayer’s visit last night spooked me. I didn’t want to be unarmed if he strolled by today. I have a carry permit.”
Maddy charged the deputy, barking like she’d cornered an armadillo in the yard. In slow motion, flecks of dog spittle flew everywhere—on me, on the deputy. The man behind me shifted his weight onto the balls of his feet. Was he reaching for his gun again?
“Mom!” Larissa shouted.
“No!” I yelled at the deputy, who had drawn his weapon. “Don’t shoot!”