BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS FOR CONFOUND IT

1. What if a young mother found a lucrative way to provide a future for her son, but then couldn’t get out? Soon she becomes a homicide statistic. We automatically look at what she did-making drugs-and label her a bad person. Now that you know character Mandy Patterson’s backstory, do you feel empathy for her? Do you think others care if a meth cook dies?

2. A man she met on vacation, Deputy Sam Mayes, visits my sleuth Baxley Powell and her family. Like her, the man has extrasensory abilities, and she wants to learn from his experiences. He, on the other hand, is abiding by her lets-be-friends decree, but he’s made it clear he’s interested in a romantic relationship. As a woman, would you pursue the friendship?

3. For the longest time, Baxley has lived in relationship limbo. Her elite soldier of a husband went missing on a military mission. After a year went by, the Army declared him dead. As someone who can traverse the Veil of Life, Baxley knows he isn’t dead, only she can’t find him in the land of the living either. She worries he’s hurt. That’s the only way she knows that he wouldn’t come home to her and their young daughter. People say she should start dating again, but Baxley is married. Her honor and integrity demand that she honor her vows. What would you do in that situation?

4. In-laws and Outlaws is a phrase I’ve often heard applied to some extended families. In Confound It, discord rules amongst the victim’s family members. There’s love, but there’s also envy, greed, jealousy, and lust. Does your family always get along? What’s the usual bone of contention? Examples: curfew, bedtime, heirloom, elder care, employment, authority, money, respect…

5. We expect those who care for us to comfort us when troubles occur. But Confound It’s Mandy Patterson is trapped in a desperate situation, and she’s afraid of her boyfriend. What advice would you give someone like Mandy?

6. In Confound It, Mandy’s sister makes no bones that she wants what her sister has, only June is mostly talk and no action. Plus, she believes the world owes her. She gets mad when Mandy won’t continue to give her money. Do you believe in Tough Love? Why or why not?

7. My sleuth Baxley Powell is a Dreamwalker. She taps into her extrasensory abilities to learn more about a person, place, or thing in this world or the next. In reality, psychics often have one strong extrasensory skill. In the Dreamwalker Series, I take liberties so that Baxley explores a new paranormal aspect in each book. Confound It is book five in this series. Usually in other books, she must hold an item of the victim to make contact with his or her spirit. In this book, Baxley has several spontaneous visions causing her no end of confusion. What characteristic of Baxley’s do you most admire and why? (Her traits include loyalty, adaptability, courage, patience, composure, self-sufficiency, perceptiveness, honesty, fairness, or her curiosity).

8. Deputy Sam Mayes is a Cherokee. He carefully treads his way in both his native world and the white man’s world. Baxley doesn’t understand the issues he faces, doesn’t know how hard he is to appear to be solidly in both worlds, or that it costs his tribes when he is less than fully theirs. Assimilation used to be the American Way. Our society is a melting pot of immigrant groups. Why does assimilation hurt Native American tribes? Don’t people have to live and make a living in the twenty-first century?

9. Baxley’s household has a menagerie of animals: a Shih-Pooh named Muffin, a chihuahua named Elvis, black lab named Maddy, a Maine Coon cat named Sulay, and a tabby named Ziggy. Her ghost dog, Oliver the Great Dane, puts in appearances now and then. Occasionally, one of her pet-sitting clients leaves their animals with her, so she has even more animals at home. With such a variety of dogs and cats, which animal is the boss and why?

10. In a series mystery like this one, as the series goes along, the amateur sleuth gains more of a familiarity with the criminal world, though she still says firmly grounded in her community. Although Baxley has gained experience as a dreamwalker, one of her abilities, being able to perceive lies, happens automatically. This can be a bonus for her police work, but this (and her other skills) makes people leery of her. If you had a special skill that made people nervous, would you use it or hide it?

Confound It


Series: Dreamwalker Mystery Book 5
Publisher: Camel Press
Release Date: June 1, 2018
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Available Formats: eBook and Print
While hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene.

A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother.

As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate.

Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same.

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© Copyright 2018 – Maggie Toussaint
Wayne turned from the fire chief. “Virg and Ronnie, you guys go next door and find out who lived here.”

“Hold up,” Ronnie said. “I already know. The Pig Woman.”

Wayne shook his head. “What?”

“The Pig Woman. Jerk next door must’ve filed half a dozen complaints about her blasted pigs.”

“The woman with the pot bellied pigs?”

“That’s the one.”

“What’s her name?”

“Mandy Patterson.”

Wayne studied the ground a moment. “It’s coming back to me now. Mandy’s pigs turned up their noses at their pig-chow dinners, escaped under the fence, and got into the dog-food bag on the neighbor’s back porch. The guy nearly had an aneurism telling you about it, right?”

“Yep. Good ole Ricky Dixon. He’s wound tight, that’s for sure. If his wife wasn’t bedridden, he’d be a permanent bachelor because no woman would put up with his sh—, uh, stuff.”

“Head over there anyway. I want a statement from him about what he may have heard or seen. I want to know where those pigs are. Take Powell with you so I know if he’s lying.”

He was sending me away from the scene? I didn’t want him to think I couldn’t do my job. I pushed away from Mayes’ protective arm. “I can do it,” I said. “I needed a moment to prepare for seeing the body.”

Wayne snorted. “Sometimes I forget you’re a chick, Powell, but I can read you like a fast-food menu. This is the best use of your time. Dixon is important. He’s either a witness or a suspect, and I need your take on what he says.”

His words didn’t ring quite true. My spine stiffened. “I said I can do it.”

“Sure you can, but Mayes is a cop. He’s seen burn victims before. He’ll assist me because he wants in on the case. With the fire department’s approval, I’ll collect one or two personal items belonging to the victim, and you can go inside the place once we remove the corpse. Right now, I need you next door with my guys.”

Crap. I was being sent away on the “B” team. Simultaneously, Mayes had been promoted from spectator to “A” team. Good ole boy networks never died.

Though my pride smarted, I couldn’t deny I was glad to be granted a respite on the viewing. Wayne was doing me a favor, so I should hush and be gracious about it.

“Virg, let’s get that statement stat,” the sheriff said.

“Roger that, boss man.” Virg cocked his head at me. “You ready?”

I nodded and gathered my thoughts. I might not like being sent away, but I would do my assignment. As a police consultant, I needed to let my abilities be tasked however the sheriff deemed fit. Didn’t matter about the temporary demotion, I’d do my job. I would get justice for this victim.

“If this guy doesn’t cooperate, I’ll light him up with my Taser,” Virg announced as we trudged down the dirt road to the neighbor’s home.

Ronnie laughed, an affable giggle with a sinister twist. “Go git ’em, Virg.”

Having been on the wrong end of Virg’s Taser before, I didn’t wish that experience on anyone. “You will not. The object is to gather information, not have this man sue the sheriff’s office. If he won’t talk to you, I want a crack at him.”

“No way he’s gonna talk to you. I’m telling you. This man’s crazier than a sprayed roach.”

Bubba Done It

BubbaDoneItFront


Series: Dreamwalker Series, Book 2
Publisher: Five Star / Cengage
Release Date: May 20 & June 10, 2015
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Available Formats: eBook and Print
Hardcover: 978-1432830670

Which Bubba killed the banker?

Amateur sleuth and dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called in on a stabbing case. She arrives in time to hear the dying man whisper, “Bubba done it.”

Four men named Bubba in Sinclair County, Ga., have close ties to the victim, including her goofball brother-in-law, Bubba Powell.

She dreamwalks for answers, but the dead guy can’t talk to her. Baxley sleuths among the living. The suspects include a down-on-his-luck fisherman, a crackhead evangelist, a politically-connected investor, and her brother-in-law, the former sweetheart of the new widow.

The more Baxley digs, the more the Bubbas start to unravel. Worse, her brother-in-law’s definitely more than friendly with the new widow.

Between petsitting, landscaping, and dreamwalking, Baxley’s got her hands full solving this case.

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© Copyright 2012 – Maggie Toussaint

Gradually my surroundings took on corporeal form. The solid seat beneath me. The mechanical whir of the Jeep’s engine. The zebra-striped slices of sunlight across the lawn of Sparrow’s Point.

Sparrow’s Point.

I was at Morgan Gilroy’s house. The banker had called for help, said he’d been stabbed. Urgency filled me, burning like acid indigestion, and propelled me out of the Jeep.

I had to see Morgan.

It couldn’t wait another minute.

I gained the porch, then the front door, which the sheriff had left open. My eyes strained to see in the dark corridor. The hallway spun. I gasped in a breath, and gravity reasserted itself.

So did reason.

Was the intruder still here?

I needed to find the sheriff fast.

I squinted into the gloomy corridor and took stock. Plastered walls. Wide planked wooden floors. An antique marble-topped buffet with a seashell display was to my left. A large conch shell caught my eye. I palmed it, liking the pointy edges and the smooth texture. If I stumbled upon a bad guy, I could whomp him with the seashell.

Every fine hair on my body stood on end. Energy arced from one raw ending to the next, urging me to fight or run far away. Dread mounted with each step.

I heard the sheriff’s voice down the hall. He murmured something in a reassuring tone. I followed the sound, my eyes darting from the blue and gold carpet runner to the shadowed rooms I passed. My fingers tightened around the shell.

Almost there.

I gained the doorway to what appeared to be a library. My gaze swept the paneled bookshelves lining two plaster walls, the carved desk and empty chair across the room, and the dark stain on the Oriental carpet. Morgan lay face up in the center of the stain. A gasp slipped from my lips.

“I told you to stay outside.” Wayne kneeled beside the banker. “I haven’t cleared the house.”

I lifted my eyes to the sheriff’s familiar rough-hewn features. Below his receding hairline were a handsome face and a trim, athletic body. If I kept looking at Wayne, I wouldn’t see the knife planted in Morgan’s chest or the bloody shirt. I edged toward a bookshelf, putting distance between me and the threshold. “I had to come.”

“This is a crime scene. You can’t be in here.” His dark gaze narrowed. “What’s that in your hand?”

“A conch shell.”

He swore. “Put it down. Don’t touch anything.”

I clung to the shell and nodded toward the banker. “Is he dead?”

“Not quite.”

No wonder I couldn’t find him in the spirit world. He was still here.

The banker wasn’t a close friend, but he had a teenaged daughter. She’d be devastated at losing him, just as my daughter had been when her father was officially declared dead.

What else did I know about Morgan? Twenty years ago he’d swooped into town, flashing cash and buying property. Last year he’d sniffed after my fixer-upper. I needed money something fierce, but I wouldn’t part with my inheritance for pennies on the dollar. I’d told him where to shove his lowball offer.

Stop that, I told myself.

Be respectful.

You’re in Morgan’s home.

He’s dying.

Morgan made a gurgling noise in his throat, rasping in a breath. This was the moment of death I hated most, the liminal moment when spirits slipped through the veil. I steeled myself for Morgan’s passing, not wanting to watch, yet unable to tear my gaze away.

The breath wheezed out of him. Impossibly, his dulled eyes sought mine. I edged closer, my hand fisting over the pointy edges of the seashell. Slashes in his white shirt oozed thick crimson.

Blood.

I shuddered and breathed around the metallic smell.

Another inhalation from the dying man. Morgan’s chin wobbled. A raspy whisper slipped out on his final exhale. “Bubba done it.”

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