Into The Mist by Lynn Emery
Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series
Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series
LaShaun Rousselle finds herself and her young family at the center of a devious and deadly series of crimes once more. A girl goes missing, bad enough. Yet when LaShaun follows the threads, she discovers the six year old is only one of many. What’s the connection to a string of attempts to get at LaShaun’s own child, Joëlle? She must help sort through the facts and evidence to convince level-headed law officers that supernatural forces are at work. Her life and the lives of those she cherish depend on LaShaun making a way out of no way.
LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series - A Darker Shade of Midnight is the first book in the LaShaun Rousselle paranormal mystery series. The second book is Between Dusk and Dawn. The third book is Only By Moonlight. Into The Mist is the fourth title in the LaShaun Rousselle mystery series.
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Book 4: LaShaun Rousselle Mystery Series
Topics: Faith, Supernatural forces, Family loyalty, Redemption, Creole and Cajun Culture
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A Darker Shade of Midnight - Book Review
In A Darker Shade of Midnight by Lynn Emery, LaShaun Rousselle is returning home to Vermillion Parish, Louisiana because her grandmother is dying. Shortly after crossing the county line, LaShaun finds herself sitting in the sheriff's station wondering what bogus charges warranted her being detained. Yes, she has a scandalous past that caused her to leave home ten years ago, but that is the past. When the sheriff department finds nothing but a broken taillight, feisty LaShaun cannot help shaking up the sheriff and the department by issuing them a challenge, knowing some fear her voodoo powers. With that settled, LaShaun is looking forward to making peace with her grandmother, Monmon Odette, and catching up with family. Unfortunately, life will be anything but peaceful for LaShaun - greedy relatives, a sadistic ex-lover, an attraction to a deputy, an evil force and murder all come into her life. Fearing that mayhem and evil are a curse she cannot overcome, LaShaun starts to despair that she should not have returned home. Will LaShaun be able to trust her psychic powers, and accept help from unexpected sources, or will the demon win this round for her soul?
A Darker Shade of Midnight is a tale of revenge, deceit, betrayal and political corruption. This combination makes for a juicy murder and the plot serves up several victims. Drama of the family fighting among themselves adds another layer of tension and intrigue to a plot with all kinds of twists. Emery is known for her love of Louisiana, a setting she vividly brings to life in this story. I enjoyed how the paranormal elements were skillfully woven into the storyline with grace and ease, being a natural part of the locale.
LaShaun is an alpha female who fights back at the least challenge, but over the course of the story she learns to accept who she is and how to accept genuine help. It is a nice touch to see her interact with the sexy deputy, Chase Broussard, as the attraction between them allows the reader a respite from all of the mayhem in the story. While fans of the author will love visiting with old friends and new readers will be entertained by the characters, they might be slightly confused by references to previously mentioned events.
I recommend this book to readers who enjoy paranormal mysteries and fans of Lynn Emery. A good read for a summer night, as the forces of good and evil battle with each other.
This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes. Reviewed by Beverly, APOOO Literary Book Review
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Excerpt from Book 4: Into The Mist by Lynn Emery
“To recap your story, you went out to party when you didn’t even know where your six- year-old kid was, left your three youngest here alone, got back drunk after one in the morning, woke up, saw the writing and decided something was wrong.” Det. Anderson pressed his lips together.
Sherry flinched. “I didn’t leave until almost ten, so really it wasn’t all that long.”
“Uh-huh.” Anderson put on his sunglasses and looked away from her.
Sherry faced LaShaun. “They say you’ll know. Tell me what this says. Where’s my girl?”
“I don’t recognize these letters, Sherry,” LaShaun replied. She read regret in the woman’s eyes.
“We’ll have to do some more research,” Chase added. “Det. Anderson, take a set of pictures for the department. Work with Deputy Wilcox to scrape samples of the ink off. We’ll send it to the state police lab for analysis.”
Det. Anderson hissed low. “Right. We’ll track down who decided to be an artist in the middle of the night.”
“It wasn’t me. Tante Alice and grandmamma says it’s evil. If that’s true, then they got my Dina and no tellin’ what they done to her by now.” Sherry’s voice rose to a hysterical whine. “It don’t take long to hurt a little girl.”
At Chase’s signal, the female deputy stepped forward and took her by the arm. Their voices faded as Sherry allowed the deputy to lead her away. “C’mon, ma’am. I’ll take you over to your mama’s house like you said. Let’s pack a few things.”
LaShaun turned to Chase. “Where are the other children?”
“The middle child’s father picked him up. The other two are with Sherry’s mama. DCFS hasn’t made a decision on removing the three youngest yet.”
The Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services, notoriously understaffed and underfunded, might well be leaving the children with relatives. At least Sherry wouldn’t be left alone with them in the short-term. Chase pulled LaShaun aside so that they were across from the action in the dining area. Anderson continued taking pictures yards away. A second deputy helped him. Both carried evidence bags and collection tools.
“Your phone keeps buzzing like a trapped wasp. What’s up?” Chase said low. He watched her read text messages from Miss Rose, Justine and Pauline for several moments.
“They don’t know either, but they’re working on finding out.”
“But you said the writing is in letters.” Chase frowned at the walls.
LaShaun scrolled to the photos of the writing on her phone. She gazed at them as she talked, “Yes, an alphabet. They’re arranged to be sentences I think, not pictures telling a story. But I’m sure no authority on arcane languages. I’ve only studied a few like the Enochian Language, the Rune of Othalan, and a few others.”
“Naturally it couldn’t be something simple. No, we got the Rune of Whatsit.” Chase let go of a long sigh.
“The Rune of Whatsit?” LaShaun grinned at him.
“Do me a favor. Keep that language of the ancients talk between us for now. You know what kind of ink that is because you sniffed it.” Chase nodded toward the writing on the nearest wall.
“Yes…” LaShaun pursed her lips together. Then she cleared her throat.
“That was your cue to give me an answer, LaShaun.” Chase nudged her. When Det. Anderson glanced their way, he waved and put on a neutral expression.
“I don’t think you’re going to like the answer, babe.” LaShaun smiled at the other officers. She turned her back to them as if studying another part of the room.
“Let me think. We got a missing child, demonic scribbles on the wall, a drugged out mother, and a Cajun mafia family. Honey, I already don’t like a damn thing about this case.”
“I never said the writing was demonic or satanic, but from the smell, I’d say the writing was done with Bat’s Blood Ink.”
“Are you freakin’ kidding me?” Chase blurted out. When Anderson jerked around to stare at him. “Nothing, it’s nothing. Just keep collecting evidence.”
( Continued... )
© 2016 All rights reserved. Book 4 in the LaShaun Rousselle paranormal mystery series. Book excerpt reprinted by permission of the author, Lynn Emery. Do not reproduce, copy or use without the author's written permission. This excerpt is used for promotional purposes only.
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Meet the Author
Mix knowledge of voodoo, Louisiana politics and forensic social work, and you get a snapshot of author Lynn Emery. Lynn’s recent titles include murder mysteries set in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana featuring a Creole psychic and a Cajun deputy. The titles in this series are: A Darker Shade of Midnight (#1), Between Dusk and Dawn (#2), and Only By Moonlight (#3). Into The Mist (#4) continues the harrowing case files of LaShaun Rousselle and Deputy Chase Broussard. Into the Mist will be released in fall 2016.
BPM: When did you get your first inkling to write, and how did you advance the call for writing?
I read The Murder of Roger Ackroyd when I was ten years old. I already loved reading, but that book with its twist at the end did it. I closed the book and decided I wanted to write mysteries. I didn’t even know who Agatha Christie was, or that she was a white Englishwoman who was already dead by then. I didn’t think about being a poor little black girl living in the south who couldn’t even get to a library. I didn’t consult anybody, which meant no one told me my aspiration was outlandish and impossible. I simply said, “I’m going to write a murder mystery. Life happened. High school, college and my entrance to the adult world of working nine to five. Yet twenty years later I went back to my dream and started writing again.
BPM: How did you initially break into the publishing industry? Did you ever self-publish?
I attended a writer’s conference within driving distance of my hometown. I took a fellow author’s advice to attend writing events where editors and agents would be presenters and taking appointments. The advice I didn’t take was to schedule an appointment with them, a mistake that almost cost me dearly. You see Monica Harris, the founding editor of Arabesque, was there. But I lacked confidence because I hadn’t finished my first book. I was told more than once not to expect to sell that first book. I also was told editors don’t consider, much less buy, unfinished books, certainly not from first time authors.
Another published author who belonged to my RWA chapter was horrified when I told her I hadn’t scheduled to meet with Monica. I was literally the only writer of color at this conference, and Monica was hungry for submissions. A young editor, Monica had been only recently hired by Kensington Publishers and her big assignment was to launch the first, and at that time only, line of African-American romances. My work-in-progress was romantic suspense.
This published author pushed me, not so gently, into approaching Monica during a break between her presentations. I went to my hotel room and quickly practiced a three to five minute pitch. I sweated during her workshop, and then screwed up the guts to follow Monica and introduce myself. In the hotel lobby I breathlessly pitched my book in the five minutes she graciously allowed me. About five or six weeks later, Monica called to offer me a contract. I sold my first book, and even though Monica knew it was unfinished. Night Magic was released in 1995.
BPM: What’s the most important quality a writer should have in your opinion?
I would have to say courage, with a capital “C”. If I hadn’t pushed up my own courage, I wouldn’t have met Monica at all at that small conference. So writers should have courage, which will lead you to another capital “C” word, confidence. Courage will give you the confidence you may lack in your developing skill as a story teller and promoter of your own work. Courage will help writers overcome the tendency to stay in their isolated, insulated little worlds. When you step out of your comfort zone, you’re willing to network with and talk to other writers and publishing professionals.
BPM: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Introduce us to your book and the characters.
Into The Mist is the fourth title in the LaShaun Rousselle mystery series set in Vermilion Parish, Louisiana. LaShaun teams up with Cajun Vermilion Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Chase Broussard to solve grisly killings in this lovely bayou setting. Using her psychic abilities and Chase’s crime fighting skills, they fight human and supernatural killers.
LaShaun Rousselle led a bad girl life in her teens and twenties, using the spells Monmon Odette, her beloved grandmother, taught her for all the wrong reasons. The results led to such a horrible string of events, that she left Beau Chene, Louisiana. LaShaun moved to Los Angeles with the thought that she would never return to Louisiana, much less Beau Chene. The series opens with her arriving back because of Monmon Odette, and over the course of the first three books she builds a life that she didn’t expect to have at all, including or especially in Beau Chene.
Into The Mist opens with LaShaun being drawn into yet another of Chase’s cases, a kidnapping. As the story unfolds, the evil that that seems to have put a child’s life in danger creeps ever closer to those LaShaun loves the most. Everything LaShaun holds most dear is on the line, and she has to find answers to protect her family and the world.
BPM: Are any scenes from the book borrowed from your world or your experiences?
As a clinical social worker, I’ve been involved in child welfare cases, attended school conferences to advocate for children, and conducted abuse investigations. I also worked as a juvenile court consultant and in a psychiatric hospital. Although I do research even with my experience, a lot of the issues about children in the child welfare and special education systems come from what I’ve seen up close. The children in Into The Mist face these same challenges for a unique reason, and flaws in both systems only add to their vulnerability, as LaShaun and Chase discover.
BPM: What genre is this book? Do you write all of your books in this category? Why?
Into The Mist is a mystery with paranormal elements. I write mysteries now, though my first seven books are romantic suspense. What’s interesting is I never intended to write romance. The first writing group I found, or rather a member found me because we worked in the same building, was a local chapter of RWA (Romance Writers of America). I even told her that I wasn’t writing romance, but she said that didn’t matter. So I joined. A published author who belonged to that RWA chapter advised me to try writing romance because editors were in the market for them in a big way (this was the mid-1990s). Breaking into the mystery genre was tough, but for writers of color it was pretty much impossible back then. I felt very discouraged until she told me about romantic suspense, the subgenre I hadn’t even heard of at the time. Once I found out I could kill people, the words started flowing on my first book.
BPM: Are there any areas of your writing career that you wish you could go back and change?
I’ve learned and been blessed to see the lesson in everything that has happened in my journey, so I can’t honestly say I’d change much. Even the bad helped make me either a better writer or better professional writer in terms of the business side of publishing. In 2000, I was blessed to have BET produce a made for television movie based on my novel After All. Holly Robinson Peete starred as Michelle Toussaint, a character I created. Seeing her on the screen saying that name gave me chills. Still I couldn’t really celebrate because BET used the old publishing contract I’d signed, and they were known at the time, to pay well below the industry standard for the movie rights. That was one bitter pill to swallow. Even worse, I couldn’t stop them from making the movie. Thankfully the script, performance and production came out fine. The only thing I would change, if I could, was for myself and the other Arabesque authors to have more leverage, support or legal alternatives back then. Still, I had fun throwing a premier party at my house. I got to ride in a limo to BET studios twice for interviews. And it’s kind of fun to say, “My second novel was made into a movie.”
BPM: How may our readers follow you online?
Readers are welcome to visit my website at www.lynnemery.com. I’d love for them to sign up for my monthly newsletter while they’re there. The newsletter includes exclusive free books and other goodies available only to subscribers, in addition to fun articles. Let’s socialize!
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Lynn Emery website: http://www.lynnemery.com