Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: September 2008
Publisher: Leisure Books (Dorchester Publishing)
Pages: 290 (Mass Market Paperback)
Author Site: http://www.deborahleblanc.com/
My Rating: 3.25/5
Synopsis [from author site]:
Dunny knew from an early age what it meant to be an outsider. Her special abilities earned her many names, like freak and water witch. So she vowed to keep her powers a secret.
Now, though, her talents may be the only hope for two missing children. A young boy and girl have vanished, feared lost in the mysterious bayous of Louisiana. But they didn’t just disappear; they were taken. By something far more dangerous than the ghosts and spirits living in the swamp. Something with very special plans for the children—and for anyone who dares to interfere . . .
Dunny Pollock is a pretty normal gal. She's stresses about paying her bills and dealing with her deadlines at work as a freelance writer. She has a stray dog that keeps scratching at her door and she doesn't have the heart to shoo it away. So instead, she feeds the scraggly thing and even gives the little moocher a name. But there is something different about Dunny. Because of an extra finger on her left hand, she has been given many names in her younger years - like freak and water witch. How can an extra finger cause so much grief?
Well, Dunny's little finger has given her strange abilities. If she concentrates hard enough the extra appendage allows her to find things. It's helped her find water, oil, keys and even her sister's cat. Most of the time her finger gets warm and points Dunny in the right direction. Except when it came to her sister's cat the finger turned ice cold because it turned out the cat was dead.
So ever since that episode Dunny has tried to keep her secret to herself. But she'll have to use her ability when her sister calls on her for help. Angelle is a school teacher in a small Lousiana town. She's worried about two of her children that have dissapeared into the swamp. Dunny may be the only one that can help. But no one knows what's really going on deep in the swamp. A shaman-like ritual gone wrong produces an evil supernatural presence that permeates the town.
The premise itself is alright, but I really enjoyed LeBlanc's characters. Dunny has a very laid back personality. Despite her problems, I feel like she knows how to handle things. After arriving in Louisana, she meets Angelle's mother-in-law, Poochie. Now this lady sure is a character. At first I found her quite annoying, a batty old woman that was a little off her hinges. But her Cajun accent and quirky outbursts really grew on me. Her character development was particularly well-done because towards the end the reader can see a glimpse of who Poochie is despite her old age.
This is my first LeBlanc novel and I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed her simple story telling and the way she wove horror elements with paranomral thrills. I'll definitely be picking up some of her other books.