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Crime Novels

Faye Longchamp Mysteries

Wrecked

Book 13 coming October 2020

The suspicious drowning death of Captain Edward Eubank breaks archaeologist Faye Longchamp’s heart. It also confuses her, because he was found in scuba gear and she’s never heard him even mention scuba diving. During their last conversation, he told her that he believed he’d found a storied shipwreck, but when Faye checks it out, she finds nothing there—not a plank, not a single gold coin, nothing. If there’s no treasure, then why is her friend dead?

Surrounded by a community struggling in the aftermath of a major hurricane that has changed the very landscape, Faye grapples not only with the loss of her friend but with a rebellious daughter who seems to be a magnet for dangerous men.

As a professional with her own consulting firm, Faye had long ago given up her reckless “anything goes” attitude when the law stood between her and an interesting dig. Now there’s nothing she won’t do to save her daughter and get justice for the man she fears was murdered.

Catacombs

Book 12

A deafening explosion rocks a historic Oklahoma City hotel, sending archaeologist Faye Longchamp-Mantooth crashing to the marble floor of the lobby. She’s unhurt but shaken―after all, any time something blows up in Oklahoma City, the first word on everyone’s lips is the same: bomb.

Faye is in town for a conference celebrating indigenous arts, but is soon distracted by the aftermath of the explosion, which cracks open the old hotel’s floor to reveal subterranean chambers that had housed Chinese immigrants a century before. Faye is fascinated by the tunnels, which are a time capsule back to the early 20th century―but when the bodies of three children are discovered deep beneath the city, her sense of discovery turns to one of dread…

Oklahoma Book Awards Winner

Undercurrents

Book 11

Faye has traveled to Memphis, a city steeped in music, poverty, history, and the smoky tang of barbecue. She’s there working alone to do an assessment of a site, welcome work for her small archaeological consulting firm.

When Faye spies a child too young to be wandering along a creek alone, she follows the girl, Kali. A day later she uncovers a dying woman, buried alive near a spot where the girl might well be hiding. Nobody would blame Faye for running hard, but she can’t make herself leave Kali, the woman’s now orphaned daughter, who might be in danger. She’s not welcomed by the people in Kali’s struggling community, nor by the police working the crime. Yet she stays, for Kali, and for the bereaved who need her to communicate their fears to a police department that they trust even less than they trust Faye.

When they confide rumors of other women beaten to death by a man so obsessed with burial that he places fresh flowers in their cold hands, Faye begs the police to widen the investigation to seek a serial killer. They refuse. Faye’s gut is telling her that a monster is stalking Memphis, endangering the child she has come to love. If the police can’t catch him, then she will have no choice but to try to find him herself.

Burials

Book 10

A woman waits for Faye Longchamp under five feet of dirt. After all this time, she is now nothing but bones stained the deep red of Oklahoma clay. A delicate silver necklace, a handful of ancient pearls, and a priceless figurine rest with her. Twenty-nine years is a long time to wait for a proper burial.

Dr. Sophia Townsend had possessed a sexual magnetism as forceful as an Oklahoma tornado, and she had never hesitated to use it to manipulate everyone around her, people whose hearts she broke and whose marriages she destroyed. Was she killed by one of her lovers, or by one of their wives? Or by the woman who became enthralled with her? Or maybe Sly Mantooth, Faye’s father-in-law? Or was something else elemental—greed, buried treasure, fame—at work?

Faye’s obsession with this case tests her professional ethics and it tests her marriage. Such was the power of Sophia Townsend that, twenty-nine years after her murder, she wreaks havoc (along with the weather) once again.

One of the Top 12 Mystery Novels of 2017 – The Strand
Oklahoma Book Awards Finalist
Will Rogers Medallion Award Bronze Medalist
Willa Award Finalist

Isolation

Book 9

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, while her husband Joe tries to make peace with the father who hasn’t gotten around to telling him how long he’s been out of prison or how he got there.

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.

Rituals

Book 8

Faye Longchamp doesn’t believe in ghosts, but she’s an archaeologist—dead people are her life. 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. So when influential Spiritualist Tilda Armistead invites Faye and her daughter to commune with the dead, she can’t say no. An hour after Tilda’s crystal ball shows Faye things no rational mind can explain, Tilda is dead. The evidence says 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?

Anywhere else, these people would be dismissed as crazy. But in Rosebower, “normal” is relative. As Faye watches psychics and charlatans jockey for power, Tilda’s sister, Myrna, is slowly dying. Will Rosebower reveal its secrets before more goes up in flames?

Plunder

Book 7

Faye Longchamp and her Native American husband Joe Wolf Mantooth are working near the mouth of the Mississippi, researching archaeological sites soon to be flooded by oil. The Deepwater Horizon disaster has morphed her run-of-the-mill contract job into a task that might swamp her fledgling consulting business.

Then her injured babysitter leaves Faye to work with a toddler underfoot. Thankfully, Amande, a bright and curious teen lives nearby with her eccentric grandmother. But when the girl’s grandmother and her no-account uncle are murdered, Amande’s prospects worsen. The girl has but two known relatives, both battling over her small 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. A murderer is on the loose, and as the oil slick looms, Faye can see that Louisiana is still being plundered….

Florida Book Awards Bronze Medals in Popular and General Fiction

Strangers

Book 6

Faye Longchamp and her 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 a 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 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 a 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 could be an unfolding tale by the Brothers Grimm, Faye and Joe uncover some terrible secrets….

Floodgates

Book 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 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.

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 eye of a hurricane. Is Shelly’s heroic rescue work in the aftermath of Katrina the reason for her death? Or does the sheaf of photos in her work files hold the answer? Will Faye and Joe be the next victims engulfed in this deadly deception?

Winner—Mississippi Author Award

Findings

Book 4

Faye Longchamp is once again at Joyeuse, the family plantation in Florida she labors so lovingly to restore. She’s happily doing archaeological work on a site once owned by her family. But her joy abruptly ends when thieves break into the home of her friend and mentor Douglass Everett and kill him, inexplicably ignoring his impressive display of artifacts and valuable art work. All that’s missing are Faye’s field notes.

Among the items the thieves left behind is the magnificent emerald that Faye had just unearthed and brought to Douglass that fateful evening. Why? Then another murder quickly furnishes a clue that only Faye is likely to interpret. It launches her on a treasure hunt connected to Marie Antoinette and to the history of the Confederacy.

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.

IndieNext Notable Book

Effigies

Book 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.

Later 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?

Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal
BookSense Notable Book

Relics

Book 2

Faye Longchamp, back in school to pursue her dream of becoming an archaeologist, 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. The Sujosa have lived in Alabama’s most remote hills for centuries and have shown impressive immunity to many diseases…including AIDS.

Late one night, Faye awakes to find the house in flames. 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 jumps from a cell phone tower that, when completed, would connect the outside world to the Sujosa community. Are these events somehow related?

SIBA Book Award Finalist

Artifacts

Book 1

Faye Longchamp has lost nearly everything except her determination to hang onto 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 or how her descendants hung onto it through Reconstruction, world wars, the Depression, and Jim Crow. But Faye has inherited 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 selling them on the black market.

But instead of pot shards and arrowheads, she uncovers a woman’s shattered skull. If Faye reports the 40-year-old murder, she’ll reveal her illegal livelihood, risk jail…and Joyeuse. So she probes into the dead woman’s history, unaware that the past is rushing toward her like a hurricane across deceptively calm Gulf waters….

Winner—Benjamin Franklin Award and Patrick D. Smith Florida Literature Award
Listed by VOYA an “Adult Mystery with Young Adult Appeal”