The Charlie Henson Series Tour and Giveaway! ***with Excerpts***
My Neighbor's Keeper
Charlie Henson Book 1
by Louy Castonguay
Genre: Cozy Mystery
"My Neighbor’s Keeper," the first in a series, is centered on retired paramedic Mrs. Charlotte Henson, aka Charlie or Mrs. H. She’s sixty years old and a widow. Her husband, a former police officer, was run down by a drunk driver three years before. Charlie befriends shy six-year-old Bert, from next door. One evening, Bert comes to her door, dirty, tattered and crying. His mother won’t wake up and his two younger sisters, he says, are hungry. Charlie runs to the rescue, and ends up embroiled in a murder. Bert’s mother is crumpled at the foot of the cellar stairs. When Charlie realizes she’s under surveillance, she sneaks out the back door and down to the river, where her canoe is kept. She gets out on the river, at night, in a rainstorm, goes upriver and travels to a cabin hidden in the woods in order to buy time to solve the crime. Along her journey, she makes friends, and also gets help from her husband’s niece, Louise.
"Yes. I thought you'd never ask." The small boy's politeness brought a chuckle to my throat. The adult words were followed by little boy ones which wiped the smile from my entire being. "I'm so hungry. That is, my sister is hungry and the baby is crying and won't stop. Mommy won't wake up and I don't know where Daddy is. I don't know how to make food."
My heart wrenched in my chest and I lost all coherent thought. I dashed out the door. Bert ran on ahead of me.
Charlie Henson Book 2
This Maine mystery tale, "Child’s Keeper," is the second book in the Charlie Henson series. Charlotte, aka Charlie, a retired paramedic, embroils herself in international intrigue when she attempts to help a friend. She discovers that Shirley, the great-granddaughter of her friend Susie, has gone missing, along with her two young daughters. She soon learns Shirley has fled to Canada and travels there to find out what is going on. The oldest daughter, Shawna, is soon in the hands of Canadian authorities, caught in a sinister plot to find Shirley. Charlie locates the daughter, steals a snowmobile, and crosses back into Maine. The situation becomes very complicated when she herself is kidnapped by the very criminals interested in finding Shirley. When she finds herself back in Canada, on the snowmobile trail again, she is able to effect an escape for herself and Shawna. Will help arrive in time, or will the bad guys find her first? In this journey, she gets help from unexpected places and from old friend Ronny Curtis.
In the earsplitting silence that followed I heard my bones ache with weariness. The heat from the roaring fire in the tiny cabin smote me afresh, making me long for a cool swim in a summer pond. Maybe in the next instant I'd awake from this nightmare. But the faces around the table just continued gazing fixedly at me.
Roger broke the silence. "Shawna, would you like to go see a bird's nest."
His words echoed through my being. Where had I heard those words? Was I reliving the same thing over and over? Were we stuck in some sort of loop like those video games. You go round and round until you find the magic gate?
I shook my head and joined reality again, the mood gone. "Nellie tried to tell me, I think. Her husband was a tracker and she used a tracking metaphor, but I didn't understand. Now, I think I do."
Ronny encouraged me. "Do tell. What exactly did she say?" This was the familiar Ronny, my dear friend, completing my connection with reality.
I paused a moment to be sure I remembered accurately. "Nellie said that one should start at the beginning of a trail to know what was going on. If you stumble across a trail, you only get a partial idea of the whole picture."
"Nellie died of natural causes, didn't she?" He was reminding me of facts more than asking a question.
I am a double graduate from UMF. My first degree in 1989 was in Community Nutrition, with a minor in chemistry, the better to plot murders. My second degree, in 1994, was for the newly developed BFA in Creative Writing but had to be fluent in a foreign language. I'm Franco American, so aced that.
I have worked at various jobs throughout Central Maine, including shoe shops, egg plants, wool mills, office jobs, finally spending time as a volunteer driver for Community Concepts. Life experiences along the way have given much material for my books.
I am currently hard at work on the series, doing promotional activities and hope to have a web site up soon. I'm also running a blog, Keeper Series, to keep my reader's abreast of my progress. I hope to have the next volume out by April.
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!