I am so pleased that Lost in the Bayou has been getting such favorable reviews on Amazon and elsewhere. The video above is a book trailer that's currently on YouTube. In addition, I thought I would post a bit of the first chapter today (a slightly condensed version) to see if I could entice some of you into wanting more. (I'd like more please, sir.)
In the opening scene, we join Robin and her younger brother, Andy, as they wait on the veranda of their Louisiana mansion. Their parents have disappeared in the bayou a week earlier, and their only living relative, their Uncle Conrad, has been named their guardian. Robin hasn't seen him since she was a baby and has no memory of him whatsoever. Andy has never seen him. He's about to arrive at the Sherwood Estate.
* * * *
In Louisiana, summer wraps around you like molasses. Thick and sticky. July is hot and humid. Always. August is worse. And the summer of 1963 has been a record breaker so far.
This morning, the sky is cloudless. It’s muggy, and there’s no hint of a breeze to blow away the pestering flies or the lingering stench of whatever crawled under the porch and died a few days ago. The rhythmic buzz of locusts fills the air, but it stops suddenly as a deep rumble comes up the road. My heart races as the sound rolls across the terrace and toward the covered veranda where we’re waiting.
There’s an uncertain look in Andy’s eyes when he glances up at me, and his voice is thin as water when he speaks. “He’s coming.”
“It’s going to be all right.” I squeeze my younger brother’s narrow shoulders and give him a reassuring smile while trying to hide my own fear of what’s heading toward us. Since our house is quite a distance from the wrought-iron entrance gates of our estate, we have a minute or so before the car gets here.
Andy stares down the long driveway toward the entrance, waiting and watching. The sound is getting louder. And closer. The locusts have gotten used to it and started buzzing again, their cadence in time with the seconds ticking by. Andy and I stand side by side at the porch railing, waiting to face whatever the future has in store for us.
A white sports car comes into view with a cloud of gravel dust following closely behind it. The morning sun reflects off the polished chrome in a brilliant silver flash. The car continues up the long driveway until it reaches the circle. It makes a slow turn around the big fountain in the center before coming to a stop.
We wait for the driver to emerge, but nothing happens for what seems like a very long time. Finally, the car door opens slowly, and a tall man wearing sunglasses and a serous expression steps out. As we watch, he turns his back on us and removes a couple of bags from inside the car. He’s heading toward the veranda now and getting closer with each step. I force a smile as he walks toward us.
He’s almost to the porch now. As he gets nearer, my smile starts to fade when something confuses me. The sun is reflecting from a strange object at the end of Uncle Conrad’s arm. It looks like metal. Large. Silver. Shiny, like the chrome on his car. What is that thing? As he gets closer, a flurry of horror rushes through me as I realize what it is.
It’s a claw.