Monday, September 28, 2015

Isolation by Mary Anna Evans Showcase/Interview/Reivew/Giveaway Partners in Crime Blog Tours


Mary Anna Evans

on Tour September 2015


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.
In their old plantation home, Joe Wolf Mantooth is surrounded by family—Faye, the wife he loves; their toddler son he adores; and his father, who hasn’t gotten around to telling him how long he’s been out of prison or how he got there—yet Joe has never felt so helpless or alone.
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.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Women Sleuths
Published by: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Number of Pages: 284
Series: A Faye Longchamp Mystery, 9
ISBN: 9781464204029
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One
Fish know which docks are owned by people who are generous with their table scraps. In the evenings, they gather around wooden posts that vibrate with the footsteps of a human carry- ing food. They wait, knowing that potato peels and pork chop bones will soon rain from the sky. They race to skim the surface for floating bread crumbs. They dive, nibbling at each half-eaten hot dog as it sinks. When a restaurant, even a shabby dive where hungry people clean their plates, throws its detritus off one par- ticular dock every night, fish for miles around know all about it.
On this night, the fish wait below a dock that has always offered a nightly feast. Tonight, they feel the vibrations of familiar feet. The food falls into the water, as always, and the sound of a stainless steel spoon scraping the bottom of a stainless steel pot passes from the air above to the water below. Everything is as it has been, until a sharp noise jabs into the water hard enough for the fish to hear it. The spoon falls.
The spoon is large, designed for a commercial kitchen, so it hits the water with a smack that can be heard both above and below the surface. A scream falls into the fishes’ underworld along with the spoon.
A big pot, with food scraps still clinging to its inner surface, hits the water an instant later. Only creatures with the agility of the waiting fish could scatter quickly enough to avoid being hit.
After another heartbeat, something else falls among them, something bigger and softer. Soon there are two somethings, both with arms and legs and feet and hands, one that gurgles and another that leaves when the gurgling stops.
The thing that stays behind is a human body. As it settles in the water, tiny minnows nestle in the long hair that floats around it like seaweed. Catfish explore its ten long fingers with their tentacled mouths. None of them associate its two bare feet with the sprightly vibrations that had always signaled a rain of food.
Before long, predators appear, drawn by the smell of blood.
Chapter Two
Joe Wolf Mantooth was worried about his wife.
Faye was neglecting their business. She was neglecting her health. He wanted to say she was neglecting her children, but it would kill her to think he believed such a thing, so he spent a lot of time telling that part of himself to be quiet. He also wanted to say she was neglecting him, but it would kill him to believe it, so he spent the rest of his time telling that other part of himself to be quiet. Or to shrivel up and die. Because if he ever lost Faye, that’s what Joe intended to do. Shrivel up and die.
The children seemed oblivious to the changes in their mother.
Michael, at two, saw nothing strange about her leaving the house every morning with her archaeological tools. She had always done that.
Amande was away from home, doing an immersion course in Spanish at a camp situated so high in the Appalachians that she’d asked for heavy sweaters long before Halloween. Faye had been too distracted to put them in the mail. Joe had shopped for them, boxed them up, and sent them off. Faye seemed to have forgotten that her daughter had ever said, “I’m cold.”
Amande was perceptive for seventeen. If she hadn’t noticed that Joe had been doing all the talking for the last month, she would notice soon. Lately, when faced with a call from her daughter, Faye murmured a few distracted words before pretending that Michael needed a diaper change. If Faye didn’t come up with another excuse to get off the phone, Amande might soon call 911 and ask the paramedics to go check out her brother’s chronic diarrhea.
Though Joe did speak to Amande when she called, surely she had noticed by now that he said exactly nothing. What was he going to say?
The closest thing to the truth was “Your mother’s heart fell into a deep hole when she miscarried your baby sister, and I’m starting to worry that we may never see it again,” but Joe was keeping his silence. Faye had forbidden him to tell Amande that there wasn’t going to be a baby sister.
Was this rational? Did Faye think that her daughter was never going to fly home to Florida, bubbling with excitement over her Appalachian adventure and the coming baby?
If she did, it was yet more evidence supporting Joe’s fear that Faye’s mind wasn’t right these days. Every morning brought fresh proof of that not-rightness as she walked away from him…to do what? As best he could tell, she was carefully excavating random sites all over their island. If she’d found anything worth the effort, he sure didn’t know about it.
In the meantime, Joe sat in the house, face-to-face with a serious problem. This problem was almost as tall and broad as Joe. His hair had once been as dark. His skin was the same red- brown, only deeper. This was a problem Joe had been trying to outrun since he was eighteen years old.
His father.
“Try this spot.”
Faye Longchamp-Mantooth believed in intuition. It had always guided her work as an archaeologist. After she’d gathered facts about a site’s history, inspected the contours of the land, and scoured old photographs, she always checked her gut response before excavating. Her gut was often right. It was only recently, however, that her gut had begun speaking out loud and in English. Lately, her gut had been urging her to skip the boring research and go straight for the digging.
“Have you ever excavated here before?” its voice asked. Faye’s answer was no.
“Then try this spot.”
Every day, Joyeuse Island sported more shallow pits that had yielded nothing. Of course, they had yielded nothing. Faye had failed to do her homework. But going to the library or sitting at her computer would require her to be still and think. Thinking was painful these days, so she skipped it.
“Okay,” she said, not pleased to see that she’d begun answering the voice out loud, “I’ll give it a shot. But I don’t think there’s anything here.”
Her hand was remarkably steady for the hand of a woman who’d been hearing voices for a month. She used it to guide her trowel, removing a thin layer of soil.
She would have known this old trowel in the dark. Her fingers had rubbed the finish off its wooden handle in a pattern that could match no hand but hers. Since God hadn’t seen fit to let her grow the pointy metal hand she needed for her work, she’d chosen this one tool to mold into a part of herself.
Faye was working in sandy soil as familiar as the trowel. It was her own. She’d been uncovering the secrets of Joyeuse Island since she was old enough to walk, and she would never come to the end of them. As she grew older, she saw the need to mete out her time wisely, but she rebelled against it. The past would keep most of its secrets, and this made her angry.Faye didn’t know where to dig, because she didn’t know what she was trying to find. It would help if the voice ever offered a less hazy rationale for ordering her out of the house. All it said was “You can find the truth. Don’t let this island keep its secrets from you.”
Her frenetic busyness was an antidote for the times the voice tiptoed into ground that shook beneath her feet. It crept into dangerous territory and then beckoned her to follow. It asked her to believe that she was to blame for the baby’s death, for the mute suffering in Joe’s eyes, for every tear Michael shed.
This was craziness. Two-year-olds cried several times a day. Men who had lost babies suffered. And there was rarely any blame to be handed out in the wake of a miscarriage, even late miscarriages that carry away a child who has been bumping around in her mother’s womb long enough for mother and daughter to get to know one another.
Still, the voice said Faye was to blame, so she believed it. And it told her that it was possible to dig up peace, so she dug.

Mary Anna, I’m so pleased to welcome a favorite author and first time visitor to The Reading Frenzy.
Tell us just a bit about Isolation.
Isolation takes Faye back to her home on Joyeuse Island. She is suffering from a devastating personal tragedy, a late miscarriage that took a much-wanted daughter, and she’s just not sure whether she’ll ever recover from her grief. Joe’s ne’er-do-well father has arrived for a visit to meet the child who’s not coming. Environmental officials are invading Faye’s island at a time when she most needs her privacy, because she has uncovered arsenic in a place where arsenic shouldn’t be. And her dear friend is shot and killed. This book takes Faye to a very dark place and asks her if she has what it takes to get herself out.

I have read and loved Faye since Artifacts, the first in the series and she has changed a lot since her early days.
What do you think is her biggest change since book one?
Faye herself has changed tremendously, but I did that on purpose. I wanted a heroine who would grow and change, someone who is living a life in which time passes. She has gone back to school, gotten a PhD, dated some men who were wrong for her, married the man who was always right for her, started a business, had a child, and adopted a child. And now, she has lost a child. She’s more mature, more thoughtful. She’s always had an exquisite sense of priorities, but she has refined them even more. Faye has always been a grown-up, but now she’s a grown-up with more personal history and an eye on the future.

Keeping on the subject of change.
How have you changed as an author since your first publication?
It’s been twelve years since Artifacts was published and, like Faye, I like to think I’ve been growing. I’ve tried to develop as a writer, and I think I’ve taken Faye through some changes that her fans didn’t see coming. This is true to life, because over the course of twelve years, I’ve been through some changes that I didn’t see coming. Most recently, I decided I wanted some formal education in creative writing, so I went back to graduate school at Rutgers-Camden and earned an MFA. It was a wonderful experience to be in a community of people who loved writing as much as I did, and I think the experience had an impact on my work. My editor, Barbara Peters, told me I’d “kicked it up a notch” with this book. I respect Barbara’s opinion, so this meant a great deal to me.

This is #9 in your Faye Longchamp series.
When you started Artifacts did you
1-Know there would be more than one novel in the series?
Are you kidding???? I didn’t know for sure that I could finish one book. I was just focused on making Artifacts the best book it could be.

2-Think the series would be this long lived?
I’m astonished every time I look at the pile of books with my name on the spine. It really never gets old to see another book come into the world.

Mary Anna you have another novel called Wounded Earth published.
Is this a stand-alone or the start of another series?
Wounded Earth is a standalone and it’s my first novel. It got me an agent, but it was never published. I still believed in it, and my son has always said that he thought it was my best book. (I’m not sure I agree with him, but I’m biased. My books are like my children. I can’t pick a favorite.) I eventually decided to publish it myself, so it’s now available in print and ebook editions. I think the protagonist, Larabeth McLeod, is a great character the way Faye’s a great character—strong and smart, but with flaws and weakness—and I’m so glad to be able to get her story out where people can read it.

Your education is in Engineering and physics.
So how was the novelist born?
I’ve always written, even when I was studying other things and even when I was doing other things for my day job. I wrote Wounded Earth when I was on bedrest during a troubled pregnancy, because I saw that as perhaps the only opportunity a busy mom might ever have to write a novel-length work of fiction. It took many years of developing my craft and submitting to agents and publishers, but that means that I really and truly appreciate everything about being a novelist.

Mary Anna, thanks so much for chatting with me today.
Good luck with Isolation.

 My Review

Evans’ 9th in her long running Faye Longchamps series, Isolation is a page-turning continuation of her unique storyline, set on a remote sub-tropic Florida costal island staring her one-of-a-kind protagonist, Faye, who readers won’t find the likes of anywhere else in fiction; an enigmatic, stunning combination of strength and vulnerability a fascinating mix of cultures and ethnicities. Her co-stars, both returning and temporary, good and evil are an integral part of the tale and all play their parts flawlessly. The whisper soft narrative will pack a punch as it crescendos to an intense nail-biting climax. And her compassionate, realistic managing of Faye’s emotional and mental crisis was wonderful. Mary Anna Evans through Faye has taken me on some educational and emotional journeys and I can’t wait to find out what she digs up next!

Archeologist Faye Longchamp-Mantooth comes from a long line of strong capable women, like her great-great grandmother Cally who although born a slave rose to be mistress of the 19th century Florida plantation house that Faye and her family call home today. She wishes she could draw on that strength to pull her out of the postpartum depression her late term miscarriage put her in, a place not her husband; her children or the work she loves has been able to.
When a series of crimes occur and her great-great grandmother’s character comes under fire, instead of overwhelmed Faye feels the first stirrings of fight. Maybe it’s her deep sense of right and her incurable curiosity that will finally help bring her back.
Joe Wolf Mantooth not only has to deal with the untimely visit from his estranged ex-con father, but he’s worried about his wife, whose usual passion for life seems to have died along with their unborn child. And now there’s a dangerous criminal at lose on their remote island home that brings out the protector and warrior in him.

Author Bio:

authorMary Anna Evans is the author of the award-winning Faye Longchamp archaeological mysteries–Artifacts, Relics, Effigies, Findings, Floodgates, Strangers, and Plunder. She has degrees in physics and chemical engineering. Her background includes stints in environmental consulting and university administration, as well as a summer spent working offshore in the oil fields. Writing lets her spend weeks indulging her passion for history, archeology, and architecture, and months making up stories. Mary Anna is preparing to move to Oklahoma since accepting an Associate Professor position with the University of Oklahoma.

Catch Up:
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Tour Participants:


This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Mary Anna Evans & Poisoned Pen Press. There will be one US winner of 1 Box of Poisoned Pen Press books including Unleashed by Eileen Brady. The giveaway begins on September 1st, 2015 and runs through September 31st, 2015. For US residents only. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours




  1. Thanks for introducing us to Mary Anna Evans. What a terrific interview! And thanks, too, for sharing your thoughts on her latest mystery. I'm about half-way through and am enjoying Isolation immensely.

  2. Sounds like Faye comes from a strong line of women and she herself is one as well. I love a strong heroine. This sounds like a fantastic series!

  3. I was thinking this sounds like a very good read but then I see it is #9, so better go ack and see the #1 as I am sure there will be character development along the way.

    1. Hi Kathryn, well if you're not into series, these books stand well on their own. But if you start from the beginning you are better able to "get" the returning characters. Thanks

  4. wonderful interview, it's awesome to see authors grow as writers it reflects in their work

    1. Hi Lily, yes it is and she has definitely. I love how Faye has grown up with the author. Thanks for the comment!

  5. I love it when a book goes back several generations. Did it give you snippets of what it was like during the house's hayday? I am sucker for novels that do that

    1. Hey Braine, thanks for the comment. Faye's great-great grandmother, Cally lived until the 1930s and participated in an oral history sponsored by the Government about the lives of slaves. Readers learn a little about Cally through the notes that Faye has saved, some novels have more than others. This was a genuine act that our government did in the 30s through the WPA. Here's a PBS link-

  6. Mary Anna Evans is a new to me author, but I love how strong her heroine sounds.

    1. Hi Kim, you know I love indie publishers and Poisoned Penn Press in Arizona along with Oceanview in Florida are two of my favorite small houses that specialize in mystery/suspense. It's where I first discovered Mary Anna. I think you'd really like her series. Thanks for commenting