The Palm Reader Jackson Walker #2
by Christopher Bowron
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
“… fantastic characters and a truly spellbinding plot—the best book in its genre I have ever read.” --Susan Keefe, TheColumbiaReview.com
“A gripping thriller, which excels in unusual twists and turns, explorations of family heritage and truths, and one man’s ongoing journey as he explores new connections and threats to his life.”--Diane Donovan, Midwest Book Review
Jackson Walker once again faces his demons in this haunting sequel to Devil in the Grass. Now working as an investigative lawyer for Peter Robertson, Jack teams with Janie Callaghan to solve the disappearance of a sleazy client specializing in taboo pornography. Meanwhile the evil head of the Church of Satan weaves an intricate web to lure Walker as the sacrificial lamb in an Everglades Black Mass ritual.
LOLITA SHIFTED HER LARGE frame in the overstuffed chair and l oked across the small round table at her client. It had been a long day and she slept little the night before. The room glowed softly, lit by an overabundance of randomly placed candles, the decor heavy and full of warm colors. Her cat, Princess, sat on a chair in the corner preening her black fur.
Lolita gently took the woman’s small, white hands into her large black palms, engulfing them in warmth. She rubbed the tops with her thumbs, pulling the client into her presence, Lolita’s voice soothing and deep. She turned the hands over, examining them carefully. Each set of hands showed their own story. Sometimes that story came to her as a vision, and sometimes she had to rely on the creases and lines to divine the truth.
The spirits felt strong the past few days, and she was startled by what she saw. Lolita closed her eyes, not wanting her turned up whites to scare her customer. Once the vision passed, she opened her eyes and examined the lines in the woman’s palms, not really taking notice. Lolita tried to come to terms with what she needed to tell her. Sandy Templeton, twenty-six years old, lived in Bonita Springs. She’d been given an hour’s time with Lolita by her friends as a wedding shower gift, which was very common. Lolita, by her own admission, could be wrong in her palmistry and even her tarot readings from time to time, but the visions never failed her.
She placed Sandy’s hands palms down on the table.
“Sweetheart,” she said in her South Floridian drawl, “I rarely do this, as I need the money, but this is important. I’m going to give you your gift card back and I want you to make an appointment to come back and see me.”
“Sweetheart, your fiancé . . . is he tall with dirty-blond hair, and a scar under his right eye?”
“Why yes, ma’am.” Fear crept over her pretty face.
“Is he planning on going over water in the near future?”
Hesitating, she grew paler by the second. “He’s gonna go fishing with his buddies this evening after work.”
“Sweetheart, I want you to go now, and when he comes home, I want you to make love to him like you’ve never loved a man before. I want you to take your time and ease into making him not want to leave the house. Do you follow?”
“Yes ma’am. What is it?”
“Will he be on the water tomorrow?”
“No. We have plans. He won’t be happy.”
“Let me put it this way: No one will be happy if you let him walk out that door tonight. I want you to go now and shine up that pretty little white ass and shake it for all it’s worth.”
* * * *
Lolita turned the deadbolt on the door after the young woman left. She didn’t like doing what she’d just done. Sandy would probably be able to seduce and keep her future husband from leaving and there would be no way of proving the vision would have come to fruition. Sandy would think her a crazy old black lady and never come back. It would be a smudge on Lolita’s reputation. She shook her head and went back into the parlor, picking up her tarot cards. Lolita eased her large posterior back
into her old, rickety chair.
She had seen the drowning of Sandy’s future husband. The vision appeared abruptly and was gone within seconds. What appeared immediately after the first vison seemed clearly unrelated to the young woman—an augury jumping over the drowning fisherman. No less important, but the calling appeared
stronger. Lolita knew better than to ignore the spirits. She saw two more deaths, one being her own.
Shuffling the cards, she thought about her question until the vision appeared crystal clear. A tall man with dark hair— Seminole blood. Strange how the Seminoles often crept into her head. They were strong in spirit. She’d heard of an old Indian man who lived on the southern edge of the Everglades. She made a pact with herself to bless him with her presence one day.
The young man she envisioned lived locally, somewhat famous for a recent endeavor. He appeared to be in grave danger. She saw his grisly death, a death that needed to be averted. The man looked to be destined for greatness, a champion of South Florida. The vision was conflicted, depicting both their endings, but neither was clear; she saw a vague, this-or-that vision. Most dangerous. She shivered.
She flipped over the first card. Strength. Yes, she’d seen strength in the young man’s face. His grounding and past? Solid. The Seven of Wands . . . Yes, there will be a battle, which can be won, but how will I be involved? There was no doubt she would be. He would spurn her—she would need to be persistent. Lolita sipped her tea, now quite cold. She turned the next card. The Fool, inverted. Is he apathetic? Do I dare get involved?
She clearly needed to, but the card indicated that the quaere, or “seeker,” appeared foolhardy, a risk-taker. She didn’t have money to lose, so there was little risk monetarily. She flipped again. The Queen of Swords. There would be a battle of wits. Very interesting.
One last card, and when she flipped it, her hand went to her mouth. The Devil.
* * * *
Lolita gathered the cards together and blew out the many candles spread about the small house, which served as both her place of business and her home. The spirits didn’t need any more encouragement today. A cold sweat formed on her brow and moistened her shirt. Who is this person? Going downstairs,
she turned on her desktop and searched for a while, turning up loose ends and improbabilities. After an hour, she switched tactics and typed Paranormal/Ft. Myers celebrities. She went on a tangent relating to Satanism for a good half an hour before she struck gold. An article in the Miami Herald mentioned a Jackson Walker, part Seminole, who brought down a South Florida cult, the Church of Set. Two seconds after she saw Walker’s picture, she knew him to be her target.
It began to fall into place. Lolita remembered him as the hero who took down the witch Henrietta LePley. Smiling, Lolita muttered to herself, “Anyone who has the balls to take on that woman deserves to be saved.” This was not Lolita’s first encounter with the woman. She’d seen her a few times, and each time her inner voice told her to steer clear of the witch! That was Henrietta—malevolent to the core, vindictive, evil—a plethora of bad words might describe her. Lolita shivered, crossing herself
to ask for a blessing even though she wasn’t Catholic.
It was uncommon for the visions to appear in pictures.
When the future was painted for her, she would be foolish to ignore it. She felt blessed on most occasions to be close with the spirits. Conversely, she felt wary whenever the omen appeared dangerous. If Jackson Walker was tied up with the Church of Satan or Set, whichever demigod one preferred, he would be a sketchy person to be around. Possibly deadly.
Christopher Bowron has always loved a great story, and possesses a unique gift of the magic to tell one. He can be described as a “thriller writer, with a mysterious undertone,” who can take his readers on believable journeys to the sharp edge of reality and the paranormal. The use of seat belts is optional while reading his work, but you may need to buckle up and hold on tight from time to time.
Christopher’s roots are Canadian, and his two children make the fifth generation of his family to live in Niagara-on-the-Lake Ontario. His other home in Southwest Florida, in an area of everglades and ocean, provided him with ammunition for his imagination. This inspired his love of writing, and became the backdrop in the creation of his first published, best-selling novel. “Devil In The Grass” and soon to be released sequel “The Palm Reader.”
He is fortunate to be able to live his own personal great story, which includes graduating from Brock University with a Bachelor of Arts in History, creating a wonderful family and life, running a successful real estate brokerage, having the opportunities to enjoy fine wine, sports and getting away to do some salt water fishing in Florida whenever possible.
Q. What inspires your writing?
A. Hmm… Pent up energy. I know that this sounds cliché, but I love telling stories. I love a good movie or a great song with a hook or awesome chorus. When I feel the greatness in something, it inspires me and I will often sit down and write a really good scene or chapter. On the flip side, I love a good fire and a glass of red wine. When all of the above happen in the same evening, look out.
Q. What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A. You get to take yourself to places and I mean high stakes places that you hopefully will never get to, but can live through your characters. I like how people are interested in what you do. People like writers. You can write anywhere. South Pole, Mexico, Paris, bring it on.
Q. What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A. Not having enough time in the day to do what you love. But I believe that if you write a really great book, you will be successful…
Q. If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A. I would do what I am doing right now in my lifelong career. I am a real estate broker. I like what I do. Writing is my escape. I am both. Having my own fishing show would also be pretty cool, but folks wouldn’t pay to see me sitting lonely in my boat with no fish.
Q. What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. Blessed but restless
Q. What is your favorite book of all time?
A. The Hobbit. It was one of the first books I read as a kid and I read it every now and again. The Lord of the Rings is right there. I’ve read it 4 times.
Q. Which character from ANY book areyou most like?
A. Bilbo Baggins – I am adventurous, but a bit of a dreamer.
Q. What character from all of your book areyou most like?
A. Jackson Walker – As a writer, you can’t help but breathe a little of what you are into your main character. Q. Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A. 50 Shades of Grey, but with my wife of course. Not Jurassic Park.
Q. What is your favorite season?
A. Summer, I just love it, especially in Florida – fall can be good as well, but winter follows…
Q. What inspired your book cover(s)?
Or what is your favorite book cover and why? A. My wife Carmen and I went diving through the Everglades one day and we took a bunch of pictures. One of Carmen’s pictures was used on the cover of Devil in the Grass. I don’t know how they did it, but I had a vision and I explained it to the Koehler graphic arts team and they got it first try. I would have to say they were awesome. I envisioned devil eyes in saw grass, a pond and bushes in the background. I saw big plain letters. Koehler was great. They also came up with a few other really cool covers options, but this one stuck from the start.
I liked Karin Slaughters cover on “Pretty Girls.” It’s simple and catchy. You have to wait to the end of the book to get it and I like that sort of thing.
Q. Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A. We were at Timbers raw bar on Sanibel after visiting some cool book stores. Carmen and I were there with my aunt and uncle sitting at the small bar, we arrived just as the place opened. I kept looking behind me and there was an old crotchety couple standing against the wall behind us, just staring at us with scowls on their faces.
Finally I said to the old lady staring at me- would you like to get to the bar so that you can order? She doesn’t crack a smile and says: “No, I’d like your seat.” I stared at the bartender and he smiled. “They come here every day. You have their seats. I say “What?” So I being the nice Canadian I am I say, “Sure.” They don’t even thank us immediately sit down to stuffing their faces with the bar specials.” Some people, but for some reason I will link the two events.
Q. Are you working on something new?
A. Three things – Doc Dom a medical thriller about the illegal organ trade. It’s a pretty cool but tragic topic. 2. A sequel to DITG, Jack runs for the Florida state senate and finds himself in another paranormal mess. 3- A true life story about three people who survive in the Gulf of Mexico for three days after their boat sinks. Friends of my parents. The real story is behind the scenes, the family and prayer groups etc.
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