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A TOUCH OF GOLD


By Joyce and Jim Laverne

Berkley Prime Crime, 2011 ($7.99)

ISBN-10: 042524024X
ISBN-13: 978-0-425-24024 3

Kindle edition: $7.99

Reviewed by Shirley Wetzel

Dae O'Donnell is the mayor of Duck, a small town on the North Carolina Outer Banks. She's lived there for most of her life, and she is fairly content with her life. She was raised by her grandparents, and is now living with her grandfather, a former sheriff of Duck. She never knew her father. Her mother told her he was dead and refused to say any more about him. Her mother and grandmother are gone now too. Her grandmother did pass something on to Dae — the ability to find missing objects, and sometimes missing people.

Dae has just listened to Max Caudle, curator of the Duck Museum, telling a group of school children his favorite story of how Theodosia Burr, daughter of Aaron Burr, might or might not have survived a terrible storm and a pirate raid on the ship she was travelling on in 1812. Max believes she did survive, married a local man, and lived a long life in Duck. He tells Dae he's meeting someone who will help him prove he's right. She wishes him luck, then leaves the building.

Dae is barely out the door when the world explodes. When she comes to, she is in the arms of Kevin Brickman, a newcomer to town. She watches the museum going up in flames. The volunteer firemen do their best, but the old building burns to the ground. Max was not as lucky as Dae.

During her night in the hospital, Dae learns that the explosion not only knocked her silly, it ramped up her psychic abilities to a whole new level. A gold coin she'd picked up in the museum that day "speaks" to her, showing her images of who made it, where it had traveled, and how it came to wash up on the beach near Duck. Everything and everyone she touches sends her similar messages, and she knows she needs to reign in this new skill before it drives her nuts. She does confide this to Kevin, an ex-FBI agent who's bought and renovated the Blue Whale Inn. Kevin is handsome, intriguing, and there is a definite connection between the two.

There are more fires, more tragedies, kidnappings, and other assorted crimes and misdemeanors. Some of the townsfolk believe the curse of the pirate Rafe Masterson is responsible, but Dae knows the source is not supernatural. The Chief of Police of Duck, who's known Dae all her life, is aware of her abilities, but doesn't want her poking around in the investigation. The Chief of Police of the nearby town of Corolla, Duck's rival, tells Dae in no uncertain terms to keep her nose out of his business when a body turns up in his jurisdiction. Of course she continues to snoop, and of course she gets in trouble. Her nosiness leads her to a man of mystery who tells her things that threaten to destroy everything she thought she knew about her life.

This is the second in the Missing Pieces series, following A TIMELY VISION. Duck is a real place, and the authors manage to impart the sense of charm and beauty that is to be found there. And who knows, if you take a stroll along the beach there, you might just turn up a piece of pirate's gold.

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