Author: Roberta L. Smith
Genre: Supernatural mystery, historical, romance
Date released: August 23, 2014
Length: 289 pages
Blurb: In 1944 Denver, twenty-six year-old Franklin Powell is doing what he does best, helping clients with his psychic gift. Then his brother causes the past to come crashing into the present and a memory Frank has kept buried since the age of six surfaces. Now his life is in an uproar. He must prove that what he remembers is true or his mother may spend the rest of her life in prison. But even if he succeeds, it appears there is a powerful someone behind the scenes who could care less if she is innocent. Why? Because of a seething hatred for Frank. To make matters worse, the woman he loves needs his help with a serious problem of her own—a problem that could get him killed. Frank can’t let that stop him. He dives right in and while his psychic gift doesn’t seem to be doing him any favors, it’s a good thing that a couple of newly-acquired ghosts appear to be on his side.
The Dreamer of Downing Street is the prequel to Roberta L. Smith’s Mickey McCoy series.
Roberta Smith is a lifelong southern Californian born in Los Angeles who grew up with TV shows like The Twilight Zone and Leave It to Beaver. She always preferred stories with ghosts, monsters (Frankenstein) or the supernatural. As a kid, her hero was Boris Karloff. She’s written and published five novels, four of which are paranormal mysteries. Recently she teamed up with horror author Michael Raff to form Nevermore Enterprises and bring Horror Book Fest to the High Desert. She is an active member of the High Desert Branch of the California Writers Club and the Victor Valley Vettes Corvette Club.
twitter: Roberta L Smith@bertabooks
Leadville, Colorado – 1924
I COULD FEEL Mother’s anxiety the moment she took my hand to pull me out of the canvas top touring car. I landed with a squishy sound as my boots hit the sloshy ground and I righted myself. The sight before me was forlorn to say the least: a couple of cabins―shacks really―a privy, shed and the hoist frame of a mine shaft no longer in use, all dusted with snow. It was spring, but just barely. And it was cold.
“You’ll be all right with the boy,” our driver called to my mother from his seat inside the car, arm outside the window, finger pointed. “Just remember what I told you. Call her Mrs. Tabor. She don’t like when people address her as Baby Doe. Show her respect. If she opens the door with a shotgun in her hand, just talk real nice. She guards the Matchless like a rabid dog and don’t trust people much. I ain’t sayin’ I blame her, just that’s how she be.”
Mother nodded and started toward one of the cabins, my hand in hers. I nearly cried out that she was hurting me, her grip was that tight. But I thought better of it. A tongue lashing would most likely result and that would be more painful. I stuck my free hand in the right-hand pocket of my coat and grabbed hold of one of the toy cars I kept there.
My heart beat rapidly. I was anxious, too. Not because of where we were or who we were about to meet. I was concerned for Mother because I’d never seen her in such a state. She paused for a moment and took several deep breaths as she stared at the small, one-room shack ahead of us. It cast a friendless feel out here on the hill amid the other wooden structures that were all part of the derelict mine. Constructed of planks that had weathered many winters, it wasn’t exactly ramshackle, but it was close. Not that I would have thought of that word at the time. I was six.
After a few more steps, my anxiety left me and the happiness I felt at being on a trip with Mother—just me, not my older brother Bobby nor my older sister Jane, just me—took hold. My siblings got most of Mother’s attention at home. With only me in tow, I would be foremost in her mind.
I looked at the front door of the cabin and “knowings” hopped into my head. Back then, that’s what I called the psychic thoughts that came to me. I knew we were about to meet an old woman who had been beautiful at one time. So beautiful that other people had been jealous. I knew that she was hated and that she lived alone.
I will just have a talk with that woman. So what if she’s peculiar, if they say she’s lost her marbles . . .
I glanced up at Mother. “Here, Mama,” I said, offering her a fistful of aggies and cat’s-eyes I kept stashed in my pocket along with the cars.
“What?” Her brows knit together as she looked at the contents of my hand.
“You said she lost her marbles. She can have these.”