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Deborah LeBlanc 

Thalia Stevenson's gypsy funeral -- complete with rituals, incantations and a gold coin -- seems strange even to Janet and Michael Savoy, who have run their funeral home for many years. When the coin goes missing from the dead girl's hands, the Savoys must race to return it to her grave before a merciless death is unleashed on their family. Deborah LeBlanc, a south-central Louisiana native, knows her Cajun heritage and fills her novels with strange and haunting characters. Her first book, Family Inheritance, won praise and awards from colleagues and writing associations alike. Acclaimed for her capacity to create riveting tension and terror, LeBlanc strikes again with her new novel, Grave Intent. The author has always had a great love for reading and writing. To encourage these loves in others, she has launched the "LeBlanc Challenge" with a $5,000 prize. The grand-prize winner will also be awarded $1,000 to give to any library of his or her choice. Each contestant must read both of LeBlanc's novels and answer questions online to compete. Visit www.deborahleblanc.com for complete guidelines. The author also has a online blog for the reader's perusal (www.deborahleblanc.com/weblog). LeBlanc will read from and sign her novel. Free admission.

7 p.m. Wednesday, July 27

Borders Bookstore, 3131 Veterans Memorial Blvd., Metairie, 835-1363

5 p.m. Thursday, July 28

Books-A-Million, 401 N. U.S. Hwy. 190, Covington, (985) 867-8010

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