Monthly Archives: December 2010

O. C. Strunk. Satan’s Angels. Baltimore, MD: Publish America, 2009.

Matthew Glass has settled in nicely to the beach house that his friend Christopher Fry left him in An Ever-Fixed Mark.  It’s a comfortable place and Matthew is feeling a sense of peace until one morning he discovers that a young woman’s body has washed up next to his dock.  Matthew is not looking forward to interacting with the local sheriff, a man who Matthew tangled with when he investigated Christopher Fry’s death. Surprisingly, Sheriff Gore seems to have buried the hatchet, and rather than suspecting Matthew of the murder, he only asks Matthew to keep him informed if he learns anything about the case.

Of course, Matthew does not do that.  He delays telling the sheriff that he has met with an older Hispanic man who asked about the woman’s appearance, and he tries to keep the authorities from learning about the activities of the wife of one of his friends.  Belita, the wife of Father Mark Wyatt, an Episcopal priest in North Myrtle Beach, has been letting undocumented workers on their way north stay in a cottage that the couple owns in Sunset, North Carolina.  Readers come to find out that the dead woman and two friends stayed in the cottage, on their way to a modeling school in Wilmington.  When Matthew looks into the modeling school, he learns from Sheriff Gore that the school might be a front for shadier activities, but neither the sheriff nor Matthew is prepared for the connection between the school and one of the most admired citizens in the area.

This is a book with timely themes–Hispanic immigration, celebrity culture–and much older ones–the innocence of youth, the exploitation of the weak, and the urge for vengeance.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Brunswick, Coast, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Strunk, O. C.

Karen Hawkins. The Glory NC Books.


Glory, North Carolina, might seem like the typical quiet Southern town, but much happens there to keep life interesting. While many who grew up in Glory could not wait to move to bigger cities like Raleigh or Atlanta after their high school graduation, some find themselves back home after a few years away. Two siblings, Mark and Roxie Treymayne, returned after their mother’s illness. Although they planned to be back just temporarily, they have found reasons to stay. Mark and Roxie have discovered worthwhile careers at Roxie’s new newspaper business, The Glory Examiner, and entertainment in antics of a group of local geriatric crime-hunters. Most exciting for the siblings, though, is the fact that they have both found passionate, loving relationships–Mark with Susan, a reporter and Roxie with Nick, the sheriff. As it turns out, you can go home again.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Buncombe, Hawkins, Karen, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Series

Pauline Trent. Falling in Love. New York: Zebra Books, 2009.

Angie Kane and Chris Montgomery have had very different life experiences.  Lambert Falls, North Carolina brings them together.  The question is will it also pull them apart?  Angie grew up in the little Piedmont town—she knows everyone and everyone knows her.  Her job as a waitress in the local dinner is nothing special, but she’s happy to have work that keeps her near the man who brought her up, her uncle, Sheriff Bobby Granger.  Chris is new to the town, but his grandfather was the town doctor and a good friend of Sheriff Granger.  Chris has come to Lambert Falls after sustaining near-fatal injuries as a Green Beret.

Sheriff Granger likes Chris but counsels him to take it slow with Angie.  Chris does, and the romance blooms.  After Chris employs Angie to help him clean out and redecorate his grandfather’s stately house, Angie finds herself in demand as a decorator.  Angie begins to see a brighter future for herself, but that future is threatened when Chris’s Green Beret mentor asks Chris to help him train a special team in Colorado.  A second trip to Colorado convinces Angie that this romance won’t work, and this reader believed that too, but wise advice from an unexpected source resolves the conflict.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Trent, Pauline

Bill Whitworth. Butterfly Girl. Alexander, NC: Alexander Books, 2010.

White Shoals appears to be a peaceful town in the scenic mountains of North Carolina,  but appearances can be deceiving.  Jason Duke has been the sheriff for less than a year, and when an anonymous caller reports a body near the edge of a mountain stream, he has his first murder case.  The victim is a young woman with a butterfly tattoo on one of her legs; determining who she is and how and why she died takes the sheriff into dangerous territory.  The head of the county commissioners, Kirk Mallory, is a real estate developer who pressures the sheriff to find the killer fast and thus minimize the negative publicity that the town is receiving.  Mallory’s interference is almost to be expected, but the sheriff is surprised when someone at the other end of the town’s social spectrum, the old country shopkeeper Amos Hawkins, warns him not to stir up something he can’t handle.  By degrees, multiple stories unfold–of a college student who went with Mr. Wrong; of a greedy, dishonest developer; of a man who hid his insanity behind a veneer of respectability; of meth makers taking advantage of the cover that the mountains provide; and  of a community in the midst of change.  Intermixed with these disturbing matters are the stories of Jason Duke’s working relationship with his deputy Shaun Standingdeer and the sheriff’s romance with local woman.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Mountains, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Whitworth, Bill

Eugenia Collier. Beyond the Crossroad. Baltimore, MD: Three Sistahs Press, 2009.

Caroline’s lifelong dream has been freedom. Born into slavery in the mountains of North Carolina, she witnessed the brutal deaths of her parents as they tried to flee their masters’ oppression. This event, traumatizing for the three year-old who was left for dead, deeply instilled in her the  conviction that she should be free.

Caroline was born into slavery, but the Emancipation Proclamation should have freed her as an adolescent. Some masters, however, refused to free their slaves, including the families that owned Caroline. With little knowledge of what the “gov’mint” was or what it did, slaves were unsure of their rights or how to escape bondage.

This story follows Caroline’s path to freedom. It highlights the sense of family she shared with Aunt Peggy, her rescuer and surrogate mother, and other slaves with whom she worked until she escaped slavery. Although her tale is mostly painful because of the mistreatment she endured, her determination to be free also makes it a story of hope.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Collier, Eugenia, Historical, Mountains

O. C. Strunk. An Ever-Fixed Mark. Baltimore: Publish America, 2007.

Matthew Glass, psychologist and former university administrator, moved to North Carolina after the death of his wife and daughter.  He’s opened up a cafe and a bookstore in the coastal town of Calabash, and there he connects with a diverse group of people: Tomeka who cooks at the cafe; Tizzy who runs the bookstore; Micki, a college-age Korean orphan whom Matthew intends to adopt; and Christopher Fry, a retiree who befriends Matthew.

As this novel opens, Christopher has just died, in what appears to be an accident. When Christopher’s long-estranged daughter arrives to make funeral plans, Matthew is in for a few surprises: Christopher has left Matthew his house and his dog, and the circumstances of Christopher’s death don’t square with the cautious and precise man that Matthew knew.  As Matthew spends time at his new house he gets a better sense of Christopher’s professional achievements and his compassion, and he uncovers some puzzling things: a stash of the local community newspaper with strange marking on some of the papers and books on the animal-human bond.  With Micki’s help, Matthew follows the clues in Christoper’s things, but those clues lead to cruelty, corruption, and murder, not the treasure that Micki expected.

This is the second book in the Matthew Glass Mysteries.  The first book was set in Maine.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Brunswick, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Strunk, O. C.

Lisa Klein. Cate of the Lost Colony. New York: Bloomsbury, 2010.

The death of Catherine Archer’s father in 1583 prompts Queen Elizabeth to invite her to Whitehall to be one of her maids of honor. While in London, Catherine (nicknamed Cat by the Queen) meets Sir Walter Ralegh and becomes enchanted by him. The two secretly begin writing poems of love to each other, and Catherine dreams of joining him in the New World.

However, Catherine and Ralegh’s clandestine relationship comes to a quick end when the queen finds the letters and abruptly sends Catherine to the Tower of London as punishment for her betrayal. Later, thinking that she has found an even stiffer penalty, Queen Elizabeth orders her prisoner to the Virginia settlement. Although the queen believes this to be a hard sentence, Catherine is excited to see America – even if she is without Ralegh.

After enduring months at sea, Cate (as she likes to be called now) and the rest of the Roanoke Island settlers arrive in the New World. Unfortunately, relations between the English and the Native Americans are tense. Conditions are not what were expected, and the expedition leaders return to London for aid, promising to return quickly. Cate works with Manteo, the Croatan translator, in trying to mediate between the two groups. Manteo and Cate feel a mutual understanding, and a trusting relationship develops between them.  Although the English fight in the beginning, they soon realize that while they wait for rescue they must live peacefully among the Croatans to survive.

Three years after Cate and her fellow settlers arrived on Roanoke Island, an English ship carrying their rescuers arrive. However, they are happy living among the Croatans and refuse to return to England. Although their rescuers, including Sir Walter Ralegh, do not understand why they are determined to stay, they depart without them. It is agreed that the Englishmen will not speak of their interaction with the settlers, simply saying that they were not found and their fate is a mystery.

This story is recounted through the perspectives of Catherine Archer, Sir Walter Ralegh, and Manteo. Lisa Klein provides an interesting ending to the tale of the Lost Colony.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Dare, Historical, Klein, Lisa

Lara Bergen. See You Soon, Samantha. New York: Scholastic, 2010.

Samantha Macintosh is being forced to spend the entire summer in Salt Isle, North Carolina, where her mother’s college roommate, Karen, has just inherited a rundown hotel. While two months at the beach might sound like fun to some, twelve year-old Samantha (not “Sam”) is not looking forward to being separated from her two best friends in New Jersey.

The hotel has no air conditioning, there is a rule that no sugar or wheat is allowed, and the hotel may be haunted. Juliette, the cool teenager who Samantha thought would be her friend, turns out to be unpleasant and distant. Although she pouts for the first few days, Samantha soon realizes that she has to have some fun. She gets to know Karen’s children (even though they seem much younger), befriends a cute lifeguard at the beach, and learns how to surf. She also reaches out to Juliette, and the two become close – almost like sisters. By the end of the summer, Samantha finds that she does not want to leave Salt Isle and cannot wait until next summer!

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Bergen, Lara, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Novels Set in Fictional Places

N.W. “Red” Pope. The Sweet Potato Caper. Scottsdale, AZ: Five Points Publishing, 2009.

Benson, North Carolina, in the fall of 1959 may appear to be a typically sleepy, small Southern town, but that simplicity is deceiving. Sure, traditional mores still dictate interactions and stores close for the noontime meal (“dinner,” not “supper”). However, Benson becomes the center of excitement when a few outsiders kick up some dust.

The strangers who cause the ruckus arrive in Benson for different reasons. Jimmy, a gambler with a losing-streak and a demanding family, is in town to train for a banking job with the People’s State Bank. He drives to work from Raleigh with Woody, a likable fellow who begins dating a teller at the bank. One afternoon, they make the acquaintance of Tom Boney, aka T-Bone, an unsuccessful crop insurance salesman from Roanoke Rapids. His infidelity leads to divorce, and he is desperate for money. Woody makes an off-handed comment about how the positioning of the train – which divides Benson and blocks five major roads in town – would make robbing the bank easy. For the next few weeks, no one thinks anything else of his remark.

As Jimmy’s and T-Bone’s situations worsen, Jimmy decides to put Woody’s observation to the test. He gets T-Bone in on the plan, arranging for him to find two associates to help with the robbery. Although the burglary goes off without a hitch, the criminals leave damning clues that the FBI uses to catch two of the crooks; the other pair are off the hook to live luxuriously in Costa Rica.

And for Benson, this alarming episode signals a change in its once-trusting community – simply that “times ain’t like they used to be.”

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coastal Plain, Johnston, Pope, N. W., Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Roger Saltsman. Agony Hill. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2009.

Running is Eric Roberts’ passion. He admires runners, enjoys the sport, and excels to the point of setting records in his Brevard, North Carolina, high school. His dream is to run in college, and he is delighted to have been courted by some big schools. Sadly, that all disintegrates when he is injured in an accident that kills a friend. Eric, blaming himself for the tragedy, distances himself from his friends, his family, and even his obsession.

After spending two years away in Charleston, Eric decides to return home. He rekindles his friendship with Mary, a favorite running partner, and she challenges him to get back into the sport. By a matter of chance, his landlord is a former running coach who agrees to train Eric. Although he has not run in two years and has put on considerable weight, Eric is determined to be a great athlete. Months of careful training lead him to a race in which he defeats his high school nemesis and qualifies to join the North Carolina State University track team. Three years after his life changed course considerably, Eric puts himself back on track.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Mountains, Saltsman, Roger, Transylvania