Monthly Archives: October 2011

Teresa D’Amario. Shewolf. Culver City, CA: Freya’s Bower, 2007.

Veterinarian Anna Callaway has always had a special talent with animals. Beyond her skill with a scalpel, sutures, and other tools of the trade, Anna has some extra gifts. These include extremely sharp eyesight, more strength than she should have, and a sense of smell that allows her to detect things no one else can: moods, illness, and fertility.

These gifts that make her such an excellent vet do have their downsides: she can’t stand noisy, crowded places. One night, feeling obligated to attend a staff birthday party at a local bar, Anna seeks a respite from the smoke and pounding music in the parking lot. There, she is assaulted by two strange men who are determined to kidnap her, rape her, or both. What frightens Anna the most is their bodies: they seem to shift and become hairier, and their smiles are full of pointed canines. Does she see claws sprouting from their fingers? Suddenly, a third man materializes to rescue her…but Anna is horrified to find that he is just as strange as the others. Is she hallucinating?

Kieran Hunter only wanted to rescue the human woman from Ryland and Joshua, who were dangerously close to exposing their true nature as wolven: a species with the ability to take both human and wolf form. He doesn’t understand his immediate attraction to the female…until he realizes that she’s just like him. More than that, she’s The One–his True Mate. Kieran must fight wolven instinct, exercising all of his self control to educate Anna about herself and her heritage until she is ready to accept him as a True Mate, and with him, his way of life. Despite her almost uncontrollable attraction to Kieran, Anna is angry and confused, and at first reluctant to see the truth. But violence is stalking the handsome wolven’s normally peaceful pack, and Anna is directly in its path, motivating her to acknowledge her true nature (and needs) sooner instead of later.

An erotic romance novel set in and around the Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina, Teresa D’Amario’s steamy tale (a 2008 Prism Finalist) takes readers on a wild adventure. Due to the nature of the content, this book is recommended for mature readers only.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, D'Amario, Teresa, Montgomery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Science Fiction/Fantasy

H. Leigh Aubrey. A Keen Edge. New York: iUniverse, 2009.

Scott Davan is the man with everything: he is a partner in his father’s successful architectural firm, has a supportive wife and three loving sons, and at thirty-seven, is still in peak physical condition. Poised to run for state senator, he is Charlotte, North Carolina’s golden boy in every way. There’s no reason for him not to be happy…but he isn’t. Randall Davan is a controlling man who refuses to relinquish his hold on both his son and the business, and in reality, Scott’s relationship with his wife Paula has been cold and distant for years. When the senior Davan hires Scott an assistant without his knowledge, it’s the last straw, but not in the way he thinks. Instead of plunging Scott deeper into his father’s stifling grasp, Neil Phelan will free him.

Because Neil turns out to be just what Scott needs: he’s an excellent architect, a competitive jogging partner, and incredibly easy to talk with, not to mention handsome. There is an undeniable connection, and the two men fall for one another instantly. Neil has identified as gay for some years, always struggling with the fact. Scott has denied that he is anything but heterosexual for his entire life, and must now embark on an inner journey to find his true self. The outside world is little help. The Davans have always held conservative views on certain topics, homosexual relationships included. When Paula and Randall are faced with Scott’s self-discovery, a painfully difficult time ensues for all involved, especially the children.

H. Leigh Aubrey, a pen name for an author who has written over forty romances for straight audiences, has tackled some of the most charged issues in his first novel for “romantic gay men.” He fits a great deal into 288 pages, but the result is a combination of many different types of love: romantic, sexual, familial, and most importantly, the love and acceptance of oneself. Romance readers everywhere will enjoy Neil and Scott’s budding relationship, and applaud their courage in the face of so many trials.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Aubrey, H. Leigh, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Sharyn McCrumb. The Ballad of Tom Dooley. New York: Thomas Dunne Books, 2011.

If you grew up in the Appalachians of western North Carolina, chances are you’ve heard the tale of Tom Dooley at least once. You may even have heard the song made famous by the likes of Frank Proffitt, the New Lost City Ramblers, and Doc Watson: hang down your head, Tom Dooley…hang down your head and cry… a sordid tale of love, betrayal, and murder set in the years following the Civil War. But fact often proves more shocking than the tale. Author Sharyn McCrumb, after spending hours consulting the legal evidence, trial transcripts, and speaking with experts, determined that something didn’t add up. The answers she found in her lengthy research hint at a dark, Brontë-like pentagon of individuals trapped by disease, starvation, racial boundaries, and the after-effects of armed conflict.

Zebulon Baird Vance, the educated sometime-Governor of North Carolina,  represented Tom Dooley during his trial for murder. In McCrumb’s telling, he is convinced that Dooley is innocent. While his narrative reflects on the aftermath, the voice of servant-girl Pauline Foster recounts the tale from its origin. Survival during the war meant Pauline had to sell her body to passing soldiers for food, but she escaped death. Unfortunately, she didn’t emerge entirely unscathed. Infected with syphilis, she makes her way from her home county of Watauga to neighboring Wilkes, in hopes of staying with one of her cousins there while seeing a doctor. She chooses her wealthy relation Ann Melton, who allows her room and board in exchange for servant work. Ann is narcissistic and spoiled, and the sociopathic Pauline quickly determines that she will bring suffering to her cousin’s door, no matter the consequences for others. When Pauline realizes the depth of love between the married Ann and Tom Dooley, a former Confederate soldier and Ann’s childhood sweetheart, she hatches a terrible plan for revenge that inflicts tragedy across the entirety of Wilkes County. Expertly researched and written, history and fiction lovers alike will find this a fascinating read.

Frank Proffitt and his banjo

Click here for a clip of “Tom Dooley” as sung by Doc Watson, and here for a clip as sung by Frank Proffitt, both courtesy of the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill. The songs, and many others, are available on CD and vinyl in the Southern Folklife Collection, which like the North Carolina Collection, is located in Wilson Library. While you’re here, check the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog for the availability of The Ballad of Tom Dooley.



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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Historical, McCrumb, Sharyn, Mountains, Watauga, Wilkes

Clyde Edgerton. The Night Train. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2011.

The phrase “the night train” has two meanings in Clyde Edgerton’s latest novel. For most people in Starke, North Carolina, this daily event is something to which they give little thought. Accepting the brief clatter, many have trained themselves to sleep right through it. The tracks upon which the train glides divide the small town racially, with Larry Lime Beacon of Time Reckoning Breathe on Me Nolan (so named by his grandmother) being from the black side and Dwayne Hallston being from the white side. Although they live on different sides of the track, Larry Lime and Dwayne forge a friendship that encompasses their shared love of mischief and music – and overlooks race.

For Larry Lime and Dwayne (and anyone else following pop culture in 1963) “Night Train” represents the hottest single on the charts. James Brown’s unbelievable presentation of it on Live at the Apollo prompts Dwayne to envision his band performing a similar rendition on the local television program The Brother Bobby Lee Reese Country Music Jamboree (a show that “people on both sides of the tracks enjoyed”). Fortunately for Dwayne, Larry Lime is musically gifted, especially after taking lessons from a  jazz master called The Bleeder, and he instructs his friend on exactly how to move, sound, and look on stage. When Dwayne and his band, the Amazing Rumblers, land a spot on the show, Dwayne and Larry Lime see firsthand how unprepared Starke (and society) is to see a white boy impersonating James Brown. In an age of sit-ins, with the Ku Klux Klan seven miles down the road, and prejudice strong, Dwayne and Larry Lime test the status quo, not afraid to blow like the night train through Starke, North Carolina.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Edgerton, Clyde, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Mary Kay Andrews. Summer Rental. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie have seen each other through everything since kindergarten. Now, even though they’re miles apart and all grown up, they still get together once a year to be girls together. This year, they’ve chosen scenic Nags Head, North Carolina as the destination for their reunion. And they need it more than ever. Ellis has just been fired, Dorie is having marital problems, and Julia finds herself at a crossroads in her career. All three hope that Ebbtide, the scenic-sounding beach house they’ve rented for a month from the kindly Mr. Culpepper, will provide solace for their sore hearts.

Ty Bazemore, alias Mr. Culpepper, is the real owner of Ebbtide. Living just next door, he finds it easier for tenants never to meet their landlord–more peace for him, and the opportunity to ensure that everything stays in order. But he doesn’t count on the feisty Ellis, who takes issue with the rundown state of the little beach house. It’s really not Ty’s fault: he’s had a run of bad luck since his grandparents, the real Mr. and Mrs. Culpepper, passed away, and now he’s in danger of losing his childhood home for good. He’s annoyed with Ellis’ nitpicking at first, but then strangely attracted…could she possibly feel the same way?

Maryn is a woman on the run. Her husband, the cold and calculating Don Shackleford, has been up to no good, and by the time Maryn figures out how much trouble she’s in, all she can do is pack a bag and get out of town. Arriving randomly in Nags Head, she throws her lot in with three complete strangers…but will she bring her troubles with her in the form of an angry and violent Don?

Mary Kay Andrews brings together five lives touched by hardship in this comic, heartwarming tale. Relationships, economic difficulties, and family troubles are no match for the strong, sisterly bonds of Ellis, Dorie, and Julia, and their warmth spirals wide to include anyone who crosses their path. Mothers, wives, girlfriends, and best friends will all cheer for these spunky pals as they get one another through the tough times, as women have always done.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Andrews, Mary Kay, Coast, Dare, Romance/Relationship

Richard Helms. Thunder Moon. Detroit, MI: Five Star, 2011.

Police Chief Judd Wheeler is a man’s man. He would like nothing better than to have a cold beer while grilling some juicy steaks, spend quality time with his smart and sassy girlfriend, and run the small town of Prosperity in Bliss County, North Carolina with a firm yet fair hand. But during the hot summers, when the air lies like a humid weight on the wilting farmland, folks get as unpredictable as heat lightning. Teenagers have idle hands, tempers shorten, and air conditioners quit at the worst possible moments. It’s nothing Chief Wheeler can’t deal with…usually.

But this summer is different. A star football player named Steve Samples is brutally hacked to death in a home he’s renting from the mayor, who happens to be Judd’s closest friend. A convicted sex offender wants to settle down and build a home, making his neighbors uneasy. Two biker gangs, the Outlaws and the Vandals, start a turf war. Alvin Cross, an itinerant preacher, blows into town and starts riling up Prosperity’s residents over all the sin in their midst, with possibly violent consequences. Worst of all, Chief Wheeler suspects that these events are somehow related, but can’t quite see how. He knows things might get clearer if he could get his hands on the good-for-nothing Ricky Chasen, a murderous young man whose name keeps coming up in ominous ways, but Chasen is as elusive as a shadow.

Will Chief Wheeler be able to keep Prosperity from dissolving into a hotbed of crime and murder? Who killed Steve Samples? What is the preacher’s  true agenda? As the summer wears on and Judd gets closer to the truth, he finds himself living in the cross hairs of a killer…or several. Find out what happens in Richard Helms’ second Judd Wheeler mystery, the explosively named and natured Thunder Moon.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Helms, Richard, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Shelby Adams Lloyd. Grains of Sand. New York: Xlibris, 2007.

Jean Rein is frightened–her husband Mark was murdered, and now she’s getting threatening phone calls.  Reeling from shock and pain, she decides to leave her home and her career in Washington, DC.  Jean is fortunate in that her husband was a successful broker, so she is able to buy a beautiful Victorian house and adjoining property in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  There she begins to make a new life for herself, finding work, making friends, and reconnecting with family.  She even finds a new love, but there is no escaping the many horrible things that will happen to her.  The phone calls continue, and Jean begins to believe that she is being followed.  She hires a bodyguard, and when he is murdered, Jean fears that she will never escape the terror.  Finally she is kidnapped and brutally assaulted.  Only by pretending to go along with the madman who has stalked her is she able to break free.

This book contains graphic scenes of sex and violence.

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


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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, Lloyd, Shelby Adams, New Hanover, Suspense/Thriller

Jessica Beck. Tragic Toppings. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.

What are the chances that two people would go missing on the same day in little April Springs, North Carolina?  When Emily Hargraves disappears from her newsstand, series heroine Suzanne Hart fears for the safety of the lovely, naive young woman.  Suzanne’s fear proves unwarranted–pretty much.  Emily left her shop with no notice for a quick tryst with Suzanne’s randy, charming ex-husband, Max.  Suzanne regrets not warning Emily about Max, but she trusts that in the end Emily will see him for what he is.

But there is nothing close to a happy ending for the other missing person, Tim Leander.  Suzanne and her friend Grace find Tim’s body hanging from an historic tree in the town park.  Who could have wanted to kill the popular local handyman, and who had the strength to hoist his body up into the Patriot’s Tree?  In part because she found the body, and in part because this kind of snooping is getting to be a habit, Suzanne begins to look into Tim’s life.  What she finds shocks her–it seems that Max is not the only playboy in April Springs.  Suddenly, Suzanne has lots of suspects.  Readers can follow her as she questions Tim’s buddies and lady friends and checks out their alibis with help from Grace, their friend George, and Suzanne’s beau, Jake.  Police Chief Martin is officially on the case, but he has to walk a fine line with Suzanne now that he is dating her mother.  As with earlier novels in this series, the development of Suzanne’s relationship with Jake, and her mother’s with Chief Martin, add to the charm of the book.

This is the fifth novel in the Donut Shop Mysteries series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Beck, Jessica, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Richard Folsom. Indian Wood. [United States: BookSurge?], 2009.

Is it possible that three people were murdered because of something they found on an old reel of microfilm?  That’s what newspaperman Luther Surles wants to find out in this mystery that moves between the Court of Queen Elizabeth I and present day Greenville and Lumberton, North Carolina.

Carl Burden and Luther Surles met when they were covering a Klan rally in Robeson County in 1958. Carl was a cub reporter; Luther had been a newspaperman for a few years.  Luther stayed in journalism, but Carl went to graduate school and eventually became a history professor at East Carolina University.  Carl’s research interest is the Lost Colony and a possible connection between the colonists and the Lumbee Tribe.

Carl’s new graduate student, the lovely Roberta Locklear, is also interested in a Lost Colony-Lumbee connection, and soon both Carl’s research and his love life heat up.  But Roberta has her own history, and Luther begins to suspect that some piece of that ties into Carl’s murder.  This novel moves weaves stories of the wars, exploitation, and double-dealing of earlier centuries with a very twenty-first century story of property development and greed.  As a bonus, the book contains a novel-within-a-novel–Carl’s historical novella on the Lost Colony.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Coastal Plain, Cumberland, Dare, Folsom, Richard, Greene, Historical, Mystery, Robeson

Kathy Reichs. Flash and Bones. New York, NY: Scribner, 2011.

This image courtesy of

Emily Deschanel portrays Dr. Temperance Brennan in the TV show Bones. She poses here with Kathy Reichs (right). Image courtesy of

What do NASCAR, missing teenagers, and an audacious tabby cat all have in common? None other than Dr. Temperance Brennan, the brilliant, savvy forensic anthropologist based in Charlotte, NC. In her latest case, Brennan is called out to the nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway to look at a barrel containing human remains. Soon she is caught in a tangled investigation involving the FBI, a dangerous white supremacist group, a local organic farmer, and sweaty, chain-smoking detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell. But perhaps most dangerous of all, Brennan’s ex-husband, Pete, has asked her to intervene on his behalf with his new fiancée: blonde, bosomy Summer. Driven to hysterics over planning their wedding (and Pete’s disinterest in the ceremony), Summer clings to Brennan for emotional support, calling at all hours of the day and night. Harassed by both FBI agents and dangerous militants, drenched by unpredictable Piedmont storms, and romantically adrift, disgruntled Temperance doesn’t realize that she will soon be more thankful for the needy Summer than she thinks.

Kathy Reichs upholds her winning formula of science, mystery, and a strong female lead in this fourteenth installment of the series that inspired the hit TV show Bones. NASCAR fans will be delighted to watch Brennan’s education in racing , as well as the slew of characters she meets along the way. When she can take a break from the Speedway, Temperance touches base with her daughter Katy, old flame Andrew Ryan, and stalwart feline companion Birdie, although beau Charles Hunt doesn’t make an appearance. But Team Ryan and Team Hunt beware- there’s a new man on the scene providing Brennan with equal parts assistance and annoyance: tall, dark and handsome ex-detective (and ex-con) Cotton Galimore.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy, Suspense/Thriller