Monthly Archives: January 2013

Jane Tesh. Mixed Signals: A Grace Street Mystery. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen Press, 2012.

David Randall, a private investigator in the fictional small town of Parkland, North Carolina, thought this Christmas was going to be peaceful. But when your best friend is a psychic, you’re in love with a superhero, and you live in a boarding house with a crowd of oddballs, how could any day be normal, much less peaceful?

David’s eventful holiday season begins with the discovery of a murder victim. Camden, the P.I.’s psychic best friend, keeps having disturbing flashes of the killer’s mind. It’s troubling enough to have visions of murder, but these insights make Camden suspect that he knows the killer well. This connection is overwhelming to the sensitive Cam, and David worries for his friend’s mental state. Murder would be difficult enough to deal with, but a group of superheroes dedicated to justice on the streets of Parkland has sprung up, and David’s lady love, Kary, has joined them. But could one of these supposed superheroes really be a supervillain? He wants to find out, but his progress is hampered by two dogged journalists angling for the inside scoop. Our protagonist’s holiday madness is complete when his mother comes to town. Normally David would love to have her, but all she wants to discuss is his daughter Lindsey, whom he lost to a tragic car accident some time ago.  That, and her new octogenarian beau Grady, of whom David decidedly does not approve.

Will the determined P.I. find the murderer, lay his troubles to rest, and dodge reporters successfully? Not without mayhem, hilarity, and some serious sleuthing.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Tesh, Jane

Trish Milburn. White Witch. Memphis, TN: Belle Bridge Books, 2012.

Jaxina “Jax” Pherson is a teenage runaway. Living in a stolen RV she’s parked in a campground somewhere in the mountains of Buncombe County, North Carolina, all the sixteen year old wants to do is blend in so that no one can find her. Running away from home is difficult when you’re an average teenager, but Jax is not average, no matter how much she wants to be. She descends from a long line of powerful witches who are sworn to bring vengeance and retribution to normal human beings who unjustly executed their kind for centuries. As a witch, Jax should be content to live with her powerful family in Miami, strategically eliminating their enemies.

But Jax has always believed that what her family does is wrong, and has been biding her time to escape. Now, camped out in the Appalachian mountains, all she has to do is matriculate at a local high school, never use magic again, and fade into the background. Or so she thinks. But Jax doesn’t count on Keller. On the outside, Keller appears to be nothing more than a normal boy also attending her chosen high school, but Jax soon figures out that he’s her worst enemy– a hunter. Dedicated to finding and destroying evil, these otherwise normal human beings face the supernatural every day. Unfortunately, Jax has a crush on Keller, and he develops feelings for her as well. With the threat of her angry family coming to find her, and her crush possibly turning on her, what’s a teenage witch to do?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Children & Young Adults, Milburn, Trish, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

David Goodwillie. American Subversive. New York: Scribner, 2011.

Aidan Cole is only thirty-three, but his privileged existence in New York City has become an embittered one. Roorback (a word meaning a false or slanderous story used for political advantage) is the digital baby that has brought so much heaviness to his once idealistic life. A blog devoted to gossip and news, all served up with a healthy amount of disdainful sarcasm, Roorback was invented and is maintained by Aidan to great success, but it has now taken up so much room in his world that he has nowhere to go but deeper into his own malaise and disinterest. Even a mysterious explosion above world-famous Barneys quickly fades into the background of his routine. Outside of Roorback, Aidan’s life is a mixture of hip parties and expensive dinners with his fashionable Times columnist girlfriend Cressida. Then, someone sends him a brief but electrifying email: a photograph of a young woman walking away from the smoking explosion over Barneys, accompanied by a single sentence: This is Paige Roderick. She’s the one responsible.

Spurred into action, Aidan sets out to find the mysterious Paige Roderick…and stumbles into a world of secrets, eco-warriors, and fanatics. Set partially in North Carolina, American Subversive is a gripping portrait of a generation whose greatest enemy is its own boredom. Through the eyes of two very different but strikingly similar individuals, Goodwillie’s tale chronicles their efforts to develop meaningful voices and find anything in which to believe in a disinterested, mortally hip world.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Goodwillie, David, Haywood, Mountains, Suspense/Thriller

Douglas Quinn. The Webb Sawyer Mysteries.

Webb Sawyer threw away his career as a military investigator when he shot a Serbian war lord in his jail cell.  Now Webb is separated from the United States Army and living in the remote Outer Banks community of Blue Heron Marsh. The ex-soldier is looking forward to a quiet life of fishing and boating that will allow him to put his personal demons behind him.  But the community around him has its demons too, and when his neighbors encounter trouble they turn to Webb knowing that they’ll need his investigative skills and fearlessness. The cases they ask his help with show him again the darker elements of human nature–racism, sexual obsession, greed, the thirst for revenge. People are not always what they appear to be, and the linkage between the present and the past is not always a pleasant one.  Interwoven with the search for sexual predators, serial killers, and the like are the ins-and-outs of Webb’s daily life–his attempts to develop a better relationship with his son, his on-again, off-again romance with a local pub owner, and his enjoyment of the water and natural beauty in this little part of the North Carolina coast.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Quinn, Douglas, Series, Suspense/Thriller

Fay Robinson. The Wish List. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2011.

Susannah Pelton is determined never to be emotionally dependent on anyone again. During the nine years that she cared for her mother, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s, all her friends and even her fiance abandoned her. Grieving her mother’s death after nine years of constant nursing, Susannah is determined to live life to the fullest. She writes a list of what she wants to do most in life, including visiting Paris, dancing in a ballet, skydiving, and seeing the Amazon River. At the very top of the list is “create a thing of beauty that will last forever.” Stunned by the detailed artwork in a mosaic she sees in a hospital while having a broken arm set (the skydiving wasn’t such a good idea after all), Susannah tracks down the artist at his remote mountain home in Graham County, North Carolina. Her plan is to ask for lessons, spend eight weeks learning the art of mosaics, and then get to New York City in time to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve– another item on her list.

Artist Ryan Whitepath is struggling. His six-year-old daughter, Nia, has been suffering from massive anxiety and depression ever since the death of her estranged mother. Although he understands, Ryan doesn’t know how to react, as Nia was never close to her mom. Carla lived all the way in London, which might as well have been the other side of the moon to a little girl living in the mountains of North Carolina. His grandmother insists that Nia will be healed by a redbird with a broken wing, but Ryan dismisses her prediction as old-fashioned nonsense. When a young woman shows up at his door asking for lessons in mosaics, Ryan immediately denies her request– he just doesn’t have room in his life for a stranger. But Nia attaches to the beautiful, red-headed Susannah immediately, and Ryan begins to think that she might be just the cure his little girl needs. But what happens when Nia isn’t the only one captured by the outsider?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Graham, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Robinson, Fay, Romance/Relationship

Casey Mayes. A Grid for Murder. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2012.

It’s natural that Savannah Stone is a prime suspects after Joanne Clayton is poisoned.  Savannah had the opportunity: half of Asheville saw Savannah having tea with the dead woman just hours before she died.  And the police think that Savannah had a motive: Joanne arranged to meet with Savannah so she could brag to her that she had gotten one of her puzzles in a newspaper that had repeatedly turned down Savannah’s.  Savannah senses that her story doesn’t seem convincing to the state police investigator handling the case, the chilly Captain North, so she decides that she’ll have to offer the police a more promising suspect.

Savannah is a relative newcomer to the area, so she relies on her closest friend, hardware store owner Rob Hastings to help her develop a list Joanne’s enemies.  It’s quite a long list! Savannah knows that she’s making enemies for herself with all her noisy, pointed questions.  She’s also aggravating her husband, Zach.  Zach, the retired chief of the Charlotte police department, is assisting Captain North with her investigation.  The two investigations–the professional one and the amateur–crisscross in a cozy mystery that shines a light on the good and the bad in small town life.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Mayes, Casey, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series

Maurice Stanley. Midwinter: A Novel of the Frankie Silver Murder. Wilmington, NC: Whittler’s Bench Press, 2007.

History tells us that Frances “Frankie” Silver of Morganton, North Carolina, murdered her husband Charlie during a fight in late December of 1831. According to Frankie, Charlie Silver had been loading his musket in a jealous rage at the time in order to kill her.  Perhaps it is the whim of fate, and the expediency of axes over that of early 19th century firearms, that Frankie lived and Charlie died. Although the murderess attempted to conceal her actions, it’s said that she regretted his death bitterly. Eventually, however, Charlie’s family found her out, and Frankie was executed by hanging in the summer of 1833.

Maurice Stanley’s account of this infamous tale, long part of North Carolina mountain lore, is part historical fact, part fictional characterization, and part ghost story. He takes the perspective of various persons reputedly involved in the affair, including that of Frankie and Charlie’s families, the ill-fated couple themselves, and local law enforcement. He renders an imaginative retelling of this well-known classic, and provides a comprehensive list of resources for anyone interested in the historical accounts. But one thing will never be settled by reading newspaper stories or first-hand reports: do the vengeful ghosts of Frankie and Charlie Silver still walk the earth to this day?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog. For more information on Frankie Silver and her story, come by the North Carolina Collection and discover our historical sources, including the official court record from the Morganton News-Herald.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Burke, Historical, Mountains, Stanley, Maurice, Suspense/Thriller

Brenda Tetreault. The Bounty Cove Chronicles.

Bounty Cove is a small (fictional) town on the North Carolina coast. Like many other towns along the Outer Banks, it’s full of kind, proud people whose families have called this bit of shore home for generations. But unlike other towns, Bounty Cove is also a locus of unexplained phenomena and paranormal activity. Ghosts, mind control, reincarnation– it’s all in a day’s work for the residents of Bounty Cove. A series of paranormal romances designed for an audience over the age of 18, each novel begins when a girl meets a boy, but after that, readers should abandon all their assumptions regarding traditional courtship. Supernatural forces work to keep the couples apart, and to destroy their lives and families. Is love enough to prevail when someone’s demons don’t exist only in his or her mind, but in the physical world? There is plenty of mutual attraction between each couple featured, but the series does remind readers that an invisible problem can separate two people in love. In Bounty Cove, the problem just happens to be supernatural in nature more often than not!
While each book features a different love story, many characters reappear across the series. By the end of the Chronicles, readers might feel as though they themselves live in Bounty Cove, although hopefully without the vengeful spirits.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Series, Suspense/Thriller, Tetreault, Brenda

Erin McCarthy. Slow Ride. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2011.

Tuesday “Talladega” Jones has a reputation as a spirited, fun-loving party girl. As a sports reporter, she writes serious pieces, but is best known for her relationship gossip blog. It isn’t a celebration without Tuesday, but the free-spirited woman everyone loves is struck with some hard times in this fifth book in the Fast Track series.

Grieving over the loss of her father, in whose journalist footsteps she followed, Tuesday doesn’t know where to turn. She has many friends, most notably the recently married Kendall Monroe, but instead Tuesday turns to the bottle. What begins as a way to ease the pain quickly becomes a serious problem before anyone realizes it…except handsome, reclusive Daniel “Diesel” Lange. Tuesday meets Diesel at Kendall’s wedding, and the pair immediately send sparks flying. Diesel was a legend on the track before a crash nearly killed him, leaving him with a busted knee and a sense of hopelessness. However, the crash couldn’t dampened his passion for stock cars. When Tuesday holds a cancer benefit in memory of her father, Diesel decides to donate a vintage car he restored. The two quickly become an item, but will their love be enough to help each overcome their individual fears, addictions, and grief?

A touching addition to the Fast Track series, readers will sympathize with Tuesday and Diesel as much as they will be swept up by their romance.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, McCarthy, Erin, Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Mark Schweizer. The Treble Wore Trouble. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2012.

There is never a dull moment in the (fictitious) little town of St. Germaine, North Carolina.  In this latest installment in the Liturgical Mysteries series, a body is found in the alley behind the town beauty parlor, and a young child is kidnapped.  Are these two events related?  Police Chief Hayden Koning thinks so, but before he gets far in his investigations, a singer is electrocuted during a service at St. Barnabas Church.  (It isn’t a Liturgical Mysteries book unless a death occurs in or near St. Barnabas.)  This, the tenth book in the series, contains the same cast of characters and many of the usual elements (another new rector, conflicts over the church’s liturgy, interesting minor characters) along with a few zany new additions–a truffle hunting pig and a Christian astrologer.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga