Valerie Nieman. Blood Clay. Winston-Salem, NC: Press 53, 2011.

Although North Carolina is known for its “Southern hospitality,” Tracey Gaines is not welcomed in (fictional) Saul County, North Carolina, when she moves from Ohio into the old Floyd farmhouse. Recently divorced, Tracey is determined to be independent. One afternoon, on her drive home from work at an alternative school, she witnesses a brutal and fatal dog attack on a child. Without a cellphone, Tracey makes the split-second decision to leave the girl and to call 911 from home. When describing the assault to the police back at the scene, she identifies the owner of two of the dogs.

The tragic event has a profound impact on the Saul community. The dogs’ owner denies that his pets could have been part of it, and he accuses Tracey of lying. Many people question her choice to leave the child during the attack. Tracey becomes the victim of threatening phone calls and vandalism. In the midst of the drama of the attack and her feelings of loneliness, cowardice, and anxiety, she befriends another teacher. With Dave, Tracey begins to believe again in love – and in herself.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Nieman, Valerie, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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