Author Archives: Elizabeth DeBold

Donna Ball. Gun Shy. New York: Signet, 2007.

Book three in the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries has all the elements that made the first two such great reads: murder, mystery, and of course, adorable dogs.

Every fall, the tourists flock to picturesque Hanover County in the mountains of North Carolina. They buy local crafts, hike on the trails, and generally annoy the locals. But one tourist has created more of a calamity than usual: Michelle White is found dead in the cabin she rented with her husband, presumably by her own hand. Her husband is nowhere to be found, and her hysterical dog (who has been trapped for days without food or water) won’t let the sheriff’s department retrieve her body. Luckily, the sheriff’s niece is Raine Stockton, whose whole life is devoted to training and understanding dogs. Raine calms the terrified yellow lab, expecting to find an ordinary family pet, but Hero (as she decides to call him) is something else entirely.

Michelle was partially paralyzed, and Hero was her service dog. Trained by an expert agency, Hero can fetch phones, turn on lights, and open doors. But why would Michelle White kill herself and leave her dog to fend for himself for four days? Most of all, how could she kill herself by holding the gun in her paralyzed right arm? Raine and her energetic golden retriever companion, Cisco, are soon on the trail of a murderer. But distractions get in the way–a bothersome new neighbor, her (sort of) ex-husband Buck, and Cisco himself, who likes nothing more than a bit of mayhem. Raine doesn’t see the danger until it’s right in front of her nose, and by then, it might be too late.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Ball, Donna, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller

Donna Ball. Rapid Fire. New York: Signet, 2006.

As we open on the second book in the Raine Stockton dog mysteries, the titular heroine is happy enough– her kennel business is doing well, her dogs are happy, and her part-time job with the Forest Service in small Hansonville, North Carolina provides just enough extra cash to keep life comfortable. Even her relationship with her estranged husband, Deputy Buck Lawson, is going as well as can be expected. That is, until said husband shows up on her doorstep with an agent from the FBI. Since Buck is with the local Sheriff’s Department, the situation isn’t all that strange, but it quickly turns personal: the FBI is looking for Andy Fontana, and they think Raine knows his whereabouts.

Back in their college days, environmentally-conscious Andy used to be Buck’s best friend and Raine’s boyfriend. In fact, she almost married him instead of Buck, until he disappeared under the shadow of a terrible act of eco-terrorism that left several people dead. The FBI were never able to locate him, but now they think he might be returning to Hansonville. Raine never believed that Andy was guilty, but things start looking bad: a local construction worker turns up murdered, some bulldozers are vandalized, and Raine starts receiving what might be messages from her erstwhile beau. When a forest fire breaks out, it’s up to Raine and the one companion who has never abandoned her, the faithful golden retriever Cisco, to join the manhunt and finally find out the truth.

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

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Filed under Ball, Donna, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller

Brenda Tetreault. Shadow of Doubt. Baltimore, MD: Publish America, 2011.

Natali Sinclair still hasn’t recovered from the dark power that threatened her twin sister, Molly, a few months ago. Although Molly survived and recovered completely, Natali’s deep connection to her twin sister, combined with the mental anguish of the situation, released power lying dormant in the young woman’s mind. A natural empath (someone with the ability to both feel and influence others’ emotions), Natali’s experience with her twin released her own power to its full potential–and now it’s hurting her.

Luckily, someone else is similarly blessed (or cursed). Britt Darbonne, a friend of Molly’s husband, is also a powerful empath. Over the years, he has learned to control this ability so that the emotions of others don’t hurt him, and he doesn’t unduly influence everyone around him. Britt would be attracted to the dark, vibrant Natali even without her gifts, and she’s equally attracted to him. But living with another empath is difficult, and it doesn’t help that Britt has a dark past that haunts his relationship with Natali. Will Britt and Natali find a way to control her powers, and finally be happy? It looks possible, but when a vengeful spirit finds its way into their midst, Bounty Cove is once more the site of a frightening supernatural conflict.

This is the fourth installment in the Bounty Cove Chronicles, a series of paranormal/supernatural romances meant for readers age 18 and up.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Tetreault, Brenda

Elizabeth Flock. What Happened to My Sister. New York: Ballentine Books, 2012.

Carrie Parker, age nine, and her mother Libby are leaving Hendersonville, North Carolina. Before they drive away, Libby makes her daughter promise never to talk about anything that happened there, and to remember that her sister, Emma, was just an imaginary friend she made up. But Carrie knows better– Emma was real, until something bad happened.

After moving down into the foothills, Carrie and her mother eke out a miserable existence at a motel in the fictional Hartsville, where Libby is often too intoxicated or too busy with her boyfriends to even feed her daughter. The little girl lives on paper and stolen food, until entirely by accident, she meets the Chaplin family. Ruth, Honor, and Cricket Chaplin are three generations living under the same roof. Living in a comfortable house filled with memorabilia dedicated to their famous relative, Charlie, the Chaplin women nevertheless have their own struggles. Cricket’s sister, Caroline, passed away only a short while ago from cancer, and it has torn her parents apart. Honor, Cricket’s mother, thinks that she’s hallucinating that day in the Wendy’s when she sees the little girl stealing from the salad bar– she’s the spitting image of her Caroline. When she discover’s Carrie’s name, she knows that she has to keep this unloved, sad little girl in her life. This conviction will change her and her family’s life, and will help Carrie discover what actually happened to the sister she’s sure she didn’t imagine.

A simultaneously heartbreaking and uplifting story about family, blood ties, and what’s most important in life, Elizabeth Flock has written a beautiful story that gets at the heart of child abuse. Told from the dual perspectives of Honor Chaplin and Carrie Parker, it is an intricately woven tale that both surprises and satisfies.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Flock, Elizabeth, Henderson, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller

Thomas Meinecke. Pale Blue. Las Vegas, NV: AmazonCrossing, 2012.

Set in mid-1999, Pale Blue follows the thoughts of Tillman, a young German living temporarily on the Outer Banks. Fascinated by blues music, he traces its evolution through time, musing on iconic figures and significant events from Josephine Baker and World War II to Ronald Reagan and Mariah Carey. This history is interspersed with his own ethnic and sexual self-explorations, which he embarks on with the aid of Vermilion, a local waitress earning her doctorate at Duke studying Hasidic Jews. Tillman also corresponds with an old girlfriend in Germany, Yolanda. As he and Vermilion travel from Ocracoke to Kitty Hawk to Roanoke Island, we journey with them on their voyage of self-discovery and historical inquiry.

Meinecke’s second novel, translated from the German by Daniel Bowles, is a twisting path through time and narration, often switching location and speaker abruptly. Those interested in stream of consciousness writing in particular will enjoy the style of this novel.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Coast, Meinecke, Thomas

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

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

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