Author Archives: Jenny McElroy

Joan Medlicott. From the Heart of Covington. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2002.

From the Heart of Covington continues the stories of Hannah, Amelia, and Grace, older ladies who share a house in the fictional town of Covington, NC. In this, the third book in the series, a close friend’s cancer impacts all of the women, but each has her own issues to contend with. Amelia furthers her photography career and takes a trip to New York. Grace volunteers at the local elementary school, deals with her son’s rocky relationship, and faces a diabetes diagnosis. Hannah is reunited with her estranged daughter and the younger woman, Laura, comes to live in Covington after she is seriously injured in a boating disaster.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Medlicott, Joan, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Clay Harvey. A Flash of Red. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1996.

While Tyler Vance is in the drive-through for his local bank one day, a fleeing bank robber points a gun at him and demands he hand over his truck.  In that instant, Vance’s unique, deadly, and very secret military training takes over.  He shoots and kills the robber, not knowing that the dead man has some “family” ties to international drug dealers, gun runners, and racketeers.  Tyler’s life as a freelance writer, recent widower, and single father quickly turns dangerous as the mobster’s connections try to exact vengeance upon him.  He turns to friends, family, and old army connections for help surviving the attacks and keeping his son safe.  Author Clay Harvey, like main character Vance, lives in North Carolina and writes articles and books about guns.  A Flash of Red is the first book in Harvey’s series about Vance.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1996, Harvey, Clay, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller

Thomas Fahy. The Unspoken. New York: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, 2008

Jacob Crawley, leader of the Divine Path cult in Meridian, North Carolina, was an evil man who tormented six of the group’s children and prophesied that they would each be killed by the thing they feared the most.  Five years later epileptic Allison begins having seizure-induced visions of death and Harold–who was afraid of drowning–is found drowned in a tobacco field, far from any source of water.  Creepy!  The survivors, now teenagers, reunite to try to escape death.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Children & Young Adults, Fahy, Thomas, Horror, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia Hits the Road. New York: Viking, 2003.

Miss Julia can’t figure out what is wrong with her friend Sam. He is too old for a mid-life crisis and too young for senility, but he inexplicably shows up in her driveway one day wearing a leather jacket and riding a Harley. Although she can’t seem to wrap her mind around it, he also begins courting her in earnest: flowers, bad poetry, and calling “just to talk.” However, the real problem in this book is that Miss Julia’s housekeeper Lillian and all her neighbors are in danger of being evicted by their shady landlord. Miss Julia comes to the rescue by organizing a Poker Run motorcycle fundraiser, but must also dodge the unwanted attentions of the event’s biggest benefactor. This is the fourth book about the proper widow’s adventures in the fictional town of Abbotsville.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Henderson, Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Ross, Ann B.

Kathy Reichs. Bare Bones. New York: Scribner, 2003.

Medical examiner Tempe Brennan never gets to take a break! She is back in North Carolina and planning on taking her first non-family vacation in years (with her Montreal detective-boyfriend, Andrew Ryan), but those plans are ruined by the appearance of a string of bodies that may be connected. The first is a baby found in a drug dealer’s house, and then human and bear remains surface while she is at a pig pickin’ with her daughter. A small plane crash and the discovery of more human and bear bones increase the mystery. Brennan’s dog features prominently in this novel, the 6th in the Temperance Brennan mystery series.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy

Joyce and Jim Lavene. Last One Down. New York: Avalon Books, 2004.

When Sheriff Sharyn Howard leaves Diamond Springs to attend a law enforcement training retreat, her staff must solve a murder and deal with a sniper in town.  Meanwhile, Sharyn has her own problems.  One of her deputies is seriously injured when he falls down an old mine shaft, another man is found dead in the woods, and several others are killed when a car explodes.  Unfortunately, the retreat is in an abandoned mining town on isolated Sweet Potato Mountain, their radio is broken, and a vicious storm begins flooding the area streams.  This is the tenth book in the series of Sharyn Howard mysteries.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

James Patterson. Kiss the Girls. Boston: Little, Brown, 1995.

As an expert in abnormal psychology working for the FBI, Dr. Alex Cross is used to calmly solving gruesome crimes, but in Kiss the Girls the case is personal.  His niece–a law student at Duke–is kidnapped while on campus, and he comes to the Triangle to try to help find her.  The North Carolina police and FBI are dealing with “Cassanova,” a man who is collecting beautiful and talented female victims.  There is also a second predator on the loose, a killer on the west coast with the nickname “The Gentleman Caller.”  A break in the case comes when one of Cassanova’s victims, a UNC med student, fights her way free of her captor.  This is the second book in the Alex Cross thriller series and the only one set in North Carolina.  It inspired a 1997 film of the same name starring Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1995, Durham, Novels in Series, Orange, Patterson, James, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Sarah R. Shaber. The Fugitive King. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2002.

In 1958 Roy Freeman, a Melungeon man from Kentucky, plead guilty to murdering his girlfriend to avoid being lynched or facing the death penalty. When the girlfriend’s remains are found more than 40 years later in a rusty pickup in the Blue Ridge Parkway, Freedman escapes prison and turns up in Professor Simon Shaw’s living room. After the convict asks the “forensic historian” to help prove his innocence and turns himself in, Shaw travels to his hometown of Boone to visit family and investigate Freeman’s claims. This is the third book in the Professor Simon Shaw series of mysteries.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Mountains, Mystery, Piedmont, Shaber, Sarah, Wake, Watauga

Thomas Fahy. Night Visions. New York: Dark Alley, 2004.

Frank arrives in San Francisco looking for a missing woman and he convinces his former girlfriend Samantha to help out with the investigation. Samantha, a lawyer suffering from severe insomnia, has just begun an experimental treatment to help her sleep.  After she starts to notice connections between the murders and her sleep clinic, she wonders if she might be the next victim.  The plot with Samantha and Frank takes place in San Francisco, but a series of flashbacks within the story take place in North Carolina locations like Chapel Hill, Durham, and Wilmington.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Coast, Durham, Fahy, Thomas, Mystery, New Hanover, Orange, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Margaret Maron. Southern Discomfort. New York : Mysterious Press, 1993.

When she was running for the open district judge position in Colleton County, Deborah Knott commented to a meeting of the local WomanAid group that she wished she could take time out of campaigning to help with their work.  Now that she has been appointed to the seat, the group has come to claim her weekends and she starts working with a group of women building a house for a needy single mom and her kids.  On top of her new duties and the construction project, the new judge also faces violence in her community and in her family.  Before the house is finished, the group’s electrician (who also happens to be Deborah’s niece) is attacked, the accused attacker is found dead, and the girl’s father is poisoned.  This is the second in the series of Judge Deborah Knott mysteries.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1993, Coastal Plain, Maron, Margaret, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places