Category Archives: Munger, Katy

Katy Munger. Better Off Dead. New York: Avon Books, 2001.

Casey Jones, Triangle-based Private Investigator and (contrarily) ex-convict, is enjoying a quiet evening at home watching NC State trounce Duke at basketball. That is, until her boyfriend Burly starts haranguing the disconsolate Blue Devils fans from their Durham apartment window. With all the ruckus, Casey almost misses the knock on her door- and may come to wish she had. Her visitor is a terrified cleaning lady, who isn’t worried for herself, but for her employer- the infamous Helen Pugh McInnes. Casey knows a little about Helen: a graduate student who accused a well-respected Duke professor of rape, she lost her case and became a community pariah. Casey comes to learn that the gentle Helen has spent the year since her day in court too afraid to leave her quiet country home, terrorized by perverse phone calls and letters from her rapist, who is clearly still at large. Even venturing onto her front porch leaves her in the throes of a major panic attack. Casey knows right away that she has to help Helen, but since Helen is viewed as a liar and a loose woman, Detective Jones must tread carefully.

Her first move is to protect Helen: Casey’s boyfriend Burly, her lovable yet flabby boss, Bobby, and Bobby’s voluptuous girlfriend and paragon of Southern charm, Fanny, as well as a host of others all take up residence in Helen’s spacious, self-induced prison. Meanwhile, the thirty-something Casey applies a liberal amount of concealer and eyeshadow in order to infiltrate Duke University itself, going undercover as a non-traditional coed. But she isn’t entirely prepared for what she finds. As usual, the case is complicated by unforeseen circumstances: a wide-eyed college boy develops a crush on the gruff Casey, and for some reason it’s more difficult than usual to determine who the rapist really is. But Casey Jones always gets her man…unless this time, he gets to her first.

Readers will be glad to know that this tightly wound narrative deals sensitively with a difficult topic while still maintaining the series’ usual sense of humor. Katy Munger’s cast of misfits, cops, and strange birds is back, with some entertaining new additions. The Duke community will be pleased to note that the author issues a strong statement in the beginning as to the very fictional content of this novel. The UNC and NC State communities will be more satisfied with Duke’s (inevitable?) loss in the opening game.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Katy Munger. Bad to the Bone. New York: Avon Books, 2000.

Casey Jones is doing well: despite being an (unfairly convicted) ex-con, she has established herself as one of the Triangle’s premiere, if unofficial, private investigators. But when Tawny Bledsoe walks through her door, she gets a bad feeling. At first, Casey attributes this to the fact that the pale, fragile-looking Tawny is black and blue all over, and claims that her ex-husband first beat her, then stole their four-year-old daughter. Ms. Bledsoe begs Casey to get her child back, and with her special interest in wronged women, Raleigh’s toughest cookie is on the case. However, Tawny’s story begins to look suspicious after Casey easily tracks down the ex, and instead of a wife-beating kidnapper, finds a reputable Wake County Commissioner and devoted father who is a respected member of the African-American community. When Tawny’s $1,000 check bounces, Casey is convinced she’s been had in a spiteful divorcée’s spat. But then Tawny’s current beau (a scummy car mechanic named Boomer) turns up murdered, and Casey knows there’s more to the situation than simple fraud. As the P.I. snoops around, she uncovers several unsavory parts of Tawny: the cocaine addict, the blackmailer, and the abusive parent. When Casey’s no-good ex-husband Jeff gets involved, things quickly move from bad to worse, and the gloves come off as Casey goes to all lengths to put Tawny behind bars where she belongs.

Fans of the feisty, self-starting Casey Jones will enjoy this adventure, in which the fallible but lovable heroine faces a type of villain she hasn’t encountered  before, as well as turmoil in her romantic life,  but also puts some old troubles to rest.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Chatham, Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Katy Munger. Bad Moon on the Rise. Jackson, WY: Thalia Press, 2009.

Casey Jones is at it again.  As an unlicensed private investigator (she cannot get her license because of a Florida prison stint), Casey is not half bad; she’s already solved a few murders in the Triangle.  When Corndog Sally, a Raleigh fixture, comes to Casey for help finding her daughter and grandson, Casey is more than happy to help.  As Casey sets off to find Tonya, Sally’s daughter (and a recovering addict), and Trey, Tonya’s fifteen year-old son, she finds out that the case will be more challenging than she’d expected: Casey finds Tonya, but she is dead, and Trey is nowhere to be found.

As Casey searches for Trey and for answers, she stumbles upon an illegal police operation in which guards at the Silver Top Detention Center (a fictional women’s prison in the mountains of western North Carolina where Tonya served time for drug-related charges) force paroled women to sell drugs.  Casey learns that Tonya refused to help the criminals in this enterprise and was murdered as a result.  With the help of a friend, Casey discovers the operation’s secluded location as well as Trey, a bright and athletic boy whom the renegade guards would like to groom for the business.  Casey must risk the safety of Trey, her friend, and herself in order to help Trey escape.  At last, Trey is returned to his family, and Casey is able to put an end to the manipulation of women such as Tonya.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Chatham, Durham, Mountains, Munger, Katy, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Katy Munger. Money to Burn. New York: Avon Books, 1999.

Sassy P.I. Casey Jones takes a job bodyguarding a tobacco scientist who has been receiving death threats. When he’s killed after only one day on the job, Casey takes it personally. She’s just considering looking into his murder when his fiancé hires her to find out two things: first, was he cheating on her before his death, and second, did her rich tobacco magnate father have him killed. Her complicated investigation takes her into the some very different settings, including Triangle high society and the rural countryside. This is the third book in the Casey Jones mystery series.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Katy Munger. Out of Time. New York: Avon Books, 1998.

In the second book of the Casey Jones series, it is Casey’s client who is running out of time. Gail Honeycutt is on death row for killing her husband, her appeals are pretty much exhausted, and she only has a month before her execution, but she continues to declare her innocence. Unfortunately, Gail’s husband was a cop (maybe a dirty one) and Casey’s investigation into his death puts her on the wrong side of the local P.D., including her non-boyfriend Bill. Fingers are pointed at Casey when people connected to the case start dying and the donut-loving private detective has to find the killer before she is framed for his work.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1998, Durham, Humor, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Orange, Piedmont, Wake

Katy Munger. Legwork. New York: Avon Books, 1997.

Casey Jones wants to be a private detective, but due to a felony conviction in the distant past she cannot get a license. Instead, she does the next best thing and works for a legitimate P.I., answering his phone, bodyguarding, and doing the legwork on some of his cases. In Legwork, the first novel in the Casey Jones series, Casey’s bodyguarding client is arrested for murdering a powerful and lecherous real estate developer. The arrestee is political candidate Mary Lee Masters–a “New Southern Woman” who could be the first female U.S. Senator from N.C–and she offers Casey twice her normal pay to find out who’s trying to frame her.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1997, Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Wake

Katy Munger. The Casey Jones Novels.

Casey Jones is a sassy, irreverent Durham-based detective. Due to a previous record she can’t get a private investigator’s license, so Jones operates with forged credentials, careful to keep just ahead of the law. All of the novels are set in North Carolina’s Research Triangle (Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill), and Jones frequents many familiar places in Durham. In her description of the series, Munger promises that the novels all feature elements of classic hardboiled detective stories: “cussing, chasing, rescues, gun fights, drinking and sex.”

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Filed under Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Series