Category Archives: Durham

Durham

Carl Kenney. Backslide.Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, 2010.

Backslide picks up where Kenney’s earlier novel, Preacha’ Man left off.  Simon Edwards is living in Dallas with his love, Jamaica, and teaching at a seminary.  Simon should be happy, but he feels uneasy with his decision to leave the ministry.  He knows that he is succeeding at the seminary, but he senses that this is not what God wants him to do.  When a phone call comes from Calvin, a former member of Simon’s church, asking Simon to come start a new church, Simon returns to Durham, North Carolina.

Simon throws himself into creating the new church, but success is not a sure thing.  Many of the same forces and individuals who fought Simon in his earlier ministry are still around, and Simon has to learn to move beyond bitterness and earlier definitions of success.  He also has to reconsider his feelings for some of the women in the church.  Simon is without Jamaica, who has stayed in Dallas for her work, and some of the tension in the book comes from Simon’s struggle with their relationship.

This is a slower-paced, more introspective book than Preacha’ Man.  As Simon reflects on his situation, he considers insights from modern theology as well as the Bible, adding depth to the story.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Durham, Kenney, Carl, Piedmont

Carl Kenney. Preacha’ Man. Victoria, BC: Trafford Publishing, 2004.

Simon Edwards moved to Durham, North Carolina to teach, not preach, but he allowed himself to be pulled back into parish ministry.  Shady Grove Baptist Church prospered under his care.  The size of the congregation grew, its finances stabilized, and the church brought inner healing to its members and concerned engagement to the community.  But not everyone liked that.  Deacon Andrews, whose family founded the church, is used to having every pastor under his thumb. The deacon spreads rumors about the pastor and stokes the flame of discontent among those who like the old ways.

Church politics can wear a man down.  Strong family support and a clear mind can save him, but Simon has neither of these.  His wife, Janet, suspects him of infidelity even while her actions threaten the marriage. Simon himself is full of pain from abuse and missteps earlier in his life.  As the novel builds to a conclusion, Simon must decide whether to fight for his pulpit or flee to a new life.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Durham, Kenney, Carl, Piedmont

Richard L. Brown and Mikal H. El-Amin. 187 Iz an Art. Long Beach, CA: Double-Up Publishing, 2009.

When this novel opens, Kamikaze (Kaze) and his cousin Killa are in their teens, but already hustling.  Kaze is close to his mother, but she is in prison. Killa’s mother, Pam, is nominally responsible for both boys, but she is an alcoholic who can’t be counted on.  The cousins have just each other.  As they become better and bolder at hustling, they attract the attention of others, and they put together a drug organization, 187 CRU.  The book follows their exploits as they add members, take over territory, make connections with higher ups in the drug trade, and battle rival dealers for control of Durham’s streets.  The action, well described, comes fast and furious, and the body count is high.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2009, Brown, Richard L., Durham, El-Amin, Mikal H, Piedmont, Urban Fiction

Paul Ader. The Leaf against the Sky. New York: Crown Publishers, 1947.

This is a classic coming-of-age novel.  The main character, John Perry, is the son of a Methodist minister.  Soon after his family moves to a new town, John strikes up a friendship with Milton Silverstein and Zona Cahill.  Zona is flirtatious and worldly; Milton is Jewish.  John’s father does not approve of his new friends.  Still, the friendships continue even after the trio goes off to college.  John intends to return to his small hometown one day to edit his local newspaper, but first he has to find his own way, struggling to break free of religious orthodoxy and develop his own opinions.  The college the friends attend is called Trumbull University, but is is easily recognizable as Duke. The mountain town which the friends leave and then return to is called Macon, but a contemporary reviewer thought it was actually Franklin, in Macon County.

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

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Filed under 1940-1949, 1947, Ader, Paul, Durham, Macon, Mountains, Piedmont

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

Sandi Huddleston-Edwards. Roy’s Sandman. Charlotte, NC: CPCC Press, 2009.

Roy’s Sandman follows the family introduced in Huddleston-Edwards’s earlier book, Richard’s Key. All the children figure in the novel, but the story centers on the narrator, Roy.  Roy is deeply affected by his brother Richard’s death at the orphanage in 1947, but he goes on to build a life and a family of his own.  Roy’s relationship with “Sandman,” his oldest daughter carries the story forward into the new century.  Readers of the earlier novel who are eager to know what happened to these orphaned children and their mother will find their curiosity satisfied in this new work.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Durham, Guilford, Huddleston-Edwards, Sandi, Iredell, Piedmont

E. B. Alston. Hammer Spade and the Case of the Missing Husband. Timberlake, NC: Righter Publishing Co., 2006.

Although he didn’t know it at the time, it was Hammer Spade’s lucky day when Alonia Lockheart walked into his office and asked him to find her missing husband.  Alonia is an internationally-known model and drop-dead gorgeous. Her husband is a writer of no particular note, who secludes himself in a remote cabin for months at a time when he is writing. Alonia offers Spade $50,000 to pay for the search and offers her sister Minerva as fill-in office help while he is away.  While Spade is going back and forth from Durham to Georgia, where the hubby appears to be hold up, Minerva spruces up his office, gets his streetwise assistant to shape up, and drums up an amazing amount of business for Spade’s small, undistinguished firm.  The mystery of why a man would leave a gorgeous woman like Alonia is solved, but Spade’s adventures have just begun.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Alston, E. B., Durham, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

E. B. Alston. The Hammer Spade Series

I can’t help but like a series that came about, in part, from a librarian’s suggestion.  Dorothy Hodder, one of the great librarians at New Hanover County Public Library, suggested to E. B. Alston, already the author of two thrillers, that he put more intrigue into his books.  This led Mr. Alston to start a story with a private detective as the main character. The story became the novel that begins this series.

Hammer Spade is a detective and bail bondsman living in Durham, North Carolina. Like many fictional private detectives, his office is in a seedy part of town and his personal life is bleak.  The first novel in the series introduces Hammer; his love interest Alonia Lockheart; Shidee Callaway, who is Hammer’s streetwise assistant; and several members of Alonia’s interesting family.  These characters reappear in later novels where they are joined by Hammer’s friends, Dave Quigley and Jack Kane.  Kane, like Hammer, is a Desert Storm veteran.

Each novel opens in North Carolina, as Hammer is asked to handle a case, but the action often shifts to other–and far more exotic–locales. South Africa, Russia, Kuwait, Tibet, and Brazil are just some of the places that Hammer’s cases take him.  Only the books with a full North Carolina setting have individual entries in this blog.

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Filed under Alston, E. B., Durham, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Series

Alexandra Sokoloff. The Unseen. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2009.

People who have been in this area for some time will be delighted to see that Alexandra Sokoloff is bringing the work of J. B. and Louisa Rhine to the attention of a new generation.  From the 1920s to 1965, the Rhine parapsychology research lab at Duke University added the spice of parapsychology to the local intellectual scene.  The Rhines investigated ESP, psychokinesis, and poltergeists.  In The Unseen, Laurel MacDonald has left heartbreak in California and moved east to join the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University.  Professor MacDonald’s area of research involves Myers-Briggs typology, but when a library exhibit rekindles her interest in the work of the Rhines, she moves out of her safety zone in more than one sense.  She and a handsome co-worker enlist two exceptional students to help duplicate earlier investigations of poltergeists.  The four move to Folger House, an estate in Moore County and the site of poltergeist manifestations decades before. The tensions and suspicions among the researchers are nothing compared to what they encounter at Folger House.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coastal Plain, Durham, Moore, Piedmont, Sokoloff, Alexandra, Suspense/Thriller

Marcia Colette. Unstable Environment. Mira Loma, CA: Parker Publishing, 2008.

The Charlotte and Triangle Coalitions of were-cheetahs do not get along. When the Charlotte group sabotages an amusement park ride, an innocent human woman and her three year-old niece are injured. In order to save the little girl, Triangle-based were-cheetah healer Rio Velasquez bites her and turns her into a shape-shifter.  The aunt, Sinclair, was already fighting for custody of the little girl, but now she finds herself caught in the middle of the were-cheetahs’ war and falling for the hunky Rio.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Colette, Marcia, Durham, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Science Fiction/Fantasy