Category Archives: Mecklenburg

Mecklenburg

J. Leon Pridgen, II. Hidden Secrets, Hidden Lives. New York: Strebor Books, 2011.

Travis Moore has been able to move beyond his troubled past.  As a high school student named Perry he became a drug runner, in part to keep his mother off the streets. His partner in crime was his good friend Kwame “Bone” Brown.  But while Perry kept his grades up and his street profile low, Bone wanted respect on the streets, dressing flashy and pushing the limits. Bone’s behavior eventually landed him in a juvenile detention facility.  As agreed, Bone did not give up Perry and in return Perry left Bone their remaining drug stash and all their cash.

As the years go by, Bone comes to believe that he got the raw end of the deal, and he plots revenge against Perry, now a college graduate, married man, and a financial professional for a large home improvement chain.  The crafty Bone uses his drugs and cash to lure old friends and a young boy that Travis has been mentoring into the plot against Perry/Travis.  Author Pridgen gives us a chilling look at how the desire for revenge can warp a person and how in tense moments each of us acts in our own self-interest.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Pridgen, J. Leon

J. Leon Pridgen, II. Color of Justice. New York: Strebor Books, 2011.

James Pruitt grew up with the security that every child deserves.  He knew that he was adopted, but his adoptive parents, William and Mamie Pruitt, always made him feel like he was their own.  Their love, and the careful guidance that he received from them, has helped him to succeed in school.  As this novel opens, James believes that he has the inner strength that will allow him to be successful in his career, begin his own family, and handle whatever life throws at him.

Have brother …. Help him.  James has no idea what his father’s final words could mean until he finds a box of newspaper clippings and photographs in William’s closet.  Only then does Mamie tell James about his parents and that his birth mother had another son–a man who is now on death row.  Warren Johnson isn’t pleased when James comes to see him in prison.  Warren resents the easy life that James has had and he thinks that the man who raised him, Geoffrey Taylor, is doing all that can be done to save him.  James, a lawyer, has a bad feeling about Taylor, and his prosecutor’s instincts won’t let him accept Warren’s case at face value.  Although it upsets his mother and strains his relationship with his girlfriend and his boss, James and his friend Chuck race to clear Warren’s name, no matter what the cost.

Despite the dirty dealings that James and Chuck uncover, this well plotted novel is at heart a warm story of family and loyalty.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Mecklenburg, Mountains, Piedmont, Pridgen, J. Leon, Wake

Erin McCarthy. Hot Finish. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2010.

Ryder Jefferson and his feisty ex-wife, Suzanne, take center stage in this third book in McCarthy’s Fast Track series.  Suzanne has her hands full planning an over-the-top wedding for a race car driver and his bridezilla fiancée.  After a stint on the board of a medical charity, Suzanne’s heart just isn’t in wedding planning anymore, but she has to keep at it.  Suzanne is close to broke, without a steady income or alimony from Ryder.

Ryder would be happy to pay alimony to Suzanne.  He considers himself an openhanded man, and he is concerned about Suzanne’s financial security.  But there’s more to it than that.  He still has feelings for Suzanne and wishes that he tried harder to keep her.  In the parlance of his profession, he thinks he quit the race a few laps too soon.

But fate may give them another chance.  For the past few months, Suzanne has been enlisting Ryder’s help with the matchmaking she’s done for some friends; Ryder is to be a groomsman in bridezilla’s wedding; and on top of that, it turns out that the paperwork for their divorce is incomplete.  Suzanne and Ryder are still legally married!  As the story unfolds, readers learn the history of Ryder and Suzanne’s marriage and the source of Suzanne’s prickliness.  The character development is particularly good  in Hot Finish, but the book also delivers the snappy repartee and sexy scenes that are standard elements of  this series.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Cabarrus, McCarthy, Erin, Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Erin McCarthy. Hard and Fast. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2010.

This book gets off to a fast start.  Who can resist a novel in which the heroine quotes Shakespeare and the hero compares himself to an old work boot?  Yet that’s just what Imogene Wilson and Ty McCardle do as they sit in her car debating  whether to go back into the party they’ve been at or take off to his condo for a night of more private adventure.  Ty is a stock car driver, just pushing past thirty and starting to think that he should begin dating women closer to his age with whom he might want to settle down.  Imogene is a graduate student in sociology at a Charlotte area university.   She and Ty meet because Imogene’s academic mentor is Tamara, the heroine in an earlier Erin McCarthy novel who is now married to NASCAR drive Elec Monroe.  Through Tamara Imogene meets drivers, their wives and ex-wives, and women who think it would be great to be a NASCAR wife.   Mixing with these people and coming across the book How to Marry a Race Car Driver in Six Easy Steps gives Imogene the idea for her thesis: she will test if it’s possible to follow a set of guidelines to success in an area as unpredictable as courtship.  Imogene is as straight-forward as they come, so early on she lets Ty know her interest in him is purely academic.  She even enlists his help to prepare her to move around more knowledgeably  in racing circles.  (The book says that drivers like a woman who knows the history of the sport.) Despite the odds, Imogene and Ty fall in love, but when Ty shares a secret that he had kept from Imogene and most everyone else, their romance hits a rough patch.  Readers of McCarthy’s previous race car romance, Flat-Out Sexy, will enjoy the reappearance of Tamara, Elec, Suzanne, and Ryder as characters in this book, and they can look forward to McCarthy’s next novel in which Suzanne and her ex-husband Ryder take center stage.

 

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, McCarthy, Erin, Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Péron Long. The First Person. Deer Park, NY: Urban Renaissance, 2010.

T’Shobi Wells is an up-and-coming gospel star who has just moved to Charlotte, North Carolina from his childhood home of Atlanta. Running from a dark childhood filled with abuse and molestation from adults who should have been there to protect him, he has tried to move on with his life, but keeps getting caught in bad situations. At the moment, he’s currently involved in a torrid affair with two people: one is the wife of his pastor…and the other is the pastor himself. Justine and Seth Reynolds have no idea that T’Shobi is fooling around with both of them, and T’Shobi plans to keep it that way. But Tanisha Jackson, an innocent young woman with a serious crush on the charismatic and talented T’Shobi, might ruin everything.

Tanisha truly believes that what God wants most is for her to make T’Shobi see that she’s the one for him, but as he continually pushes her away, the impressionable young woman slowly loses herself. The sweet Tanisha vanishes, replaced by her alter-ego TiTi: a violent, sexually deviant young woman who will go to any length to make sure T’Shobi is punished for ignoring her. In this dark, gritty urban drama, the reader is witness to the psychological and physical damage that human beings are capable of visiting on themselves and others in their intimate relationships.

This book is not recommended for young readers.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Long, Péron, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Urban Fiction

Liz Clarke. Aunt Ellie Turns Sleuth. New York: iUniverse, 2007.

Eleanor Lee’s life has settled into a pleasant groove.  Although the niece who she raised has left for Wyoming, Ellie still has family and friends in North Carolina.  Ellie and her partner Kathryn have bought a nice house in Charlotte. To complete the household Ellie has gotten a big dog, the appropriately named Mutt.

As this novel opens, Mutt and Ellie are on their morning walk in a Charlotte park when Mutt pulls Ellie off the path after he picks up the scent of a dead body.  In short order the police arrive and determine that the man had been stabbed to death.  A nice young police officer, Chris Marchand, takes Ellie’s statement and sees to it that she and Mutt get home safely.   Although Ellie is shaken by the discovery of the body, she is curious too.  Despite advice from family and friends to leave the investigation to the police, Ellie starts making her own inquiries.   She has a good network to tap: a local judge who walks his dog in the same park, Kathryn’s psychiatrist brother who treated the dead man’s wife, and that nice police officer–who has been dating Kathryn’s niece.  As this leisurely cozy mystery unfolds, readers learn more about Ellie’s past, and the surprising way it connects to the case.

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

The UNC-Chapel Hill Library also has the prequel to this novel, She Sold Sea Shells, in which Aunt Eleanor’s niece, Shell Lee (Shelly) McGivern, learns what happened to the mother who abandoned her.  Although Shelly is a small town police officer in North Carolina, the action of the novel takes places in Wyoming.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Clarke, Liz, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Piedmont

Casey Mayes. A Deadly Row. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2010.

Savannah Stone isn’t pleased that her husband Zach, the retired police chief of Charlotte, North Carolina, is going back to the Queen City to help with a murder investigation, but she knows that she can’t stop him. Their friend, Mayor Grady Winslow, appears to be in danger, and besides, Zach misses the thrill of the hunt. That’s one of the benefits of Savannah’s job as a crossword puzzle maker – she can work on the go and even help Zach solve cases from time to time. As much as Savannah and Zach hate leaving their new happy home in Parson’s Valley, they are excited to return to their old stomping grounds. From the get-go, Savannah and Zach are confronted with questioning their friends to find out who has already murdered two people. As they collect clues left by the villain, the Stones realize that they are in danger. Using her gifts as a math whiz, Savannah cracks the code – and uncovers a mystery about her own family.

A Deadly Row is the first novel in the “Mystery by the Numbers” series.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Mayes, Casey, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Erin McCarthy. Flat-Out Sexy. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2008.

Tamara Briggs was widowed at thirty when her husband, NASCAR driver Pete Briggs, was killed during a race at Talladega.  In the two years since then, Tamara has concentrated on her career as a sociology professor and on providing nurture and normalcy for her two children.  Her only foray into the world of dating has been some decidedly lukewarm evenings with one of her colleagues.  When Tamara takes him to  a cocktail party fundraiser and her good friend Suzanne gives the sweater-clad professor a very critical once-over, Tamara knows that Suzanne speaks the truth–this man is not for her.  Distracted by this realization, Tamara bumps into a stranger, Elec Monroe. The attraction is instantaneous and mutual.

During their first night together (graphically described) Tamara remembers how exciting a man can be, but Elec is just the kind of man she promised herself she’d stay away from–a race car driver.   A driver’s life is too  nomadic and unpredictable–and full of temptations and danger.  Having lost her husband, the father of her children, Tamara can’t face that heartbreak again.  Plus, Elec Monroe has more than the average amount of baggage–his father and Tamara’s father-in-law, once good friends, are now bitter enemies; he is being pursued by a woman who just might be crazy;  and Elec’s career is about to take off–he may even be rookie of the year.

Like a race track designed by a joker, Tamara’s romance with Elec takes some unexpected turns.  Chicken pox, jury duty, unhappy in-laws, a wreck, and a false paternity claim all stand between Tamara and Elec and happily-ever-after, but readers will enjoy the ride.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, McCarthy, Erin, Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Casey Mayes. Mystery by the Numbers Series.

Puzzles require patience, and luckily for Savannah Stone, her husband Zach knows that better than anyone. As a popular crossword puzzle designer, Savannah has a method for each of her creations that demands quiet and room for trial and error. Zach appreciates these techniques because before he retired as police chief of Charlotte, North Carolina, he employed many of them himself. Now that Zach is doing consultant work with police forces around the country, Savannah finds herself following him on his adventures (after all, she can always fax her puzzles into her syndicate). But she isn’t just along for the ride: Savannah’s penchant for cracking codes complements Zach’s detective expertise. As they work together to solve problems quickly, their love for each other is a mystery to no one.

Find all the novels in the “Mystery by the Numbers” series at the UNC-Chapel Hill Libraries by clicking on the titles listed below:

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Filed under 2010-2019, Mayes, Casey, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Piedmont, Series

Shana Burton. Catt Chasin’. Deer Park , NY: Urban Books, 2011.

Who likes it when some new co-worker comes in and starts telling you that you’ve been doing your job wrong?  That’s what chemist Catt Cason gets when Jamal Ford joins the R&D department at Telegenic, an up-and-coming cosmetics company in Charlotte.  Catt has just been promoted from the teen fragrance line to the women’s line.  Jamal thinks her creations are unsophisticated bubble gum scents.  Catt is stunned by Jamal’s arrogance and the way he doesn’t hesitate to get in her face with his opinions.  Catt complains to management, but she is told that Telegenic has paid a lot of money to lure Jamal and that she will have to learn to work with him.  And Catt gets no sympathy from her friends at the the company– Jamal is good looking, charming, and sexy, and half the women in the company want to date him.

Jamal is not the only man making trouble for Catt.  Her father, Pastor Jeremiah Cason, thinks that it is time for his only child to marry and produce some grandchildren.  Pastor Cason is sure that that his assistant, Eldon James, would be a perfect husband for Catt and begins to put the two of them together in all kinds of situations.  Catt is a dutiful daughter and a believing Christian, but she knows that there is no real spark between her and the young minister.  Although she resists it, Catt feels an electricity between her and her arrogant, sexy co-worker.  Her faith and self-restraint are put to a test when Catt and Jamal are sent on a three week promotional tour for a new product line. Pastor Cason gathers a group of prayer warriors to pray for her, but little do they know what the trip has in store for Catt–and for Jamal.  This will be a road trip that goes a long way toward healing some old hurts, and advancing their careers—and just maybe something else.

 

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Burton, Shana, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship