Category Archives: New Hanover

New Hanover

Chris Forman. Killer Surf. Lexington, KY: CreateSpace, 2011.

Ian Porthos Wallace is a simple man. He enjoys wearing the kilts of his Scottish ancestry, working as a food writer and photographer, and making his lovely fiancée, Athena Spyros, happy. What Ian doesn’t enjoy is murder, but it falls into his path anyway. Literally. He trips over Brenda Dexter’s body while walking on Wrightsville Beach, a stone’s throw from his home on the North Carolina coast. Ian used to know Brenda as the neighbor lady who locked herself out of the house every so often, but now he’ll be forced to remember her as a dead body.

Murder isn’t the only thing on Ian’s plate. He’s also planning a wedding with (or perhaps in spite of) his intended’s mother, Maria. Since Athena’s last marriage was an absolute disaster, Maria is determined that everything will be perfect for her baby this time around. When Ian gets the bright idea of holding the wedding in Scotland in his family’s ancestral town, Maria is dead set against it. But even with unrest on the home front and a wedding looming in the near future, Ian can’t stop thinking about Brenda Dexter’s murder, which remains a mystery. So he does a little sleuthing of his own, starting with his eccentric neighbors.

First, he talks to Ruby, who lived in the other side of Brenda’s duplex. Ruby is a great gal; she’s a stripper past her prime and her fashion sense favors animal print and pink fluff. But she doesn’t know anything. Next, he gets to know April and May, two eighty-year-old sisters with a passion for the home shopping network, who are similarly clueless about Brenda’s death. Other neighbors and various local characters come and go, but no one knows anything. Then, another murder occurs and someone steps forward with an unexpected confession.

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

Catch up on Ian’s adventures in the first Port City Mystery, Killer Cuisine, coming soon to the North Carolina Collection in Wilson Library.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Forman, Chris, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Zolene. Ecstasy’s Angel. New York: Xlibris, 2000.

In the years following the Civil War, the fiery Katherine St. Clair is a beautiful young woman who is tragically orphaned when her father and stepmother are killed in a bandit-induced train accident. Because Katherine’s stepmother was a malicious woman who squandered away her husband’s wealth and accrued enormous amounts of debt, the extensive St. Clair estate near Wilmington, North Carolina must be sold. The St. Clair family’s sympathetic barrister takes care of all the arrangements, not wanting to hurt the emotionally traumatized young woman further. But Katherine’s trials have just begun.

One dark and stormy night, she takes in a wounded young man, not realizing that he is both the new owner of her ancestral home and a former Yankee captain. Brandon Morgan is handsome, passionate, and completely delirious with fever. Katherine nurses him back to health, all the while fighting her growing attraction to him. Although unintended, the two eventually spend the night together. Brandon, still fevered, is convinced that he has met an angel. Katherine, distressed at her deflowering, sends him to a nearby hospital, determined to forget his name. Besides, her stepbrother, the tall, dark and sultry Ramon Van Marcus, has returned; together they hatch plan to marry in order to receive their small inheritance. But Katherine cannot avoid Brandon Morgan forever, or his determination to find and possess the woman he thinks of as his angel.

Readers of romance novels will be fascinated by Zolene’s highly dramatic interpretation of Reconstruction in this, her debut novel. The portrayal of race and gender are true to nineteenth century opinions, but this does not stop the novel from being a steamy bodice-ripper of the most exciting kind.

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

1 Comment

Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Romance/Relationship, Zolene

Anne V. Wigg. Filex 13. New York: Xlibris, 2007.

Tiffany Silver lives in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina with her husband Shadow and two young children. She has a happy existence running a small dress shop while Shadow works as an oceanographer, and they are surrounded by friends and family. But all of that is about to change. A hurricane destroys their home, and Shadow dies in a mysterious accident at sea. Tiffany and the children are grief-stricken, and rebuilding everything they have lost is a slow process. Over time, life becomes more normal: they move into a new house, and Tiffany’s dress shop is working on the biggest wedding of the decade.

Disaster, however, is about to call again. Something is wrong with the lake near Tiffany’s new house, where she spots glowing bathers late at night, and her best friend from high school, Lindy, has been acting strangely. Steve Treat, the lone survivor of the accident at sea that took Shadow’s life, rouses from his coma muttering nonsense about blue, glowing lights. Incredibly, all of these weird occurrences are linked, and the answer is nothing anyone in Wrightsville Beach would ever have guessed: visitors from another world walk among them.

Now Tiffany and state officials must work quickly to determine the extent of this threat that is slowly polluting North Carolina’s pristine waterways, all while keeping it a secret from an easily-panicked public … and keeping their lives. By turns spooky, scientific, and sentimental, this tale of otherworldly beings doesn’t end at all the way one might think.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, New Hanover, Wigg, Anne V.

Susan Whitfield. Sin Creek. London, TX: L&L Dreamspell, 2011.

UPDATE NOV. 17, 2015: Susan Whitfield’s books are now published by Studebaker Press. The covers of her books have changed since this blog post was originally published.

When she’s called to investigate a murder on the UNC-Wilmington campus, Logan Hunter certainly doesn’t look the part of a tough and capable SBI Agent. Clad in high heels and a silk dress, she comes straight from her own bridal shower. The scene she finds couldn’t be more different than the genteel high tea honoring her impending marriage. Maeve Smoltz wasn’t only killed, she was torn apart. Perhaps more troubling is the evidence of heavy sexual abuse on her body, especially for a brand-new college freshman. Agent Hunter is determined to find some answers, but the ones she uncovers point to far more terrible deeds and only raise more questions. Married quickly in the middle of the investigation, she and her new husband, handsome fellow Agent Chase Reilly, have even more to lose as they work together to bring down the perpetrators of this and other heinous acts. Will their new marriage survive? Will they?

Inspired to write this next installment in the Logan Hunter Mystery Series as a way to raise awareness of the effect the porn industry has on impressionable, often monetarily needy young women trying to make their way through college, Susan Whitfield has written a gripping and sad novel that nonetheless has a hopeful ending. Due to the explicit nature of some material, this book is recommended for mature readers only.

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

1 Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller, Whitfield, Susan

Shelby Adams Lloyd. Grains of Sand. New York: Xlibris, 2007.

Jean Rein is frightened–her husband Mark was murdered, and now she’s getting threatening phone calls.  Reeling from shock and pain, she decides to leave her home and her career in Washington, DC.  Jean is fortunate in that her husband was a successful broker, so she is able to buy a beautiful Victorian house and adjoining property in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.  There she begins to make a new life for herself, finding work, making friends, and reconnecting with family.  She even finds a new love, but there is no escaping the many horrible things that will happen to her.  The phone calls continue, and Jean begins to believe that she is being followed.  She hires a bodyguard, and when he is murdered, Jean fears that she will never escape the terror.  Finally she is kidnapped and brutally assaulted.  Only by pretending to go along with the madman who has stalked her is she able to break free.

This book contains graphic scenes of sex and violence.

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


Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, Lloyd, Shelby Adams, New Hanover, Suspense/Thriller

Diane Chamberlain. The Midwife’s Confession. Don Mills, Ontario: MIRA, 2011.

Thus far 2010 has been a difficult year for Tara Vincent and Emerson Stiles. First, Tara’s husband, Sam, dies in a car accident; then their best friend, a local midwife named Noelle Downie, inexplicably commits suicide. Sam, Noelle, Tara, and Emerson have been best friends since attending UNC Wilmington together in the 1970s, so the double loss is especially hard. The Noelle who Tara and Emerson knew was an ethical, passionate human being devoted to her work; she had no secrets, especially from them. But it appears they didn’t know the real Noelle, something that becomes uncomfortably evident as her private papers reveal more and more about her life, her family, and a horrifying mistake that may have led to her mental destruction.

The shocking revelations pile up, but what hurts Tara even more is the gaping distance growing between her and her daughter, sixteen-year-old Grace. Quiet, dark Grace was especially close to her father, as different from the blonde and outgoing Tara as night is from day. Tara loves her daughter desperately, but she feels helpless to repair their foundering relationship. She envies Emerson’s easy, close bond with her daughter (and Grace’s best friend), Jenny. But Noelle’s secrets will spiral wide to include both mothers and daughters, and nothing will ever be the same again.

Diane Chamberlain presents a heartfelt, intriguing novel about familial relationships: both those we construct through friendships, and those we are born into. No matter how close we are, we never truly know those we love as well as we might think. Written from multiple first-person viewpoints, Chamberlain tells the tales of Noelle, Grace, Tara, and Emerson across fifty years, flowing effortlessly between the past and present. This is an excellent beach read, book club novel, or for any time.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, Mystery, New Hanover, Robeson, Romance/Relationship

Laura S. Wharton. The Pirate’s Bastard. Kernersville, NC: Second Wind Publishing, 2010.

Edward Marshall’s life in 1741 is a classic tale of the self-made man: by the age of twenty-four, he’s risen from a lowly orphan in Barbados to a master shipwright in  Brunswick, a bustling port town in the great colony of North Carolina. A possible lumber deal with the wealthy merchant Thaddeus Jenkins of Wilmington means that Edward will achieve even greater success; it doesn’t hurt that Jenkins has a beautiful daughter, either. In addition to being extremely pretty, Miss Sarah Jenkins is also smart and adventurous, and Edward is soon head-over-heels in love. But an old seaman in Merchant Jenkins’ employ, Ignatius Pell, thinks he knows Edward from somewhere else, and he  threatens to ruin the young couple’s future happiness by revealing  a dark secret Edward thought he left behind on Barbados. For Edward is not Edward Marshall, but the illegitimate son of the infamous pirate Stede Bonnet and his French mistress Anne Marie, a redheaded lady of the night who passed her crimson locks and steely blue eyes on to her baby son before she tragically died.

Ignatius Pell certainly has a long memory, and trapped in his twisted brain is the location of a rich treasure buried by Bonnet in the islands before his untimely death at the hands of the law. Since Edward has convenient access to many ships and may have a bit of the pirate spirit in him, Ignatius proposes that they set sail in search of the treasure, unless Edward would rather that Miss Jenkins and her father learn of his sordid family tree. What follows is a seafaring adventure of the best kind, but reader beware: just like quests for pirate treasure, pirate tales rarely end in a predictable, or peaceful, manner.

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


Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Brunswick, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Wharton, Laura S.

Blonnie Bunn Wyche. The Anchor: P. Moore Proprietor. Wilmington, NC: Banks Channel Books, 2003.

I don’t consider my questions treason. I think it’s more about common sense. Pauline Moore is full of questions, and opinions. Everyone is: it is 1764 and the small town of Brunswick, North Carolina, along with the rest of the colony, is stirring under England’s stifling taxation. Unfortunately, since Pauline is female and only fifteen at that, she is expected to stay quiet and serve the real thinkers: men. But when her profligate father leaves town, Pauline is the only one left to take charge of her little sisters, sick mother, and the family tavern. The next few years will be hard ones: this spunky heroine will face the chaos of a budding rebellion, the daily tasks of managing a business and household, and powerful men who assume that her gender makes her a weak and simple target. Pauline is anything but. Educated, strong, and stubborn, she grows to adulthood alongside her new nation, where she imagines everyone, including slaves and women, will be free.

In this beautifully written and precisely researched tale, Blonnie Bunn Wyche provides a stirring look at the colonial town of Brunswick (now in ruins), the birth of the Revolutionary War in North Carolina, and a strong and fiery heroine who dares to stand up for freedom for all. Pauline Moore’s bravery and moral code will resonate in the minds of young women and readers everywhere.

Winner of the Juvenile Fiction Award from the American Association of University Women, and the N.C. Historical Society of Sherrills Ford’s Clark Cox Fiction Award.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Brunswick, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Romance/Relationship, Wyche, Blonnie Bunn

Blonnie Bunn Wyche. Cecilia’s Harvest: A Novel of the Revolution. Wilmington, NC: Whittler’s Bench Press, 2009.

Cecilia Moore is certain of two things: first, that she has to get away from her hardworking older sister Pauline and the hateful family tavern, and second, that Kenneth Black, atop his fine stallion, Big Boy, is the handsomest man in Wilmington, if not all North Carolina. The winter’s day in 1775 when he asks for her hand in marriage is the happiest of her sixteen-year-old life: he drapes her in a diamond necklace and promises to whisk her away to his prosperous farm full of servants. Cecilia cannot imagine that within a few months, just as the country plunges further into deadly warfare, she too will be fighting for mere survival. Murder, pregnancy, wild animals, and marauding British soldiers make life an unforgiving onslaught, and as quickly as Cecilia’s fortunes rise, the next day only brings more brutal tests. But Cecilia, in addition to being a crack shot with her rifle, is possessed of a nimble mind and a brave heart. Whatever dangers threaten, she finds she has the strength to rise and meet them again and again.

As Americans, we know the story of the Revolutionary War: taxation, then Declaration, followed by fighting and eventually freedom. But what of the smaller stories, the personal tales that won our nation its liberty? Blonnie Bunn Wyche follows her award-winning novel, The Anchor: P. Moore Proprietor, with the suspenseful story of a young woman struggling to survive the bitter years of revolution. Cecilia Moore Black is a stalwart, gutsy heroine who will make an excellent addition to any young adult’s reading list.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Brunswick, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Pender, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller, Wyche, Blonnie Bunn

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Murder at the Holiday Flotilla. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2010.

Both Ashley and Melanie are filled with happiness as this latest novel in the Murder in Wilmington Series opens.  Melanie is about to become the president of the North Carolina Association of Realtors, a post that she has long desired.  Ashley is a new mother, with twin boys who delight her and Jon and their extended family–Melanie and her husband Cam, half-sister Scarlett, and Aunt Ruby and her husband Binkie.  Family is much on Ashley’s mind, and she is tickled to learn that her sons’ pediatrician, Amy Wood, may also be kin.

Dr. Wood lives on land across the river in Brunswick County that has been in the Wood family for generations.  Ashley hopes to explore her kinship connection–and family tales of hidden treasure–when she helps Dr. Wood restore the house on the property.  But when Ashley and Jon’s first visit to the house is interrupted by an ugly confrontation between Dr. Wood and a neighbor, the reader is alerted to the fact that something is up.  That something involves animal cruelty, land speculation, dirty politics, and old documents that point to the truth about those stories of hidden treasure.  Melanie’s professional goals are put in jeopardy when she is connected to two murders, but once again the sisters emerge relatively unscathed in this cheerful, history-rich mystery.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Brunswick, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series