Category Archives: Wake


Gregory Funaro. The Impaler. New York: Pinnacle Books, 2011.

FBI Special Agent Sam Markham barely has a day to adjust to his new home in Quantico, Virginia before his boss comes calling. Another body has been found in Raleigh, North Carolina: bound, gagged and horribly impaled, just like the first two. Even though Sam is still recovering from an exhausting case in Tampa as well as dealing with the impending execution of his wife’s murderer, he doesn’t hesitate. He goes to Raleigh to hunt down the killer the press is calling the Impaler. But finding the killer is easier said than done– the Impaler has his own strange codes, symbols, and portents that lead Agent Markham and the rest of the FBI on a twisted journey through Babylonian mythology, the Iraq War, and medieval Romania.

Edmund Lambert works by day as an assistant in the theater at local Harriot College, but by night, he is the General. Meticulous in his plans, the General is laying the way for the Prince to return to Earth…but in order to do that, the General must kill. Within the ancestral Lambert family farmhouse, he reeducates his victims, and topping their headless corpses with the taxidermied head of a lion, uses them as a sacred door through which to communicate with his Prince. The hour of the Prince’s coming is getting closer, andLambert must ensure that all is in perfect readiness.

As the body count increases almost daily, Agent Markham employs all of his skills to find this monster before it’s too late. But will his work be enough? A grisly psychological thriller, this prequel to The Sculptor leaves the reader pondering the thin line between cop and killer.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Funaro, Gregory, Horror, Piedmont, Wake

Diane Chamberlain. The Good Father. Don Mills, Ontario: Mira Books, 2012.

Travis Brown is struggling. A single father at the young age of twenty-two, he loses his mother and home in Carolina Beach, North Carolina to a terrible fire. Beyond the grief of his mother’s death, Travis has also lost the only source of free, reliable childcare he has for his four-year-old daughter Bella. Without it, he can’t keep his job as a construction worker, and without work, he and Bella are quickly living on the edge of homelessness. Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to reach out to Bella’s mother Robin, Travis’s high school sweetheart– Robin’s father forced Travis to sign a contract after Bella was born, swearing that Travis would never again seek to contact her.

Robin Saville is living in Beaufort, North Carolina. Born with a serious heart condition, her teenage pregnancy nearly killed her, but the recent gift of a new heart has given her new hope for life. Lied to by her father and believing Travis to be happily married, Robin puts him and her baby behind her, beginning work at a small bed and breakfast in the coastal town. She doesn’t expect to fall in love with Beaufort’s wealthiest son, Dale Hendricks, but she does, and they quickly  engaged. The Hendricks clan are a central pillar of Beaufort life: politically active and well-connected, they present a perfect facade to the rest of the world. That is, until teenaged Alissa Hendricks, the youngest and proverbial black sheep of the family, gets pregnant. Suddenly Robin can’t stop thinking of her baby, and what she gave up. But how could she ever have her daughter back in her life?

Living in a trailer park in Carolina Beach and relying on the kindness of a new neighbor to look after Bella, Travis fruitlessly searches for work. But then the neighbor, a beautiful woman named Savannah, mentions that a friend in Raleigh has sure construction work. All Travis has to do is pick up and go. It seems tenuous, but Travis is desperate, so he and Bella hit the road for the state capital. But when they arrive, the situation is much different, and much more dangerous, than Travis was lead to believe. He’s willing to do anything for Bella…but will he do something that means he might lose her forever?

In a style that readers of Diane Chamberlain have come to know and love, the author weaves together three separate voices and lives to create yet another beautiful tale of parents and children in the Old North State.

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


Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Carteret, Chamberlain, Diane, Coast, New Hanover, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller, Wake

K. Robert Campbell. Second Hand. North Carolina: Coastal Highlands Press, 2010.

Cameron Scott thinks of himself as a simple country lawyer, but he does have a way of getting into things.  In this, the fourth novel in this series, Cameron heads to Raleigh to argue a case before the North Carolina Court of Appeals.  The case–involving the sale of a used furniture business–hardly seems worth the court’s time.  It’s such a small-time case that the disgruntled store owners, the Bentons, are being represented by their son, who has just been admitted to the bar.  Ken Benton seems nice enough, but Cameron barely has time to size him up before a tornado bears down on the courthouse.  In an instant, the courtroom is in shambles and a judge is dead.  This is just the beginning, for soon another judge will die, unexplained explosions will occur around town, and authorities will rush to see if any of this is related to the President’s impending visit to Raleigh.  The two lawyers, and Cameron’s wife Mary, are caught up in the Secret Service’s investigation in this fast-paced, high-stakes novel.  Ken Benton provides comic relief even as he shows some surprising abilities; readers will be watching to see if he appears in future books in the series.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Campbell, K. Robert, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller, Wake

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.


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

A. L. Provost. The Trust of Old Men: The Coastal Plain Conspiracy. New York: Xlibris, 2010.

This complicated mystery, set in North Carolina during the Roaring Twenties, begins simply. UNC Hill freshman Alan Barksdale has labored diligently all first semester, with the dream of one day becoming a banker like his esteemed father, Marvin Barksdale. Mr. Barksdale is currently both the trust officer and manager of the enormously wealthy Commerce Bank in Raleigh due to the terrible death of the previous manager. Impatient to be reunited with his family for the winter holidays, young Barksdale hops in his brand-new, 1920 four-door Ford the minute classes end on the evening of December 20th. The snow falls thick and fast, and Alan tragically fails to see the young woman waving her hands in the middle of the road until it is too late. At least that’s what the Good Samaritan who stops to help tells the distraught young man.

Speaking of tragedy, seventeen wealthy, elderly men and women have passed away during 1920 on the Coastal Plain. But these deaths are no mystery: the Lenoir County Medical Examiner has carefully determined that each death was simply the result of age. Heart attacks, a misstep on the stairs, and falling overboard during fishing expeditions are only to be expected when men and women pass their seventies! Unfortunately for the departed, it’s possible that their ends were hastened by a lack of living kin on whom to spend their time and considerable fortunes–kin who might have prevented these accidents.

At first glance, no honest citizen would ever think that these deaths and Alan’s fatal car crash were related. But Norman Bates, a hotshot young reporter from Kinston, smells a rat. Now he’s on the tail of the biggest heist in North Carolina…maybe even America. But will he survive long enough to discover the truth?

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


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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Historical, Lenoir, Mystery, Provost, A. L., Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Roy Irwin Gift. Moon Blue.[United States]: Spirit Books, 2011.

Sergeant Holly Rollins comes home to Raleigh, North Carolina in the spring of 1943 to recover from the bloody carnage he experienced on Guadalcanal. With him he brings malaria and a lung fungus, a load of shrapnel embedded in his back, and a mind tormented by the horrors of fighting the Japanese. His hometown hails him as a hero, he’s given a medal of honor, and the mayor asks Holly to ride next to him in a victory parade, but that doesn’t change the fact that Holly’s best friend since childhood and comrade-in-arms, Powell Reddy, is buried in a swamp back on that island. Sergeant Rollins needs time and space to heal wounds both physical and mental.

Unfortunately, Raleigh in 1943 isn’t a peaceful place for healing. LaBelle Blue, the black woman who raised Holly, needs him to investigate the murder of her granddaughter Lana, and bring justice to her killer. This is no easy task in a time of such rampant disregard for the life of a young, poor, black girl, but LaBelle wants to bury her grandchild, so Holly goes looking. As he investigates, the young sergeant turns up old friends, enemies, lovers, and many memories. Angered by the racism and segregation that frustrate his attempts to discover the murderer, Holly quickly becomes entangled in the events surrounding Lana’s death, which encompass more than he could imagine.

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




Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Gift, Roy Irwin, Historical, Mystery, Piedmont, Wake

Maggie McLaughlin. Cass and the Gluttonous Gardener. Lexington, KY, 2011.

Gardening seems like a gentle and genteel hobby.  Who knew that the world of professional gardening could be such a hotbed of cattiness, jealousy, and sexual intrigue?  When Cass Nottingham, a national expert on cottage gardens, agrees to come to Raleigh for a conference sponsored by the Allencamp Seed Company, she knows she’ll see the man of her dreams, David Caldwell, a famous nursery owner.  They’ll be speaking at the meeting, along with Gary Graybeard, a garden columnist, Fiona Fenwick, editor of a chic gardening magazine, and the saintly Millicent Stephens, an expert on container gardening.  Rounding out the group of experts is Andrew Hawkins, a botany professor, who will be bestowing his professional blessing on Allencamp’s attempt to introduce certain exotic Asian plants into America.

The conference gets off to a rocky start when Allencamp’s president becomes violently ill on the first day.  When the police learn that he has been poisoned, all the speakers become suspects–and potential victims.  Fans of Agatha Christie style mysteries will enjoy Cass and the Gluttonous Gardener.  Readers who are looking for a lot of Raleigh local color should look elsewhere.  Almost all the action takes place in the unnamed convention hotel, and only passing mention is made of the city and its charms.

The main character of this series, Cassandra Nottingham, is a gardening expert from the Puget Sound area. Other books in the series are set in the Pacific Northwest.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, McLaughlin, Maggie, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Therese Fowler. Exposure. New York, NY: Ballantine Books, 2011.

Therese Fowler’s powerful novel, based loosely on the real-life experiences of one of her children, reminds us of the horrifying way that a community can lose its head. The story begins simply: Amelia Wilkes and Anthony Winter are in love. She is 17, he is 18, and together they have built a fairytale world of their entwined dreams. Together they will attend NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, living together in an apartment in New York City, and starring together on Broadway. Always together. But Amelia’s father, Harlan Wilkes, has different plans. Having clawed his way from the very bottom of life to the very top, he is as determined as any loving father would be to see that his precious baby, his little girl, never has to experience the poverty and deprivation that was once his lot. She will attend Duke University, only a few miles from the Wilkes’ Raleigh mansion, where she will major in something financially sound. One day, far off in the future, she will marry a wealthy, charming husband who will take care of her for the rest of her life.

Then, in a moment, that vision shatters when he finds nude photographs of an unknown young man on her computer.

What follows is a tragedy, and very nearly worse, in the most heart-stopping of ways. With a deft hand and the voice of personal experience, Fowler explores the depth of emotion and consequences that occur when two teenagers are publicly criminalized nearly beyond recognition. This novel does, and should, provoke conversations about the abuse of justice, the power of fear, and the difficulty of allowing a child to become an adult in a society that is both predatory and cruel. Therese Fowler’s novel suggests that, while placing trust in an adolescent to choose rightly is terrifying, withholding that trust can be more damaging than we think.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Fowler, Therese, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Wake

Maureen Crane Wartski. Yuri’s Brush with Magic. Durham, NC: Sleepy Hollow Books, 2010.

“Mean” Yuri Hamada is a family legend. When Nana married an American, her sister Yuri refused to reply to her letters and never spoke to her again, or at least that’s what everyone thinks. So when “Mean” Yuri surprises the family and rents a cottage on the Outer Banks, living with Yuri for the summer is the very last thing Tammy and her brother Ken want. Unfortunately they have no choice: their mother, the victim of a terrible accident, is in the hospital and their father thinks it would be better for them to get away for awhile, even if it means living with “Mean” Yuri. Protesting, the youngsters are bundled off to the North Carolina shore, where they decide to be as terrible as possible in order to convince Yuri to send them back to Raleigh. But it doesn’t work. Yuri’s magical painting abilities entrance the children, as does her storytelling. Tammy and Ken begin to understand more about their Hamada roots, and even “Mean” Yuri. Their terrible summer trapped with an evil woman turns into one they will remember forever, bringing with it both difficult and liberating life lessons about self-reliance and the power of the heart. Filled with compelling characters, Japanese lore, and baby sea turtles, Yuri’s Brush with Magic will keep young readers and parents alike as enthralled as if Yuri were reading it aloud herself, for Maureen Wartski’s beautiful prose lingers in the mind long after the tale is done.

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


Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Piedmont, Wake, Wartski, Maureen Crane

Jacquelin Thomas. Shades of Gray. New York: Steeple Hill Books, 2006.

Sela and Rodney Barnes married when they were quite young, and as this novel opens they are celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary.  They have built a good life together–their two oldest children are in college at North Carolina State University, and Rodney owns a successful trucking business.  But Rodney’s parents have never accepted Sela.  They believe that Rodney’s marriage to Sela and the quick birth of their oldest daughter kept Rodney from finishing college and becoming to white collar professional that they expected him to be.  Although it is unsaid, Sela can sense that they disapprove of her because she is African American and Mr. and Mrs. Barnes are white.

Sela’s relationship with Mr. and Mrs. Barnes is one of the few points of tension between her and Rodney.  Religion is the other one.  Rodney has been born again as a Christian; he and the children attend church each week and he looks to the Bible for guidance in his daily life.  Shortly after the celebration of  their twentieth wedding anniversary, Rodney is diagnosed with heart disease.  After a heart transplant fails to save Rodney, Sela is left to raise the children and run the business alone.  Reading Rodney’s diary, and an intervention by her two oldest children, help Sela to see the value of religion and to make peace with her in-laws. There will be challenges ahead, but Sela and her family–all of them–will go down the road together.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational, Thomas, Jacquelin, Wake