Category Archives: 2007

2007

Donna Ball. Gun Shy. New York: Signet, 2007.

Book three in the Raine Stockton Dog Mysteries has all the elements that made the first two such great reads: murder, mystery, and of course, adorable dogs.

Every fall, the tourists flock to picturesque Hanover County in the mountains of North Carolina. They buy local crafts, hike on the trails, and generally annoy the locals. But one tourist has created more of a calamity than usual: Michelle White is found dead in the cabin she rented with her husband, presumably by her own hand. Her husband is nowhere to be found, and her hysterical dog (who has been trapped for days without food or water) won’t let the sheriff’s department retrieve her body. Luckily, the sheriff’s niece is Raine Stockton, whose whole life is devoted to training and understanding dogs. Raine calms the terrified yellow lab, expecting to find an ordinary family pet, but Hero (as she decides to call him) is something else entirely.

Michelle was partially paralyzed, and Hero was her service dog. Trained by an expert agency, Hero can fetch phones, turn on lights, and open doors. But why would Michelle White kill herself and leave her dog to fend for himself for four days? Most of all, how could she kill herself by holding the gun in her paralyzed right arm? Raine and her energetic golden retriever companion, Cisco, are soon on the trail of a murderer. But distractions get in the way–a bothersome new neighbor, her (sort of) ex-husband Buck, and Cisco himself, who likes nothing more than a bit of mayhem. Raine doesn’t see the danger until it’s right in front of her nose, and by then, it might be too late.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Ball, Donna, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller

Maurice Stanley. Midwinter: A Novel of the Frankie Silver Murder. Wilmington, NC: Whittler’s Bench Press, 2007.

History tells us that Frances “Frankie” Silver of Morganton, North Carolina, murdered her husband Charlie during a fight in late December of 1831. According to Frankie, Charlie Silver had been loading his musket in a jealous rage at the time in order to kill her.  Perhaps it is the whim of fate, and the expediency of axes over that of early 19th century firearms, that Frankie lived and Charlie died. Although the murderess attempted to conceal her actions, it’s said that she regretted his death bitterly. Eventually, however, Charlie’s family found her out, and Frankie was executed by hanging in the summer of 1833.

Maurice Stanley’s account of this infamous tale, long part of North Carolina mountain lore, is part historical fact, part fictional characterization, and part ghost story. He takes the perspective of various persons reputedly involved in the affair, including that of Frankie and Charlie’s families, the ill-fated couple themselves, and local law enforcement. He renders an imaginative retelling of this well-known classic, and provides a comprehensive list of resources for anyone interested in the historical accounts. But one thing will never be settled by reading newspaper stories or first-hand reports: do the vengeful ghosts of Frankie and Charlie Silver still walk the earth to this day?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog. For more information on Frankie Silver and her story, come by the North Carolina Collection and discover our historical sources, including the official court record from the Morganton News-Herald.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Burke, Historical, Mountains, Stanley, Maurice, Suspense/Thriller

William F. Kaiser. Bloodroot. Deep Gap, NC: Bloodroot Books, 2007.

It’s 1860, and Billy Jack Truehill thinks he’s a goner for sure. Bitten by a giant rattlesnake while hunting alone in the North Carolina mountains, the tough woodsman knows he’s likely to perish. But Providence must smile on Billy Jack, for instead of dying in the forest, he stumbles onto the Widow Johnson’s humble homestead.

Elvira May Johnson was gently raised in New York City, where she was married off to the affluent Methodist preacher, Reverend Hiram Johnson. At twenty years her senior, Reverend Johnson was not her ideal match, but Elvira May bowed to the wishes of her father and brothers. But a sudden, unexplained assignment to a parish in western North Carolina meant Elvira May was uprooted from all she knew and loved, and taken out of civilization into the mountain wilds. Yet, the twenty-four-year old Elvira proved stronger than anyone thought, learning herb-lore from local granny-women and how to care for her humble living space. When Hiram died, the self-sufficient Elvira was more than prepared to cope on her own. Or at least she thought she was, until the day Billy Jack falls over in her cornfield.

Elvira heals Billy Jack’s snakebite, and it doesn’t take long for them to begin courting. Unfortunately, the day they marry is just after the formation of the Confederacy, and it doesn’t take long for the simmering mountain communities to boil over. Now Elvira and Billy Jack must fight to defend their country, their neighbors, and their very lives. But can a young woman with strong ideas about abolition and a young man with a stubborn streak a mile wide survive in the wartime mountain wilds for five years? With bandits, soldiers, and feuding neighbors roaming the highlands, it will take a lot more providence to see them through.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Historical, Kaiser, William F., Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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

D. H. Caldwell. Velma. New York: iUniverse, 2007.

Calvin “Cal” Curtis has recently retired and decides that instead of endless rounds of golf, he should put his newly unlimited free time towards solving  a murder from his childhood. As a fifteen-year-old paper boy in Gastonia in 1930, Cal lost his virginity to the sultry, nineteen-year-old Velma, the niece of one of his customers. One day she was found murdered more than fifty miles away in McDowell County, and the mystery of the killer was never resolved. Now Cal is determined to find out the truth, and write a novel on the circumstances of the crime.

He slowly tracks down old acquaintances from his youth, from Velma’s aunt and uncle, to mutual neighbors, to young women he knew as a teenger. Cal is happily married to a lovely woman named Gwenn, but that doesn’t seem to matter to some of the ladies with whom he’s catching up: they still see him as fair game and are eager to talk him out of his clothes. Dodging sexual advances and eating plenty of hearty diner fare, Cal journeys across North Carolina and Virginia, discovering more and more about Velma’s sexual exploits–dangerous behavior that ultimately led to her death.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Caldwell, D. H., Gaston, Henderson, Mystery

Phil Bowie. Diamondback. Aurora, IL: Medallion Press, 2007.

When the Cherokee were exiled from their mountains in 1838, their secrets and lore went with them, including how to find their precious gold mines. The new inhabitants of the Smoky Mountains have been searching ever since for these riches, finding some, but untold wealth still lies hidden in the North Carolina hills for those who know where to look. Moses Kyle isn’t the smartest of men, but he knows the backcountry of Haywood County, and one day he finds the ultimate motherload: a secret cave full of quartz and gold. But when the wrong people find out about his secret knowledge, they will do anything to extract the location. The local Cagle clan are many things, but patient isn’t one of them. Determined to souse out riches, they use their familial connections to a Pentecostal preacher (and his collection of snakes) to interrogate Moses.

Meanwhile, life has been difficult for John Hardin (formerly Sam Bass). Barely surviving the explosion that killed his girlfriend Valerie on the Outer Banks, he’s had to transition to a life in the Smokies. Even though the threat that placed him under witness protection is nearly gone, John is still living under the radar. When Moses Kyle goes missing and then turns up dead, John’s adopted mother, Hattie, begins to worry. She won’t rest until John looks into the situation, and once John goes looking, he finds more than he anticipated. Although he would like to keep living a quiet life with his successful aerial photography business, John can’t let these stones stay unturned. Along with his neighbor, the attractive, motorcycle-riding Kitty Birdsong, John investigates Moses’s mysterious death.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Bowie, Phil, Haywood, Mountains, Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller

C. Leah Wetherby. The Cherokee Star. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007.

Three months ago, Celine lost her beloved adoptive parents in a terrible car accident. Now that the estate is finally settled, she lets her best friend Irene convince her to take a small vacation. Together, the friends plan a trip to North Carolina’s Great Smoky Mountains. Full of excitement, they head out with their partners Mark and Marsh for some relaxing fishing, camping, and swimming. But Celine, known to her friends as “C”, will find little rest on this fateful vacation.

Celine’s parents found her at the age of four, traumatized and sitting in a canoe on the Oconaluftee River just outside of Cherokee, North Carolina. They brought her immediately to the Sheriff’s Department in Birdtown (a small township in the Qualla Boundary) and eventually adopted her there. Incredibly, Celine and her friends have ended up camping on the outskirts of Birdtown, and the twice-orphaned young woman decides that now is the perfect time to look into her past. The recurring nightmares she thought she had banished as a child have returned with a vengeance since her parents’ deaths, and Celine is beginning to think that it might not be just a result of grief and stress.

This suspicion that the past is returning to haunt her strengthens when strange things begin to happen: Celine and her friends have the sense of being watched, animals are behaving oddly (a hawk follows Celine, appearing to guard her from danger), and a Cherokee called Tracker shows up in their midst. Will Celine ever discover her true identity? And what if finding her heritage means that she will lose it all once more?

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

 

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Mountains, Mystery, Swain, Wetherby, C. Leah

Marian Nichols. House of Riddles. New York: Xlibris, 2007.

Raven and Shane Hawkins are newlyweds honeymooning near Boone, North Carolina when they see an advertisement for a dilapidated mansion. Curious and feeling spontaneous, the couple travel south to Swain County, where they purchase the estate for a mere $6500. As their families visit and they explore the house, it quickly becomes clear that something isn’t right. There are odd noises and phone calls, an hour sometimes passes but only feels like a few minutes, and strange shapes and shadows appear. When Raven finds a mysterious parchment containing indecipherable writing hidden in one of the doors, she knows she must call her great-grandfather, Blackfox, to help her and Shane solve the puzzle. A full Cherokee, Blackfox is an ancient and wise person, although he struggles with broken English. Blackfox realizes immediately that the mansion is a holy place, and is filled with restless spirits. With her great-grandfather’s help, Raven and Shane uncover secret chambers and passages, finding treasure along the way. Unfortunately they also find bodies, which Blackfox declares explain their ghostly encounters.

A homeless man called Rusty arrives at their door looking for the former owners of the house, and Shane and Raven take pity on him, inviting him to stay. But Rusty’s presence only increases the strange phenomena, and as the newlyweds uncover more about the violent history of the mansion, Raven also uncovers more about her Cherokee family’s sad past, acting as a translator for the spirits of those long gone. Featuring many surprises and thrills, including an actual raven with the power of speech, this novel engages in an interesting characterization of the Cherokee.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Horror, Mountains, Nichols, Marian, Suspense/Thriller, Swain

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.

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

Teresa D’Amario. Shewolf. Culver City, CA: Freya’s Bower, 2007.

Veterinarian Anna Callaway has always had a special talent with animals. Beyond her skill with a scalpel, sutures, and other tools of the trade, Anna has some extra gifts. These include extremely sharp eyesight, more strength than she should have, and a sense of smell that allows her to detect things no one else can: moods, illness, and fertility.

These gifts that make her such an excellent vet do have their downsides: she can’t stand noisy, crowded places. One night, feeling obligated to attend a staff birthday party at a local bar, Anna seeks a respite from the smoke and pounding music in the parking lot. There, she is assaulted by two strange men who are determined to kidnap her, rape her, or both. What frightens Anna the most is their bodies: they seem to shift and become hairier, and their smiles are full of pointed canines. Does she see claws sprouting from their fingers? Suddenly, a third man materializes to rescue her…but Anna is horrified to find that he is just as strange as the others. Is she hallucinating?

Kieran Hunter only wanted to rescue the human woman from Ryland and Joshua, who were dangerously close to exposing their true nature as wolven: a species with the ability to take both human and wolf form. He doesn’t understand his immediate attraction to the female…until he realizes that she’s just like him. More than that, she’s The One–his True Mate. Kieran must fight wolven instinct, exercising all of his self control to educate Anna about herself and her heritage until she is ready to accept him as a True Mate, and with him, his way of life. Despite her almost uncontrollable attraction to Kieran, Anna is angry and confused, and at first reluctant to see the truth. But violence is stalking the handsome wolven’s normally peaceful pack, and Anna is directly in its path, motivating her to acknowledge her true nature (and needs) sooner instead of later.

An erotic romance novel set in and around the Uwharrie National Forest in Montgomery County, North Carolina, Teresa D’Amario’s steamy tale (a 2008 Prism Finalist) takes readers on a wild adventure. Due to the nature of the content, this book is recommended for mature readers only.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, D'Amario, Teresa, Montgomery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Science Fiction/Fantasy