Category Archives: 2007


Tim Downs. Head Game. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007.

Cale Caldwell didn’t plan on being a soldier, but an Army ROTC scholarship helped pay his way through UNC.  Before Cale could begin a job with an advertising firm in Chicago, the first Gulf War interrupted his plans.  Luckily for Cale, he served in the war with his good friend, fellow Tar Heel King Kirby.  The two young men worked with a seasoned veteran, Pug Moseley, in a psychological operations unit.  They were good at their work–creating pamphlets and other propaganda that encouraged the enemy to surrender rather than fight.  They saw some bad things, but nothing that they couldn’t leave behind.

Or so Cale thought. When the book opens, it’s now more than a decade later.  Kirby has just committed suicide, and Cale has come from Charlotte to New York City to help Kirby’s mom sort through his possessions. Cale is having a tough time himself.  His wife has died in a car accident, and his teenage daughter hasn’t been able to come to terms with her mom’s death. Unable to accept the story of Kirby’s suicide, Pug and Cale poke around in the past even as more bad things happen to Cale and his family in Charlotte.  Soon the men know that someone from their past is out to destroy them, and the hunter and hunted reverse roles as the novel moves to a dramatic conclusion.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Downs, Tim, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Tim Myers. A Mold for Murder. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2007.

Where There’s Soap, the Perkins family business, seems to be a magnet for mysterious murders. In the past, there have been two deaths connected to the family’s store. In both cases, Ben, the main character and brother to six siblings, determined that he had to get to the bottom of the mystery in order to protect a loved one.

When Ben scheduled a lecture and book signing with Contessa New Berne, the soap-making expert, at Where There’s Soap he expected an afternoon that would be beneficial not only to his business but also to the bookstore owner, his girlfriend Diana. However, the contessa is murdered just before her lecture, ruining the event and turning the fictional town of Harper’s Landing, North Carolina upside down. When it is discovered that Contessa New Berne was the drunk driver who caused the accident that killed Diana’s parents, people become suspicious of Diana. However, there are many more suspects who could have wanted the unpleasant contessa dead: her assistant who was unusually late to the event, a jilted ex-lover, another soapmaker who claims that the contessa stole her material. With a frightened girlfriend, a business tainted by the murder and bad press, and a successful track record in catching criminals, Ben settles into detective mode to find the elusive murderer.

A Mold for Murder is Tim Myer’s third novel in the “Soapmaking Mystery” series.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Myers, Tim, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Sharon Wildwind. Soldier on the Porch. Detroit: Five Star, 2007.

For the past two years, former military policewoman Avivah Rosen has been trying to make a new life in Asheville, North Carolina and to forget about her role in a scandal in Vietnam. However, after a deadly explosion at the Veterans Affairs hospital where she works as a security guard, Avivah’s life is in grave danger. When she is approached by the F.B.I. and offered protective custody, Avivah realizes that the ugly truth will surface. In Long Bien, Vietnam, Avivah’s major ordered his four officers to kill six American soldiers – all Black and Hispanic. Now, Avivah is the only surviving officer with knowledge of the crime.

Elizabeth Pepperhawk, also known as Pepper, is a nurse at the VA hospital and Avivah’s housemate and best friend. After coming into work intoxicated on the night of the explosion, Pepper also finds herself at risk – of losing her job. To keep her job Pepper agrees to attend workshops led by the hospital’s personnel department. She meets an interesting cast of characters in class, but Pepper often butts heads with the Director of Personnel and the session leader. When a team-building outing in the mountains goes wrong, the lives of Pepper and her classmates are put at risk.

Avivah and Pepper’s stories merge as the F.B.I investigates the explosion and the two women, along with their friends, explore why Avivah’s former major was in Asheville. As their lives become increasingly more at risk, the women realize that they can trust no one. They must figure out who is killing people close to them – before they become the next victims of an unlikely perpetrator.

Soldier on the Porch is the third novel in Sharon Wildwind’s Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen Vietnam Veteran Mystery Series.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Buncombe, Madison, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller, Wildwind, Sharon

Ron and Janet Benrey. Gone to Glory. New York: Steeple Hill Books, 2007.

Daniel Hartman, the pastor of the Glory Community Church, was introduced in the first novel in this series.  In Glory Be! Reverend Hartman was dealing with division within the church over the use of a $600,000 bequest.  The pastor can be forgiven if he believes that money is the root of all evil because now, in Gone to Glory, he is contending with the fallout from bad investments that caused that $600,000–and more–to evaporate.  The church financial secretary was conned into risky investments by Quentin Fisher, a man who posed as a Christian financial adviser.  Fisher is now dead, and the church is suing the company he worked for.

McKinley Investments is a legitimate company, with insurance to handle suits such as this.  Lori Dorsett, the undercover investigator who the insurance company sends to town, expects that she will quickly find the information she needs to derail the church’s case.  Lori sidles up to Reverend Hartman, hoping that by playing him she can get the inside scoop on the church’s plans.  That’s when things get complicated.

This is the second volume in the Benrey’s Glory, North Carolina series.

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

1 Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Benrey, Janet and Ron, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Pasquotank, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Ellen Elizabeth Hunter. Murder on the Cape Fear. Greensboro, NC: Magnolia Mysteries, 2007.

Since Ashley Wilkes works as an historic preservationist, it’s natural that stories from the past enter into Ashely’s present.  Ashley’s sister, Melanie, who is a high-end real estate agent, is more concerned with the present, although she knows the history of any house in the historic district that goes on the market.  Often their professional worlds collide and the sisters are forced to put their heads together to solve minor and not-so-minor crimes that occur in their beloved Wilmington.

This novel open with a bang.  The sister’s Aunt Ruby has recently married. Her new husband, retired history professor Benjamin (Binky) Higgins, is a respected researcher and writer on local history.  Binky has a new book out and the book signing at the Two Sister Bookery (an actual Wilmington bookstore) attracts a crowd. Only when the signing is over does Binky notice that his briefcase is missing.  Searching the store, Ashley finds the briefcase is a store room under the body of a man who has been stabbed.  That man is a wealthy Brit who was one of Melanie’s clients.  He had been looking to buy an historic house and Ashley hoped it would be the Captain Pettigrew house, a structure that Ashley and her partner Jon are restoring.

While the police investigate the murder, Binky has time to examine a journal that may be what the murderer was after.  Knowing that Binky has the journal, the murderer terrorizes Binky and Ruby.  Meanwhile Ashley and Melanie cope with a demanding client, suspicious police,  the structural–and other–surprises in the captain’s house, and Ashley’s soon-to-be-ex-husband, who wants one more chance.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, Hunter, Ellen Elizabeth, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series

Ron and Janet Benrey. Glory Be! New York: Steeple Hill Books, 2007.

A $600,000 bequest has created factions in the Glory Community Church.  The bequest was given to support the church’s music program.  The traditionalists want the church to use the money for a new pipe organ while younger members of the congregation push for equipping an auxiliary sanctuary with instruments and a sound system for more contemporary style services.

Innkeeper Emma McCall is part of the church choir but she hasn’t paid much attention to the controversy.  That changes when a VW Beetle is deposited on her inn’s front porch one morning–along with a note criticizing her lack of support for the contemporary music service.  It seems that there have been a series of pranks around town, possibly related to the church controversy.  The police, including Rafe Neilson, the handsome deputy chief who comes to talk to Emma, think that the pranks don’t rise to the level of crimes.  That changes when Lily Kirk, retired librarian and head of the traditionalist faction, dies in a suspicious car accident. Was Lily’s death related to the church controversy or something in Lily’s past?  As Emma pokes her nose in the investigation, Officer Neilson notices more than just that cute nose.

This is the novel that kicks off the Benrey’s Glory, North Carolina series.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Benrey, Janet and Ron, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Pasquotank

Edward Vaughn. The Evil That Men Do. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007.

The Ku Klux Klan was a dividing force in many southern families in the middle of the twentieth century. For the Morris-McConnell family of Cumberland County this is especially true. In a story that spans the 1930s to the early 1960s, the reader witnesses how the hate group affected relationships as well as influenced opinions. Opening on the day of LT McConnell’s birth, this novel reveals how ingrained the KKK is in the lives of Wadesville men. LT’s father, grandfather, and doctor are all members. However, LT’s strong-willed mother, Birdie, has no respect for the group, and she teaches her son to be accepting of all people. For example, one of Birdie’s best friends is Sara Willis, the black woman she insisted deliver LT, much to her husband’s displeasure. Birdie’s resolute attitude against the KKK puts her at odds with many member of the community, including her husband and father.

When LT’s father is away serving in World War II, Birdie takes over his poorly-run weekly newspaper, turning it into a respected daily publication and fulfilling her dream of a career in journalism. Because she writes with a liberal tilt and encourages Sara to write a medical column in the paper, Birdie captures the attention of the local KKK. When she and her friends find suspicious fires set on their properties, they persuade LT, who is now a Duke medical student, to infiltrate the KKK so that they will be aware of the group’s next move. Tricking his grandfather into believing that he disagrees with his mother’s “socialist” ideas, LT joins the KKK and learns that members plan to burn down Sara’s house – with her in it. With the help of the FBI, LT is able to protect his mother and her friends from danger and to shut down the local KKK. LT and Birdie are willing to take a stand against the hate group, even if it means going against his or her father’s wishes and putting their lives in peril.

The Evil That Men Do is Edward Vaughn’s first novel in his “Cumberland County Series.”

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

1 Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coastal Plain, Cumberland, Historical, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Vaughn, Edward

Lynette Hall Hampton. Echoes of Mercy. Kernersville, NC: Alabaster Book Publishing, 2007.

The leaders of the First United Methodist Church in Liverpool, North Carolina (a fictional town), are celebrating a successful fall festival when there is a sudden explosion in the cemetery. Reverend Willa Hinshaw, a transplant to the Piedmont town, seeks to solve the mystery of who put the bomb on the gravestone of Leo Kingfield and why. Willa and fellow Liverpool residents quickly suspect that members of Leo Kingfield’s family are behind the attack and are trying to scare his wife, Elva, out of the fortune Leo left her. Because Willa is interested in helping Elva, she is seen as a threat and begins receiving intimidating messages. Odd and terrifying events start to take place: Elva becomes ill and requires hospitalization, her friendly caretaker, Bernice, is stabbed and left for dead, and her confrontational niece is found strangled to death in Willa’s apartment complex parking lot. Finally Willa is kidnapped as the perpetrators’ desperation grows. Being thrown in the midst of strained familial relationships pushes Willa to outsmart the greedy Kingfield descendants in order to save her life and help Elva.

This is the second novel in the Reverend Willa Hinshaw Mysteries series.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Hampton, Lynette Hall, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Jane Tesh. A Hard Bargain. Scottsdale, AZ: Poisoned Pen Press, 2007.

Madeline “Mac” Maclin gained a bit of notoriety when she solved the murder of a local beauty contestant in A Case of Imagination, but the good people of Celosia, North Carolina still see her as a former beauty queen, not a private detective.  Desperate for work, Mac agrees to locate a man who left some cartons stored in Frannie Thomas’ guest bedroom.  Frannie let Kirby Willets store those boxes as a favor to a local librarian, Bernice Coleman, but now Frannie’s mother is coming to live with her and those cartons have got to go.  From this innocuous start, Tesh spins a tale that includes a faded Hollywood star, a monster in the woods, a secret love, and a fair share of small town quirkiness.  While looking for Willets, Mac also tries to help her boyfriend Jerry comes to terms with his childhood; Jerry’s backstory adds depth to the novel.

This is the second novel in the Maclin Investigations series.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Humor, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Tesh, Jane

T. Lynn Ocean. The Jersey Barnes Series.

Jersey Barnes was a Marine MP and a government anti-terrorism agent.  After leaving government service, she moved back to Wilmington to open up her own security firm.  When even that feels like too much, Jersey decides to retire to the less stressful life of being a pub owner.  Running a pub, marrying her boyfriend, it’s called settling down.  It sounds good, but Jersey is a sociable gal and everyone from her boyfriend to family friends to the federal government wants Jersey to handle just one more case.  These cases involve everything from kidnapping to blackmail to computer crimes to drug dealing–and murder.  Jersey can handle what the bad guys send her way, but family and friends are another story.  Jersey’s pill-trading, poker playing dad, his girlfriend, Fran, a computer-hacker neighbor, and Jersey’s hunky business partner, Ox, complicate her life and add humor and energy to these mysteries.  Wilmington itself is a character in the books, and fans of the city will recognize familiar places.

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, 2008, 2009, Coast, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Ocean, T. Lynn, Series