Category Archives: 2009


Richard L. Brown and Mikal H. El-Amin. 187 Iz an Art. Long Beach, CA: Double-Up Publishing, 2009.

When this novel opens, Kamikaze (Kaze) and his cousin Killa are in their teens, but already hustling.  Kaze is close to his mother, but she is in prison. Killa’s mother, Pam, is nominally responsible for both boys, but she is an alcoholic who can’t be counted on.  The cousins have just each other.  As they become better and bolder at hustling, they attract the attention of others, and they put together a drug organization, 187 CRU.  The book follows their exploits as they add members, take over territory, make connections with higher ups in the drug trade, and battle rival dealers for control of Durham’s streets.  The action, well described, comes fast and furious, and the body count is high.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2009, Brown, Richard L., Durham, El-Amin, Mikal H, Piedmont, Urban Fiction

O. C. Strunk. Satan’s Angels. Baltimore, MD: Publish America, 2009.

Matthew Glass has settled in nicely to the beach house that his friend Christopher Fry left him in An Ever-Fixed Mark.  It’s a comfortable place and Matthew is feeling a sense of peace until one morning he discovers that a young woman’s body has washed up next to his dock.  Matthew is not looking forward to interacting with the local sheriff, a man who Matthew tangled with when he investigated Christopher Fry’s death. Surprisingly, Sheriff Gore seems to have buried the hatchet, and rather than suspecting Matthew of the murder, he only asks Matthew to keep him informed if he learns anything about the case.

Of course, Matthew does not do that.  He delays telling the sheriff that he has met with an older Hispanic man who asked about the woman’s appearance, and he tries to keep the authorities from learning about the activities of the wife of one of his friends.  Belita, the wife of Father Mark Wyatt, an Episcopal priest in North Myrtle Beach, has been letting undocumented workers on their way north stay in a cottage that the couple owns in Sunset, North Carolina.  Readers come to find out that the dead woman and two friends stayed in the cottage, on their way to a modeling school in Wilmington.  When Matthew looks into the modeling school, he learns from Sheriff Gore that the school might be a front for shadier activities, but neither the sheriff nor Matthew is prepared for the connection between the school and one of the most admired citizens in the area.

This is a book with timely themes–Hispanic immigration, celebrity culture–and much older ones–the innocence of youth, the exploitation of the weak, and the urge for vengeance.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Brunswick, Coast, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Strunk, O. C.

Pauline Trent. Falling in Love. New York: Zebra Books, 2009.

Angie Kane and Chris Montgomery have had very different life experiences.  Lambert Falls, North Carolina brings them together.  The question is will it also pull them apart?  Angie grew up in the little Piedmont town—she knows everyone and everyone knows her.  Her job as a waitress in the local dinner is nothing special, but she’s happy to have work that keeps her near the man who brought her up, her uncle, Sheriff Bobby Granger.  Chris is new to the town, but his grandfather was the town doctor and a good friend of Sheriff Granger.  Chris has come to Lambert Falls after sustaining near-fatal injuries as a Green Beret.

Sheriff Granger likes Chris but counsels him to take it slow with Angie.  Chris does, and the romance blooms.  After Chris employs Angie to help him clean out and redecorate his grandfather’s stately house, Angie finds herself in demand as a decorator.  Angie begins to see a brighter future for herself, but that future is threatened when Chris’s Green Beret mentor asks Chris to help him train a special team in Colorado.  A second trip to Colorado convinces Angie that this romance won’t work, and this reader believed that too, but wise advice from an unexpected source resolves the conflict.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Trent, Pauline

Eugenia Collier. Beyond the Crossroad. Baltimore, MD: Three Sistahs Press, 2009.

Caroline’s lifelong dream has been freedom. Born into slavery in the mountains of North Carolina, she witnessed the brutal deaths of her parents as they tried to flee their masters’ oppression. This event, traumatizing for the three year-old who was left for dead, deeply instilled in her the  conviction that she should be free.

Caroline was born into slavery, but the Emancipation Proclamation should have freed her as an adolescent. Some masters, however, refused to free their slaves, including the families that owned Caroline. With little knowledge of what the “gov’mint” was or what it did, slaves were unsure of their rights or how to escape bondage.

This story follows Caroline’s path to freedom. It highlights the sense of family she shared with Aunt Peggy, her rescuer and surrogate mother, and other slaves with whom she worked until she escaped slavery. Although her tale is mostly painful because of the mistreatment she endured, her determination to be free also makes it a story of hope.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Collier, Eugenia, Historical, Mountains

N.W. “Red” Pope. The Sweet Potato Caper. Scottsdale, AZ: Five Points Publishing, 2009.

Benson, North Carolina, in the fall of 1959 may appear to be a typically sleepy, small Southern town, but that simplicity is deceiving. Sure, traditional mores still dictate interactions and stores close for the noontime meal (“dinner,” not “supper”). However, Benson becomes the center of excitement when a few outsiders kick up some dust.

The strangers who cause the ruckus arrive in Benson for different reasons. Jimmy, a gambler with a losing-streak and a demanding family, is in town to train for a banking job with the People’s State Bank. He drives to work from Raleigh with Woody, a likable fellow who begins dating a teller at the bank. One afternoon, they make the acquaintance of Tom Boney, aka T-Bone, an unsuccessful crop insurance salesman from Roanoke Rapids. His infidelity leads to divorce, and he is desperate for money. Woody makes an off-handed comment about how the positioning of the train – which divides Benson and blocks five major roads in town – would make robbing the bank easy. For the next few weeks, no one thinks anything else of his remark.

As Jimmy’s and T-Bone’s situations worsen, Jimmy decides to put Woody’s observation to the test. He gets T-Bone in on the plan, arranging for him to find two associates to help with the robbery. Although the burglary goes off without a hitch, the criminals leave damning clues that the FBI uses to catch two of the crooks; the other pair are off the hook to live luxuriously in Costa Rica.

And for Benson, this alarming episode signals a change in its once-trusting community – simply that “times ain’t like they used to be.”

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coastal Plain, Johnston, Pope, N. W., Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Roger Saltsman. Agony Hill. Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2009.

Running is Eric Roberts’ passion. He admires runners, enjoys the sport, and excels to the point of setting records in his Brevard, North Carolina, high school. His dream is to run in college, and he is delighted to have been courted by some big schools. Sadly, that all disintegrates when he is injured in an accident that kills a friend. Eric, blaming himself for the tragedy, distances himself from his friends, his family, and even his obsession.

After spending two years away in Charleston, Eric decides to return home. He rekindles his friendship with Mary, a favorite running partner, and she challenges him to get back into the sport. By a matter of chance, his landlord is a former running coach who agrees to train Eric. Although he has not run in two years and has put on considerable weight, Eric is determined to be a great athlete. Months of careful training lead him to a race in which he defeats his high school nemesis and qualifies to join the North Carolina State University track team. Three years after his life changed course considerably, Eric puts himself back on track.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Mountains, Saltsman, Roger, Transylvania

Mark Schweizer. The Diva Wore Diamonds. Hopkinsville, KY: St. James Music Press, 2009.

It seems as though things are getting back to normal in (fictional) St. Germaine, North Carolina. St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, which was destroyed in a fire nineteen months ago, has been rebuilt.  Various ecclesiastical bigwigs will be present for the re-dedication, as will most of the townspeople in this little mountain village.  Hayden Konig, town police chief and choir director at St. Barnabas, is looking forward to the festivities, which will include the opening of a time capsule that was placed in the church’s foundation in 1900. Konig and everyone else is shocked by the time capsule’s contents.  Diamonds!–and a note that refers to the location of more diamonds on nearby land. Soon, the hunt for diamonds consumes some of the locals, but that is not the only thing stirring up the little town: a referendum to allow the sale of liquor by the drink on Sunday has brought in protesters whose powerful prayers may have caused lightning to strike The Bear and Brew, a church camp is the scene of much mischief under the excitable new youth minister, and a man who might have been both a land speculator and a blackmailer is murdered.

This is the seventh novel in Schweizer’s Liturgical Mysteries series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Lois Gladys Leppard. The Mandie Collection, Volume Four. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House, 2009.

Mandie and her grandmother, along with Mandie’s friends Celia and Jonathan, and Mandie’s kitten, Snowball, are out of state for these five novels as they continue their European tour.  They find adventure in Italy (Mandie and the Silent Catacombs), Switzerland (Mandie and the Singing Chalet), Germany (Mandie and the Jumping Juniper), Belgium (Mandie and the Mysterious Fisherman), and Holland (Mandie and the Windmill’s Message).

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Children & Young Adults, Leppard, Lois Gladys, Mystery, Novels in Series

Leanna Sain. Return to Nowhere. Kingsport, TN: Twilight Times Books, 2009.

Twenty-two years have passed since Emma Franklin walked through an iron gate to enter 1827 and to leave 2004 and her “modern-day” life behind forever. In that time, has married Gavin MacKinley, had six children, and never regretted crossing into a new century.

Now her tomboyish eighteen-year old daughter, Charlotte, has become transfixed by the magical gate. Charlotte is at a crossroads in her life. She’s known as “Doc Charlie” to everyone in MacKinley, North Carolina, and becoming a physician has always been her dream. Unfortunately, the Boston medical school where she hoped to go rejects her. Charlie’s parents tell her that she is to marry James MacGregor, the Scottish nephew of Gavin’s best friend, who they have never met. And the MacKinleys’ land is threatened by their aggressive neighbors, the Freemans. Sadly, the Freemans’ extreme measures result in the deaths of two of Charlie’s closest confidants.

Charlie feels the need to escape the pressure and heartache of the last few days. She decides to pass through the gate during the full moon intending to learn medicinal practices of early Cherokees. After spending a few days in 1819 learning about Indian herbal remedies (and warning her new friends of the Trail of Tears), Charlie returns home just as typhoid fever breaks out in MacKinley. She must put her new skills to the test, which means tending to the hated Freemans. When the fear and illness pass, Charlie has a chance to meet MacKinley’s new pastor – Jamie MacGregor! They quickly become devoted to each other, and Charlie is able to enjoy her two loves: medicine and Jamie.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Henderson, Historical, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Sain, Leanna, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Deborah J. Ledford. Staccato. Kernersville, NC: Dagger Books, 2009.

Millionaire Alexander Kalman is a master manipulator who thinks that he can settle all of his problems by having people removed. Elaine, his niece, has become too much of a distraction for his protégé, Nicholas. As a world-class pianist, Nicholas provides Alexander with everything that matters most to him – money, fame, and glory for the family name. Although they are not related, Alexander convinced his sister (Elaine’s mother) to adopt Nicholas, giving the boy their surname and covering up Nicholas’ parents’ deaths. When Nicholas discovers the truth of his father’s disappearance, he and Elaine make plans to escape. However, before they can get away, Alexander orders Elaine killed, forcing his servants to do the dirty work. He then charges Timothy, a less-favored piano student, with the task of disposing of the body. When Timothy alters the plans with the hope that it will impress Alexander and incriminate his rival, he jeopardizes the clean cover-up. Nicholas, now aware of Elaine’s death, is distraught and eager to avenge the senseless murder of his beloved. What follows is a terrifying game of cat and mouse.  Alexander has loyal employees who will do anything that he wants, but he realizes that he is loosing control of Timothy.  Plus, Elaine’s mother has asked the sheriff’s department to investigate her daughter’s disappearance.  Deputy Sheriff Steven Hawk is given the case, and it is his diligence, plus Nicholas’s desire to live his own, true life,  that is Alexander’s undoing.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Ledford, Deborah J., Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Swain