Category Archives: 2000-2009

2000-2009

Jacqueline DeGroot. The Secret of the Kindred Spirit. Bloomington, IN: 1st Books Library, 2002.

kindredDevelopment is always a contentious issue on the barrier islands along the North Carolina coast.  Be it beach nourishment, road improvements, or an ocean-front mansion, locals perceive that there will be winners and losers.  As this novel opens, Cassie Andrews has arrived on Sunset Beach Island to begin a controversial, long overdue replacement for the bridge linking the island with the mainland of Brunswick County.  As she surveys the old bridge close up in her kayak, she is horrified to discover a man’s head bobbing up against a pylon.  Soon the police are on the scene, and when the man is identified as one of the chief opponents of the new bridge, Cassie knows that this assignment will be more challenging than previous ones.

Part of the challenge for Cassie will be to keep her mind on her work.  Michael Troy, one of the police officers on the murder case, is instantly attracted to Cassie, an attraction that grows when he follows her to nude bathing section of Bird Island.  Much of the novel is devoted to verbal–and other–interplay between Cassie and Michael.  Interwoven with that is the story of the victim, Damn Duke Ellington, a seemingly destitute island native who was known chiefly for his opposition to the new bridge and his support of the island’s feral cat population.

The break in the case comes from a message in a notebook left in the Kindred Spirit mailbox on Bird Island.  Micheal’s good detective work with the notebook leads him to the murderer, and not a minute to soon.  The Kindred Spirit mailbox is a real part of the Sunset Beach story, and it figures in at least one other novel on this blog, Marybeth Whalen’s The Mailbox.  Readers who like softer, more meditative romances, should read The Mailbox.  Readers who prefer a fast-paced, more graphic story will enjoy The Secret of the Kindred Spirit.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Brunswick, Coast, DeGroot, Jacqueline, Mystery, Romance/Relationship

Caleb Wygal. A Murder in Concord. Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2009.

concordLucas Caine thought that he was lucky to get a job with Fitzgerald, Incorporated in Concord, North Carolina right out of college. The Fitzgeralds–Trent Simon Fitzgerald II, and his father, Trent, Sr.–pay very well and Lucas has been proud to work for such a successful company.  Lucas is the personal assistant to Trent II, who runs the company; he handles his boss’s schedule and media interactions. Lucas thinks he knows his boss well, but everything that Lucas thinks he knows is called into question when he finds his boss shot to death in the company parking lot.

The murderer was someone with access to the very secure Fitzgerald, Inc. corporate compound. The police initially see Lucas as their prime suspect, in part because Lucas was the last person known to see Trent alive but also because Trent and the rest of the Fitzgeralds are such upstanding members of the Concord community.  To clear his name, Lucas looks into the circumstances of his boss’s death–why the security system went out and how someone could enter the parking lot undetected–and conflict within the Fitzgerald family.  What Lucas finds upends his view of his boss and changes his own life.

 

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Cabarrus, Mystery, Piedmont, Wygal, Caleb

Kathleen Thomas. Blackbeard’s Treasure. Greensboro, NC: Tudor Publishing, 2009.

Blackbeard's TreasureMatthew and Lauren Bakker, and their cousins Haley and Luke Bakker, are all set for a fabulous six weeks of summer camp on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Everyone is excited about different parts of the camp, but Matthew is focused on one thing only: Blackbeard. The most infamous pirate to terrorize the coast of the Old North State, Blackbeard supposedly left mountains of treasure behind when his ship Queen Anne’s Revenge sank in 1718. Matthew has been reading a book about the bloodthirsty buccaneer, and it’s not long before his enthusiasm infects his sister and cousins. Incredibly, when the four children arrive at summer camp, they discover that an underwater archaeological expedition is in progress nearby to find and recover Blackbeard’s ship for a local university.

Unfortunately, more than one person is interested in the sunken pirate galley. A private collector thinks he can beat the academics to what could be the discovery of the century. He’ll stop at nothing to steal the priceless wreck from under their noses and sell its treasure on the black market. Yet, the children come to suspect that a modern-day privateer is the least of their worries. Could Blackbeard’s angry spirit be haunting the beaches and coves of the Outer Banks, as well? With the help of the archaeologists, their harried camp counselors, and a crusty local former sailor, the four young troublemakers are determined to protect the treasure and thwart the ghost…by hook or by crook.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Carteret, Children & Young Adults, Coast, Thomas, Kathleen

Tracy Crudup. The Mist of Mineral Springs. New York: iUniverse, 2004.

mist

Kennedy (Ken) Clarke isn’t someone to rush into marriage, but she’s no stranger to romance.  She’s a writer and when this book opens, she has just sold her first romance novel to a major New York publishing house.  She’s also about to marry the man who has won her heart, Garrett Langston.  It seems a match made in heaven, and their families and most of the small town of Madison, North Carolina will turn out for the wedding.

But two days before the wedding, Garrett is killed in a car accident. Kennedy, devastated, retreats to the beautiful cottage that Garrett built for them.  There she feels Garrett’s presence, hears his voice.  As time goes on, family and friends worry about Ken and the connection that she still feels to Garrett.  But that feeling comforts Ken and buoys her in the lonely hours while she writes. Garrett become a kind of guardian angel who will stay with her until she is ready to begin again with someone new.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Crudup, Tracy, Piedmont, Rockingham, Romance/Relationship

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

Douglas Quinn. The Webb Sawyer Mysteries.

Webb Sawyer threw away his career as a military investigator when he shot a Serbian war lord in his jail cell.  Now Webb is separated from the United States Army and living in the remote Outer Banks community of Blue Heron Marsh. The ex-soldier is looking forward to a quiet life of fishing and boating that will allow him to put his personal demons behind him.  But the community around him has its demons too, and when his neighbors encounter trouble they turn to Webb knowing that they’ll need his investigative skills and fearlessness. The cases they ask his help with show him again the darker elements of human nature–racism, sexual obsession, greed, the thirst for revenge. People are not always what they appear to be, and the linkage between the present and the past is not always a pleasant one.  Interwoven with the search for sexual predators, serial killers, and the like are the ins-and-outs of Webb’s daily life–his attempts to develop a better relationship with his son, his on-again, off-again romance with a local pub owner, and his enjoyment of the water and natural beauty in this little part of the North Carolina coast.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Quinn, Douglas, Series, 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

Brenda Tetreault. The Bounty Cove Chronicles.

Bounty Cove is a small (fictional) town on the North Carolina coast. Like many other towns along the Outer Banks, it’s full of kind, proud people whose families have called this bit of shore home for generations. But unlike other towns, Bounty Cove is also a locus of unexplained phenomena and paranormal activity. Ghosts, mind control, reincarnation– it’s all in a day’s work for the residents of Bounty Cove. A series of paranormal romances designed for an audience over the age of 18, each novel begins when a girl meets a boy, but after that, readers should abandon all their assumptions regarding traditional courtship. Supernatural forces work to keep the couples apart, and to destroy their lives and families. Is love enough to prevail when someone’s demons don’t exist only in his or her mind, but in the physical world? There is plenty of mutual attraction between each couple featured, but the series does remind readers that an invisible problem can separate two people in love. In Bounty Cove, the problem just happens to be supernatural in nature more often than not!
While each book features a different love story, many characters reappear across the series. By the end of the Chronicles, readers might feel as though they themselves live in Bounty Cove, although hopefully without the vengeful spirits.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Coast, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Series, Suspense/Thriller, Tetreault, Brenda

Erin McCarthy. Fast Track.

The motorsports industry is reported to pump $4 billion into the economy of the Charlotte metro area–that means lots of jobs beyond just racers and their pit crews.  That wider circle of racing is present in Erin McCarthy’s Fast Track series.  The drivers—all hot, hot, hot—share their high-pressure world with journalists, PR consultants, team owners, sponsors, hangers-on, and even a few academics.  Each book features two people who are clearly attracted to each other but whose path to happily-ever-after is complicated things such as professional jealousies, previous relationships, pride, and Mars/Venus misunderstandings.  Snappy repartee and sexy scenes are standard elements of this series, but some of the novels include as plot elements serious subjects such as adult illiteracy and alcoholism.  The novels are loosely connected in that some characters–especially the Monroe brothers–appear in several books, but each book can stand on its own–and each one is a wild, fun ride.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2010-2019, Cabarrus, McCarthy, Erin, Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship, Series

Shirley Lerch Crum. Nailed!!! Baltimore, MD: PublishAmerica, 2006.

Cathy Cleveland and her best friend Linda Tate almost died last summer when they inadvertently got involved in a diamond smuggling scheme.  Since then Linda has been living life to its fullest, and she is about to be married to dapper airline captain David Sokol.  Cathy has a wonderful man in her life, handsome FBI agent Peter Channing, but she is keeping him at arm’s length.  As a cancer survivor, Cathy is aware that that life can take some cruel turns, so she is reluctant to let Peter, whose wife died from cancer, know how she feels about him.

John Marley has provided Cathy with a nice diversion.  Marley is a visiting professor at the college where Cathy teaches, and she enjoys his company when he is in town.  But Professor Marley is out of town quite a bit, guest lecturing at a number of colleges in the Carolinas.  He’s quite the showman, demonstrating scientific principles in exciting lectures that sometimes include walking on hot coals or lying on a bed of nails.  As this novel opens, Cathy goes by campus to pick up Marley so that they can spend the evening together.  She finds that Marley has been murdered–someone tampered with his bed of nails.

As the person who found the body, Cathy is a suspect.  But Cathy saw Peter Channing on campus shortly before Marley’s murder, and she fears that he might have been jealous enough of Marley to kill him.  The mutual distrust prevents Cathy and Peter from cooperating, and puts Cathy and Linda in danger.  John Marley’s academic career was just a cover for a sinister conspiracy to destroy a number of beach communities.  In chapters that alternate between Cathy’s activities and those of the conspirators, author Crum reveals the details of the conspiracy, the self-interests and double-dealing of the conspirators, and the reasons that Cathy’s life is in danger.  The action-packed finish takes place during the Wrightsville Beach Holiday Flotilla.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Coast, Crum, Shirley Lerch, New Hanover, Suspense/Thriller