Category Archives: 2000-2009

2000-2009

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

Brenda J. Woody. More than Murder. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2009.

In More than Murder, Brenda Woody offers a glimpse into small town life in North Carolina in the 1960s.  When the two men who own the local record store are murdered there are a surprising number of potential suspects–some known to the police and some not.  The men threw wild parties attended by a mix of ne-er do wells, thrill-seeking teens, and a handful of “respectable” community members.  Someone started taking photographs of the goings-on at the parties and before long a blackmailer made demands to a few men.  Stopping the blackmail appears to be an obvious motive for the murders, but that doesn’t account for the third body found with the men’s corpses–that of a quiet woman who worked a factory job in a nearby town and kept to herself.  The local police chief thinks the photos are the key to the crime, but there are other factors in play, including loan sharking and drugs, along with a brother’s desire to protect his irresponsible brother and to preserve their family’s good name.

More than Murder is based on the true story of the murders of Vernon Shipman, Charles Glass, and Louise Davis Shumate in Hendersonville, North Carolina in July 1966.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Docufiction, Mountains, Woody, Brenda J.

Brenda Tetreault. The Witcher Legacy. Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2009.

After a childhood spent moving all over the country with her restless mother, Melissa Witcher inherits her family’s ancestral home in Bounty Cove, North Carolina.  In Bounty Cove, she finds many things she yearns for: a chance for a relationship with the father she never knew and an immediate attraction to the handsome Michael Kemper, a local contractor who has been taking care of the abandoned Witcher house. But not everything is perfect.

Michael has just recently broken off his engagement to the two-timing Jessica, and he doesn’t want to rush into a serious relationship. Both he and Melissa are frustrated by taking things so slowly, but Michael insists. His last relationship ended so poorly because it was based on physical attraction and not true love, and something about Melissa is so special that he can’t afford to ruin what they might have. But while Melissa and Michael work on their budding romance, evil is afoot. The Witcher family has a dark history of murder, madness, and abuse, and restless spirits still linger around the venerable homestead. In addition to winning over the reluctant Michael, Melissa is determined to exhume her family’s ghosts, but this might prove more difficult (and dangerous) than she thinks. Strange phenomena have always been a part of the house: sometimes malevolent, sometimes beneficial. Will Melissa and Michael survive long enough to build a new future for the Witcher name?

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Horror, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Tetreault, Brenda

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

D. H. Caldwell. Last Love. New York: iUniverse, 2008.

Elsie Erwin is thrown for a loss when her mother dies.  She and her mother have lived together in a small house in Gaston County all of Elsie’s life.  And through those many decades Mama communicated to Elsie a fear of germs, defilement, family, other people–really life itself.  At Mama’s funeral a cousin shares some family history with Elsie that helps explain her mother’s attitudes, but this new knowledge upsets Elsie.  Elsie’s one true friend, Bertha, steps up to help by whisking Elsie off on trips–to Florida in the summer and a cruise to the Bahamas in the winter.  Together the women have their share of innocent escapades and a few scrapes.  Still, when she’s at home, living in her old house proves too much for Elsie.  It is the interest and concern of an older man that reveals to Elsie the sweetness in life–and her true heritage.

 

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Caldwell, D. H., Gaston, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Erin McCarthy. Flat-Out Sexy. New York: Berkley Sensation, 2008.

Tamara Briggs was widowed at thirty when her husband, NASCAR driver Pete Briggs, was killed during a race at Talladega.  In the two years since then, Tamara has concentrated on her career as a sociology professor and on providing nurture and normalcy for her two children.  Her only foray into the world of dating has been some decidedly lukewarm evenings with one of her colleagues.  When Tamara takes him to  a cocktail party fundraiser and her good friend Suzanne gives the sweater-clad professor a very critical once-over, Tamara knows that Suzanne speaks the truth–this man is not for her.  Distracted by this realization, Tamara bumps into a stranger, Elec Monroe. The attraction is instantaneous and mutual.

During their first night together (graphically described) Tamara remembers how exciting a man can be, but Elec is just the kind of man she promised herself she’d stay away from–a race car driver.   A driver’s life is too  nomadic and unpredictable–and full of temptations and danger.  Having lost her husband, the father of her children, Tamara can’t face that heartbreak again.  Plus, Elec Monroe has more than the average amount of baggage–his father and Tamara’s father-in-law, once good friends, are now bitter enemies; he is being pursued by a woman who just might be crazy;  and Elec’s career is about to take off–he may even be rookie of the year.

Like a race track designed by a joker, Tamara’s romance with Elec takes some unexpected turns.  Chicken pox, jury duty, unhappy in-laws, a wreck, and a false paternity claim all stand between Tamara and Elec and happily-ever-after, but readers will enjoy the ride.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, McCarthy, Erin, Mecklenburg, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

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

Suzanne Adair. Camp Follower. [United States: CreateSpace], 2008.

At age seventeen in 1768, lowborn Helen Grey was sold in marriage to an old, corpulent merchant bound for the Americas. Her saving grace was her disgusting husband’s educated assistant, Jonathan Quill, who had to play Pygmalion to her Galatea in order to make Helen presentable for the aristocracy in the colonies. Now, twelve years later and nine years widowed, Helen is fighting to survive in wartime Wilmington, North Carolina. After her husband’s demise in a duel, his monetary estate mysteriously vanished, leaving Helen near penniless. She now ekes out a meager existence taking in embroidery work for wealthy ladies and writing a small society column in a Loyalist magazine.

Then Helen’s editor comes to her with a proposition: if she poses as the sister of a British officer in His Majesty’s Seventeenth Light Dragoons, Helen could get close to Britain’s hero of the hour, Colonel Banastre Tarleton, and write a hard-to-acquire feature. Colonel Tarleton doesn’t approve of journalists, so Helen’s mission would be completely covert. But there is more beneath the surface of this apparently simple mission than meets the eye, and soon Helen is up to her neck in danger, intrigue, colonial spy rings, and the attentions of three separate men, one of whom is supposed to be posing as her brother. Traveling through a wild back country overrun with rebels, it’s possible that Helen’s greatest danger lies in the men supposedly protecting her best interests. Set in both North and South Carolina and concluding with the tactically decisive Battle of Cowpens, this romantic historical thriller combines an exciting time in the history of the United States with lots of imagination.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Adair, Suzanne, Coast, Historical, New Hanover, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Barbara O’Connor. Greetings from Nowhere. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.

Loneliness is a difficult state. Although everyone feels that emptiness at one point or another, no two people experience it in exactly the same way. Aggie Duncan is a widow who has just made the difficult decision to sell Sleepy Time Motel, which she and her beloved husband ran happily for decades. Willow Dover had a perfect life until her mother moved to Savannah, Georgia, leaving her with a heartbroken, distant father. Loretta Murphy, an adopted girl who has just received a box containing mementos of her deceased birth mother, is consumed with curiosity about this woman she never knew. And Kirby Tanner has always acted out as a way to get noticed, but now because of all of that negative behavior he is being sent away to a school for difficult children.

Although these four vary in age and background, they find the friendship they need over a few days in Shawnee Gap, North Carolina. Willow’s father has just offered to buy the Sleepy Time from Aggie; Loretta’s family is visiting while on an excursion in the Smokey Mountains to find the meaning behind some of her mother’s belongings, and Kirby and his mother need a place to stay after her car breaks down on the way to his new school. Along with Aggie’s cat, Ugly, they realize how good it feels to have each other in the midst of big changes in their lives.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Children & Young Adults, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, O'Connor, Barbara