Category Archives: 2000-2009

2000-2009

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

Jerry Eden. Ashley Jordan’s Secret. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2006.

It’s a beautiful day at the Cliffs of the Neuse State Park just outside of Goldsboro, North Carolina. But the day turns bleak when a couple celebrating their thirtieth wedding anniversary with a trip to the park discovers the body of a young girl. Wayne County law enforcement, headed by the handsome Officer Rico Acosta, quickly determines that foul play was involved. At the same time, powerful State Senator Zachary Jordan contacts Rico to inform him that his teenage daughter, Ashley, is missing. What Rico fears soon proves to be true: Ashley Jordan and the murdered girl found at the Neuse River are one and the same.

Slade Lindsey is just passing through Wayne County on his motorcycle, so when he’s arrested for murder, he’s very surprised. He agrees to cooperate with Rico, whom he trusts, but it soon becomes clear that someone wants Slade to take the fall for Ashley’s murder. It doesn’t help that Slade is an outsider to the community, and looks a little rough around the edges. What follows is a complicated court case that eventually involves highly skilled professionals from New York City, as well as one of the best defense attorneys in the United States. As the trial progresses, it becomes clear to all that Ashley Jordan’s death was neither a crime of passion nor opportunity. The young woman knew something valuable, and it got her killed. Will this crack team of law enforcement professionals discover who killed Ashley Jordan? More importantly, will they be able to prove Slade’s innocence and save him from certain death?

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Coastal Plain, Eden, Jerry, Mystery, Wayne

David C. Corbett. A Good Marine’s Murder. New York: iUniverse, 2006.

When Colonel Jack Adams’s Harriet jet crashes while on a routine training mission, the brass at the Marine Corps Air Station at Cherry Point, North Carolina tap Colonel Dan Breakheart to lead the investigation.  Moments before the crash, Col. Adams reported that the engine was decelerating.  When the standard emergency procedures failed to correct the problem, Adams knew he had to eject, and that’s when he found out that the ejection seat didn’t work.  Breakheart thinks that the probability that one plane would have two such problems is low, so he suspects sabotage.  While Breakheart and his team painstakingly examine the remains of the plane, another officer is murdered.  Once again, Breakheart does not believe that this is a coincidence. Dogged investigation and a bit of daring-do enable him to crack the case.

David Corbett flew fighter jets for twenty-eight years, and readers who share this background will appreciate the details, terminology, and slang related to flying that are embedded in the storytelling.  At the back of the book, the author thoughtfully provides definitions for those unfamiliar with flying terminology.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Coast, Corbett, David C., Craven, Mystery, 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

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