Tag Archives: Cherokees

Lori Benton. The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press, 2014.

thepursuitoftamsenlittlejohnAll that Tamsen Littlejohn has been brought up for, since her mother married Hezekiah Parrish, comes to this single moment in 1787 Morganton, North Carolina. Ambrose Kincaid, a twenty-nine year old heir to a Virginia fortune, has been enraptured by the portrait Parrish carries around of his stepdaughter. Kincaid has agreed to meet with the family in order to discover whether he and Tamsen will make a good match.

Sure that Kincaid will turn out to be a younger version of Parrish, Tamsen approaches the meeting reluctantly. However, she soon finds herself caught up in conversation with the young man and thinking that this might not be a bad match after all. Then Kincaid backhands his slave just for interrupting them. Tamsen believes this act has shown her Kincaid’s true nature and rushes from the table, right into the arms of Cade, a backwoods trapper and cattle drover.

Cade and his son, Jesse Bird, are caught off guard when the young lady runs into them, and Jesse can’t keep his eyes off her. Later that night, Jesse unknowingly halts Tamsen’s flight from her stepfather’s cruel rule. Realizing that Tamsen will not bend to her stepfather’s will, Tamsen’s mother decides to reveal a family secret, one she promised Parrish she would never reveal. Upset by Tamsen’s defiance and further angered by his wife’s disobedience, Parrish commits an unforgivable act. Knowing there is no way that she will be safe under her stepfather’s control, Tamsen decides that escape is her only option.

Unable to get Tamsen out of his head, Jesse Bird has discovered the cruelty that Tamsen and her mother have had to suffer living with Parrish. He offers to help Tamsen get away. They have no idea the amount of trouble that will follow.

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn is a tale of discovery. Tamsen will discover the kind of woman she is without the strong influence of her stepfather and possibly discover love along the way. On the other hand, Jesse, sure of the man he is, will discover the truth about his birth family and the meaning of selfless love.

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Benton, Lori, Burke, Historical, Mountains, Romance/Relationship

Sallie Bissell. Deadliest of Sins. Woodbury, MN: Midnight Ink, 2014.

Deadliest of SinsA simple runaway or a more sinister case of kidnapping? Sixteen year-old Samantha Buchanan was last seen driving home late one night from a babysitting job. Her stepfather Gudger’s car was found on the side of Highway 74 with the keys in the ignition and Samantha’s wallet and purse inside the car. But there was no trace of Samantha and no sign of a struggle that would indicate her disappearance as foul play. Campbell County cops are sure that Samantha must have run off with her boyfriend. Gudger, ex-military and a former cop, close with his fellow officers, has supported this conclusion. Samantha’s younger brother Chase is driven by his intuition that Samantha didn’t intentionally flee from their rural town, bordering Charlotte and Gastonia. He’s convinced that Sam was targeted and taken, and he has an awful feeling that Grudger was somehow involved.

Meanwhile, at the whim of North Carolina governor Ann Chandler, special prosecutor Mary Crow finds herself temporarily and involuntarily reassigned to Campbell County. The governor wants Mary to investigate the recent murder of Brandon Taylor, a young gay man who was brutally beaten and his body dumped in the county. One year earlier, another gay man was found murdered in a nearby county. Governor Chandler believes that the infamous Reverend Trull might have some connection to the attacks – or at least, she would like to believe so. A video of one of Reverend Trull’s homophobic sermons, proclaiming that gays and lesbians should be separated and contained, has gone viral on YouTube. Ever since, the governor has struggled in negotiations to bring businesses to the state. She’s concerned about an upcoming meeting with Ecotron Corporation, a company that could offer 500 new jobs to Campbell County. With Reverend Trull in the headlines, Governor Chandler is worried that he will scare off their best chance to improve the county’s deplorable ten percent unemployment rate. She hopes to mitigate Reverend Trull’s extreme sermons and high-profile with the assurance that special prosecutor Mary Crow is examining traces of homophobic conspiracies down in Campbell County.

Mary isn’t interested in digging through the Taylor case – especially since she’s sure the local DAs will feel threatened by her presence, encroaching on their turf – and she is less certain than Governor Chandler that a case can be brought against Reverend Trull. Hateful though his words may be, his sermons are still protected speech. As the Governor’s special prosecutor though, she’s prepared to fulfill her obligations. Before Mary departs, she discovers Chase Buchanan sitting on her doorstep. He managed to hitch a ride on a peach truck from Campbell County to Asheville. After reading Mary’s name in the Campbell County Clarion, he is set on seeking out Mary. Chase implores Mary to track down his missing sister. He fills her in on all the details of Samantha’s disappearance. However, Mary again is skeptical; she appreciate Chase’s concern about his sister, but from her outside viewpoint, her instinct tells her that Sam escaped from a dead-end town and a lousy stepfather.

But Mary ought to tread with caution. There’s a nickname for Highway 74: la carretera del dolor, “the road of sorrows.” The area’s Latino population named it such because “it carries them far from home to a lot of hard work and pain.” There’s something darker than she expects linked to Highway 74 and Campbell County. She better keep her wits sharp, lest she fall prey to the disturbing truth herself.

Sallie Bissell writes another gripping thriller for her Mary Crow series. Deadliest of Sins is the sixth book in the series, and like the first five, it covers some hard territory. Read about Bissell’s other novels in past blog posts here. Mary Crow is a tough, level-headed protagonist with plenty of moxie, and the plot lines are reminiscent of cases you might see on Law & Order, and its spinoffs, Special Victims Unit and Criminal Intent. Readers who favor suspense and mystery are sure to get hooked on Mary Crow, but they might be haunted by the fictionalized events that seem all too real in Bissell’s unflinching reflection of the dark side of human nature and its rapacious hunger for flesh and profit.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2014, Bissell, Sallie, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

C. J. Lyons. Black Sheep. New York: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, 2013.

Black SheepCaitlyn Tierney likes to keep her enemies closer than her friends. In fact, she doesn’t like to be close to her friends at all. A skilled FBI agent, Tierney is a loner by choice. She pushes away well-meaning coworkers trying to bond and casual boyfriends interested in getting serious. Caitlyn isn’t much of a rule-follower. Sometimes her unorthodox approach ruffles the attitudes of more rigid agents. She suspects they would like to goad her into quitting. Tierney doesn’t have total contempt for standard regulations and textbook procedures though. She just recognizes that bad guys don’t play by the rules, so occasionally the good guys can’t either, not if they want to win.

Without friendships, Tierney’s life is her work, and she feels no regrets for committing herself fully to her job, even though it has nearly killed her twice. She is dedicated to her career despite recent difficulty that has left her scarred, literally and figuratively. However, Caitlyn is no stranger to trauma. And regardless of the physical danger and the strict protocol, she loves teaching fledgling officers. Also, her work fulfills her beloved, deceased father’s unrealized aspiration of joining the FBI.

Caitlyn grew up in the fictional mountain town of Evergreen, North Carolina. Her father, Sean, dreamed of joining the FBI, but once he met Caitlyn’s mother, Jessalyn, he abandoned his goals and became a sheriff’s deputy instead. Love overruled his ambitions. Although Sean found contentment in a future different from his initial life plan, Jessalyn never seemed satisfied with their lives. The Tierney family’s farmhouse and their small-town disappointed Jessalyn. She juggled two jobs and strove to improve their standing. When Caitlyn decided to join the FBI, Jessalyn did not approve of her only child’s career choice. Rather, Jessalyn considered it a waste of all her effort to improve the family’s stature. Needless to say, Caitlyn and Jessalyn’s relationship is strained.

But mysterious circumstances surrounding Caitlyn’s father, Sean, and her childhood friend Vonnie’s father, Eli Hale is the major source of strain within the Tierney family. After Eli was accused of murdering a Cherokee tribal elder, Sean was forced to arrest him. Like Caitlyn and Vonnie, Sean and Eli were close friends, so the arrest disturbed Sean. He argued in defense of Eli and believed firmly in his friend’s innocence. Sean’s persistence came close to costing him his job. More unfortunately however, it cost him his life. After the toll of sticking up for Eli, Sean committed suicide. Eli was convicted. And Caitlyn carried indelible scars into her future.

Now, twenty-six years later, the man Tierney holds responsible for her father’s death attempts to contact her. Eli’s youngest daughter Lena has gone missing and he begs Caitlyn to help look for her. At first, Caitlyn refuses to listen to Eli’s desperate request. Strong, unsettled memories of the past draw her into the case. Before she went missing, Lena was rooting around for evidence to verify her father’s innocence. During the unofficial manhunt, Tierney runs across a distinctive collection of clues–zoo animals, a casino, and a motorcycle club–that relate to Lena’s disappearance and her father’s strange suicide.

Before she started writing, novelist C.J. Lyons was a pediatric ER doctor. This is her second novel focused on FBI agent Caitlyn Tierney, yet it could be read easily as a stand-alone story. Lyons’ first Caitlyn Tierney novel was Hollow Bones. Black Sheep packs a surprising ending that might hoodwink even the best armchair mystery detectives.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Granville, Jackson, Lyons, C. J., Mountains, Piedmont

Sallie Bissell. Music of Ghosts. Woodbury, MN: Midnight Ink, 2013.

Music of GhostsSallie Bissell has returned with another Mary Crow thriller. In this installment, Lisa Wilson, the college-aged daughter of a previous North Carolina governor is mutilated and murdered after she and a group of summer interns venture into the woods to spend the night in the fabled Fiddlesticks cabin. The cabin is known throughout Pisgah County for its grisly past. Fiddlesticks murdered his wife and the man he found her with and then played his fiddle over their bodies. Before her death, Lisa is lured by the sound of fiddle music.

Once news of the murder spreads, Sheriff Jerry Cochran puts his plans to propose to his girlfriend, reporter Ginger Malloy, on hold. Cochran tries to keep the sordid details hushed, yet predictably photos are leaked. The media, including his girlfriend Ginger, places Cochran in a difficult position. If that isn’t enough, the victim’s father, former Governor Wilson journeys to Pisgah County to bully Cochran personally into hunting down the killer–and fast.

Fingers point quickly to Nick Stratton, Lisa Wilson’s boss. He asks Mary to take his case, despite all the incriminating evidence against him. But Mary is torn. Since her boyfriend Jonathan Walkingstick’s daughter Lily has returned from a court-ordered visit with her maternal grandparents, she has seemed distrustful and confused. Then Jonathan receives notice that Lily’s maternal grandparents intend to fight him for custody. Amidst the murder, the media frenzy, and a custody battle about to gear up, Mary is overwhelmed. Although Jonathan has requested that Mary not take on any criminal cases, she wants to help Stratton.

Will she take the case? Is Stratton guilty, or is there still a killer roaming free in the forest? Bissell has crafted a story full of surprise twists and plenty of tension that will leave readers on baited breath.  Given the plot, readers will not be surprised that the novel contains scenes of violence and gore, and crude language.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Bissell, Sallie, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller

Fay Robinson. The Wish List. Don Mills, Ontario: Harlequin, 2011.

Susannah Pelton is determined never to be emotionally dependent on anyone again. During the nine years that she cared for her mother, who was afflicted with Alzheimer’s, all her friends and even her fiance abandoned her. Grieving her mother’s death after nine years of constant nursing, Susannah is determined to live life to the fullest. She writes a list of what she wants to do most in life, including visiting Paris, dancing in a ballet, skydiving, and seeing the Amazon River. At the very top of the list is “create a thing of beauty that will last forever.” Stunned by the detailed artwork in a mosaic she sees in a hospital while having a broken arm set (the skydiving wasn’t such a good idea after all), Susannah tracks down the artist at his remote mountain home in Graham County, North Carolina. Her plan is to ask for lessons, spend eight weeks learning the art of mosaics, and then get to New York City in time to watch the ball drop on New Year’s Eve– another item on her list.

Artist Ryan Whitepath is struggling. His six-year-old daughter, Nia, has been suffering from massive anxiety and depression ever since the death of her estranged mother. Although he understands, Ryan doesn’t know how to react, as Nia was never close to her mom. Carla lived all the way in London, which might as well have been the other side of the moon to a little girl living in the mountains of North Carolina. His grandmother insists that Nia will be healed by a redbird with a broken wing, but Ryan dismisses her prediction as old-fashioned nonsense. When a young woman shows up at his door asking for lessons in mosaics, Ryan immediately denies her request– he just doesn’t have room in his life for a stranger. But Nia attaches to the beautiful, red-headed Susannah immediately, and Ryan begins to think that she might be just the cure his little girl needs. But what happens when Nia isn’t the only one captured by the outsider?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Graham, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Robinson, Fay, Romance/Relationship

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

Lisa Williams Kline. Summer of the Wolves. Grand Rapids, MI: Zonderkidz, 2012.

Stephanie and Diana are like night and day: blonde Diana loves the outdoors, and gets along with animals better than people. Dark-haired Stephanie is artsy, social, and fashionable. Each regards the other’s world as alien to her own. Unfortunately, Stephanie’s dad and Diana’s mom have just gotten married, and the two new stepsisters are pushed into a “family” vacation at a ranch in the North Carolina mountains. Stephanie is horrified that she’ll be expected to participate in activities like trail riding and white-water rafting, while Diana is angry that she’ll be held back by her stepsister’s reluctance. Stephanie actually wants to be friends, but Diana is so angry that civil interaction is barely possible.

With the family shift weighing down on both of them, the vacation does not start well for the girls. Stephanie nearly falls off a horse, and Diana is even more annoyed when her socially skilled stepsister starts making friends with other children right away. But then Diana discovers the wolves: two part-wolf, part-dog hybrids that a local man keeps for show. Diana’s heart goes out immediately to the skinny, frightened creatures, who are kept in a small pen with little food or water. She determines to free them, and when Stephanie catches wind of her plan, the usually cautious brunette decides to help Diana. Together they free the wolves, but their actions have far-reaching consequences that they didn’t consider. The girls must help those who wish to bring the wolves safely home, realizing along the way that they’re more similar than they thought.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Kline, Lisa Williams, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

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

Faith Hunter. Raven Cursed. New York: Roc, 2012.

The fourth book in the Jane Yellowrock Series, Raven Cursed sees the hardened vampire killer return to her home state of North Carolina. Jane Yellowrock, a Cherokee skinwalker bonded to the soul of a mountain lion called simply Beast, has been living and working in New Orleans for the past few years. At first she was a one-woman operation, hunting down rogue vampires, but lately she’s been working for Leo Pellissier, the vampire master of New Orleans and the entire southeast. While suspicious of her true nature (which Jane hides), the vampires see the value in her hunting down those rogues that threaten their uneasy peace with humans.

What brings Jane back to the Old North State is a vampire parley– a powerful vampire named Lincoln Shaddock wants to form his own clan in Asheville, but has to petition Jane’s boss for the right to do so. Jane is in charge of security, and while she isn’t thrilled, she has reason to hope that the parley will be over quietly and quickly with minimal fuss. But when Jane arrives in Asheville, she finds more than she bargained for: a pair of werewolves out for revenge, a pissed off grindylow, a coven of witches whose leader has gone insane, and something far more dark and dangerous that knows all about Jane. Will Jane and Beast survive their return to the Appalachians? Readers of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and fans of True Blood will be excited to find a modern, gutsy heroine in this supernatural thriller.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Buncombe, Hunter, Faith, Mountains, Novels in Series, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Diana Palmer. Before Sunrise. Don Mills, Ontario: HQN Books, 2005.

A devastating heartbreak three years ago sent Phoebe Keller to Chenocetah, North Carolina, to start over without any reminders of handsome Comanche lawman Jeremiah Cortez. When Cortez’s hasty marriage squashed Phoebe’s dreams of a long-term relationship with him, Phoebe dove into her career as an anthropologist. Now as the curator of the Chenocetah Museum, Phoebe has made a simple life for herself in this small mountain town with her chow, Jock. Hoping that eventually she will forget about Cortez and the pain that he created, she has sworn off men.

In her work, Phoebe is contacted a Native American culture expert who makes some improbable claims about about his discoveries on nearby land. Soon the man turns up dead. As fate would have it, the F.B.I. sends Cortez to Chenocetah. All of the walls that Phoebe put up as a result of Cortez’s betrayal slowly crumble as they work together to get to the bottom of this mystery. Combating greedy “collectors,” Phoebe and Cortez make strong and insightful pair. Working side-by-side they realize that their passion for each other still exists. It intensifies when it becomes apparent that both of their lives are danger. In Before Sunrise, Palmer serves up  suspense and romance in equal measure.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Cherokee, Mountains, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Palmer, Diana, Romance/Relationship