Tag Archives: FBI

Ashley Memory. Naked and Hungry. Banner Elk, NC: Ingalls Publishing Group, 2011.

H.  T. McMullen has been roughing it. Once a successful loan officer with an expensive house, car, and wife, he lost it all to the recession. Disillusioned with his formerly excessive existence, he builds a rickety cabin in the backwoods of his fictional hometown of Yatesville, North Carolina, set deep in the Smokies. McMullen is surprisingly happy living with minimal comforts and growing his own food, despite the uncomfortable proximity of his Bible-thumping, gambling mother. He has his prize motorcycle and an ill-tempered dog named Shorty for company. What more could a man need? But one day he pulls a bright purple fish out of the nearby pond, and his simple life begins to disintegrate.

It’s clear that someone is poisoning the surrounding environment, and H. T. McMullen aims to find out who. But it’s more than just a simple matter of cornering the perpetrators. They know H. T. is sniffing around and decide to send a brash message in the form of two bullets– one in H.T.’s leg, and one in his dog, who barely survives. H. T. sends a plea for help to a Raleigh-based environmental coalition, but he doesn’t really expect an answer. He is delightfully surprised when stunning environmental lawyer Jessica Beane shows up on his doorstep, ready to personally take on his complaint. McMullen hasn’t really thought about romance since his divorce, but something about Jessica and her long red hair makes him a bit distracted. Unfortunately, there isn’t much time for a budding affair, since someone is clearly out to silence him. Soon H. T. and Jessica are on the run, and up to their necks in both poisonous water and deadly killers.

Ashley Memory’s debut novel, Naked and Hungry is simultaneously a romance, an environmental thriller, and the story of a man’s attempt to reinvent himself in our shifting times.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Memory, Ashley, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller

Scott Nicholson. Chronic Fear. Las Vegas, NV: Thomas & Mercer, 2011.

After the death of Dr. Sebastian Briggs, the cohort of strangers and old friends who survived the murderous events at the Monkey House try to go back to their old lives, but with little success. Roland and Wendy flee to the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking for some peace. Psychologically ruined Anita and David undergo extreme medical treatment, though with little hope for recovery. Senator Burchfield heads back to Washington, DC, intent on making a run for the presidency. Mark and Alexis Morgan return to their marriage, and while Mark is understandably fired from CRO for destroying their pet project, Alexis continues to conduct research at UNC.

But some people aren’t content to let Halcyon, a calming drug meant to cure PTSD, live on in memory alone–or its rage-inducing counterpart, Seethe. Although Alexis would prefer to forget everything, she can’t. Mark, who had never been exposed to Seethe before, has reacted badly to the dose from the Monkey House. He’s become unpredictable, prone to violent outbursts, and has developed a paranoid obsession with firearms. Quietly, Alexis has begun attempting to revive Halcyon, the only thing that can tame the Seethe left in Mark’s system. And someone has noticed. Alexis receives a chilling phone call at her campus office: Surely you didn’t think we could let you live, after what happened?

Soon, the survivors from the Monkey House are embroiled in a second fight to keep Seethe and Halcyon out of government hands, a race that takes them all across the Old North State. As before, their worst enemy isn’t the CIA, NCS, or even the greedy Senator Burchfield, but the darkness that Seethe brings to the surface in every human being it touches. How will they survive the Monkey House when the Monkey House is all around them?

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Nicholson, Scott, Orange, Piedmont

Scott Nicholson. Liquid Fear. Las Vegas, NV: Thomas & Mercer, 2011.

Halcyon is rumored to be a miracle drug–a cure-all for post-traumatic stress disorder. Inducing a state of calm amnesia, the drug helps people completely forget their fears. Those afflicted with PTSD, most notably veterans from the recent wars, will finally be able to lead normal lives. But the research process behind the medication is shadowy and filled with terrible secrets.

Dr. Sebastian Briggs, Halcyon’s inventor, was a respected professional conducting his research at UNC. During trials, the accidental death of Susan Sharpe, an undergraduate test subject, forced the university to let him go, but Briggs refused to stop testing. The scientist’s obsessive, sadistic nature pushed him to continue for his own evil enjoyment, and besides, powerful people were willing to fund his work. Briggs sets up a new lab in nearby Research Triangle Park, and gives it a sinister nickname: the Monkey House. What he does there is anyone’s guess. His funders, sensing major returns, make sure they don’t look too closely at his methods.

But what these powerful, wealthy benefactors don’t realize is that Briggs developed another drug alongside the calming Halcyon– a pill that strips away everything that makes a person human, bringing about a state of complete and total animal fear and anger. Briggs called it Seethe, and unbeknownst to UNC, he was testing this drug when Susan’s death occurred.

Ten years later, Briggs’s other test subjects, also students at the time, find themselves struggling to control their behavior. Each person finds a mysterious bottle of pills among his or her belongings, cryptically labeled take every 4 hours, or else. Somehow, all paths lead back to Dr. Briggs and his fateful experiments, and soon each is drawn to the Monkey House. They come to get answers about troubling memories that seem to stem from nowhere–Was Susan’s death really an accident? Is one of them responsible? What are the pills for? Most importantly, why are they still being affected? But Sebastian Briggs isn’t interested in providing explanations. In fact, he has one final test in mind: put his old subjects in the Monkey House, inject them with the deadly Seethe, and watch. After the lights go out, who will emerge alive?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Horror, Nicholson, Scott, Orange, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

A. L. Provost. The Unwilling Spy. New York: Xlibris, 2011.

It is 1943, and the atomic arms race is on. In Los Alamos, New Mexico, physicists labor night and day to develop the first atomic bomb … and nearby German spies observe them. In this fictional account of espionage and murder, German, American, and British agents are embroiled in a battle of wits to uncover scientific secrets first, before the enemy has a chance to gain the advantage.

The tale begins in Santa Fe with Gunter Fleiss, cleverly disguised as all-American Bill Wilson. When he and his attractive co-conspirator, Marla Hawkins, discover the location of a bomb test-site near Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, they get word to the Fuhrer as quickly as possible. The Nazi network in America works overtime to set up an attractive, female German spy who will meet a German expert in Camp Lejeune to ferret out the secrets of the bomb. But these observers are not themselves unobserved. The FBI gets wind of their plan, and dispatches their own attractive, female German-American counter-agent to North Carolina.

The Fuhrer decides to send trusted SS Colonel Max Reiner on this dangerous North Carolinian mission, but there is one problem: Colonel Reiner doesn’t know the first thing about atomic physics, and the powers of the beautiful German spy lie in chemistry of another kind. The Fuhrer is forced to send along an expert in atomic physics. When physicist Hans Richter is chosen, he has no desire to go. His father was murdered by an SS officer, and Richter abhors the Nazi Party. Ever since that tragedy, Hans has been biding his time for revenge, and what better revenge than using this opportunity to sabotage the Fuhrer’s plans?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Historical, Lenoir, Onslow, Provost, A. L., Suspense/Thriller

Kathy Reichs. Flash and Bones. New York, NY: Scribner, 2011.

This image courtesy of www.kathyreichs.com/bones.

Emily Deschanel portrays Dr. Temperance Brennan in the TV show Bones. She poses here with Kathy Reichs (right). Image courtesy of www.kathyreichs.com/bones.

What do NASCAR, missing teenagers, and an audacious tabby cat all have in common? None other than Dr. Temperance Brennan, the brilliant, savvy forensic anthropologist based in Charlotte, NC. In her latest case, Brennan is called out to the nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway to look at a barrel containing human remains. Soon she is caught in a tangled investigation involving the FBI, a dangerous white supremacist group, a local organic farmer, and sweaty, chain-smoking detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell. But perhaps most dangerous of all, Brennan’s ex-husband, Pete, has asked her to intervene on his behalf with his new fiancée: blonde, bosomy Summer. Driven to hysterics over planning their wedding (and Pete’s disinterest in the ceremony), Summer clings to Brennan for emotional support, calling at all hours of the day and night. Harassed by both FBI agents and dangerous militants, drenched by unpredictable Piedmont storms, and romantically adrift, disgruntled Temperance doesn’t realize that she will soon be more thankful for the needy Summer than she thinks.

Kathy Reichs upholds her winning formula of science, mystery, and a strong female lead in this fourteenth installment of the series that inspired the hit TV show Bones. NASCAR fans will be delighted to watch Brennan’s education in racing , as well as the slew of characters she meets along the way. When she can take a break from the Speedway, Temperance touches base with her daughter Katy, old flame Andrew Ryan, and stalwart feline companion Birdie, although beau Charles Hunt doesn’t make an appearance. But Team Ryan and Team Hunt beware- there’s a new man on the scene providing Brennan with equal parts assistance and annoyance: tall, dark and handsome ex-detective (and ex-con) Cotton Galimore.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy, Suspense/Thriller

Keith Spence. The Blood of Saints. Winterville, NC: Shadow Line Press, 2009.

Law enforcement is not an easy job. Especially when dealing with criminals who will kill. Or when the offenders are high-level politicians, government officials, and business executives. Add money, national security, and ego to the mix, and police work is a very dangerous field. For Mike Saville of the F.B.I. and Lowri Pritchard of the U.S. Park Police, these are moot points. Both individuals will test the limits of their careers in order to get to the bottom of difficult cases.

Although Saville and Pritchard do not know each other, they are working on the same case. A series of suspicious deaths, officially ruled suicides, occur both in Saville’s (fictional) Kendall County (near Pitt County), North Carolina, and Pritchard’s Washington, D.C. Because the victims’ autopsies suggest self-inflicted wounds, the cases are supposed to be off-limits to Saville and Pritchard. However, they believe that something more sinister has occurred. By the time their victims’ connections unite the officers, each is in the midst of a perilous situation. Saville is beginning to uncover a multimillion dollar anti-terrorism deal gone bad, and Pritchard has connected a colleague to the killings and cover-ups involved in that tainted agreement. The information that they share with each other makes them even more unsafe. When Pritchard’s co-worker discovers what she has unearthed, he holds her captive and tortures her. Saville comes to her rescue. Their agencies officially get involved, and the criminals are arrested. Saville and Pritchard’s perseverance helps them get to the bottom of high-stakes crimes, protect national security, and find each other.

Some readers may be uncomfortable with Spence’s graphic descriptions throughout the novel. The torture scene is especially disturbing.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coastal Plain, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Pitt, Spence, Keith, Suspense/Thriller

Barbara Kingsolver. The Lacuna. New York: Harper, 2009.

Barbara Kingsolver’s novel The Lacuna follows the short but fascinating life of Harrison William Shepherd. Born to a Mexican mother and an American father, Shepherd grows up in Mexico after his parents’ divorce. Living on a pineapple plantation without any access to formal education, Shepherd reads old, moldy novels he finds in the hacienda library. He also begins a lifelong habit of keeping a journal. Literature and writing become Shepherd’s two passions. To this he adds an appreciation for art after he is hired as Diego Rivera’s assistant, cook, and typist. Living in Rivera’s home he also comes to know Frida Kahlo and Leon Trotsky; he establishes a strong connection with Kahlo.

After Trotsky’s assassination in 1940, Shepherd flees to New York. His assignment is to deliver Kahlo’s paintings to the Museum of Modern Art. He tries to avoid being questioned by the authorities about his relationship with Trotsky, a fear that follows him throughout his life.

After spending time in New York, Shepherd learns that his father died before he could meet him. In a car left to him in his father’s will, Shepherd takes the Blue Ridge Parkway all the way to its end in Asheville, North Carolina. Here he meets Violet Brown, an older widow, in a boarding house. Although World War II has just started and Shepherd is of fighting age, his homosexuality prevents him from serving in the military. He is given a job supervising the transportation of national treasures from Washington, D.C. to the Biltmore Estate where they will be stored for the duration of the war.

After establishing himself in Asheville, Shepherd leaves the boarding house and buys a home. In this new setting, he begins writing novels about Pre-Columbian Mexico that gain him great notoriety (he is compared to Thomas Wolfe) and undesired attention from teenage girls. Shepherd enlists Brown to help him confront his popularity, and she proves to be a devoted assistant and archivist.  (It is Brown who is responsible for preserving the diary entries, letters, and newspaper clippings interspersed throughout the novel.) Brown stands by Shepherd as he is investigated by the House Committee on Un-American Activities regarding his relationship with Rivera, Kahlo, and Trotsky. After the inquiry Shepherd is fired from the Department of State, his books are banned, and he is distrusted by locals and the general public. Shepherd tries to adapt to his new, censored life, but he finds it difficult. When he drowns in Mexico, he is a person who most people would like to forget.  Brown, his faithful companion, is responsible for the story we have today.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Buncombe, Historical, Kingsolver, Barbara, Mountains

Henrietta F. Ford. Murder on the OBX. Baltimore: PublishAmerica, 2006.

Travis White and Sam Barnett are two good friends looking forward to a vacation.  Their jobs as Alcohol Beverage Control agents in Northampton County, North Carolina are not particularly trying, but each man has suffered a loss in his personal life.  The Outer Banks is part of their territory, but this trip is meant to be strictly a vacation. Their first night in Nags Head they do all those vacation things–eat local seafood, have a few beers, checkout their fishing spot for tomorrow–but those relaxing moments are are about all they get.

When the daughter of a local restaurateur is a hit-and-run victim, Tavis and Sam want to investigate the crime.  Dare County law enforcement officials don’t welcome their help.  That changes when an old bootlegger, Maynard Drane, turns up dead on the beach.  Now local officers Shucks Twine and Nona Godette are eager to work with the two friends who knew Drane from way back.  The team is just making progress when the FBI, INS, and ATF swoop in and attempt to muscle the locals out of the investigation.  Maybe this case isn’t just about bootlegged liquor.  Agency rivalries and sexual attractions complicate the case.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Coast, Ford, Henrietta F, Mystery

Sharon Wildwind. Soldier on the Porch. Detroit: Five Star, 2007.

For the past two years, former military policewoman Avivah Rosen has been trying to make a new life in Asheville, North Carolina and to forget about her role in a scandal in Vietnam. However, after a deadly explosion at the Veterans Affairs hospital where she works as a security guard, Avivah’s life is in grave danger. When she is approached by the F.B.I. and offered protective custody, Avivah realizes that the ugly truth will surface. In Long Bien, Vietnam, Avivah’s major ordered his four officers to kill six American soldiers – all Black and Hispanic. Now, Avivah is the only surviving officer with knowledge of the crime.

Elizabeth Pepperhawk, also known as Pepper, is a nurse at the VA hospital and Avivah’s housemate and best friend. After coming into work intoxicated on the night of the explosion, Pepper also finds herself at risk – of losing her job. To keep her job Pepper agrees to attend workshops led by the hospital’s personnel department. She meets an interesting cast of characters in class, but Pepper often butts heads with the Director of Personnel and the session leader. When a team-building outing in the mountains goes wrong, the lives of Pepper and her classmates are put at risk.

Avivah and Pepper’s stories merge as the F.B.I investigates the explosion and the two women, along with their friends, explore why Avivah’s former major was in Asheville. As their lives become increasingly more at risk, the women realize that they can trust no one. They must figure out who is killing people close to them – before they become the next victims of an unlikely perpetrator.

Soldier on the Porch is the third novel in Sharon Wildwind’s Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen Vietnam Veteran Mystery Series.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Buncombe, Madison, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller, Wildwind, Sharon

Fern Michaels. Razor Sharp. New York: Kensington Publishing Corp., 2009.

The United States of America finally has a female president, and members of the Sisterhood could not be happier.  The group, which seeks justice for mistreated women at any cost, is thrilled that their friend, Martine Conner, is the new commander-in-chief.  However, when Martine asks the Sisters not to prosecute members of her cabinet and other influential Washington politicians who are involved in an illicit prostitution ring, the women question her judgment.  Although they do not want the first female president’s term to be overshadowed by a sex scandal, the Sisters also do not want the “johns” to get off scot-free while “the girls” are charged with crimes.  As the women search for more clues, they discover that the vice president is behind the entire scandal; it is part of his plan to succeed the shamed Martine.  The Sisterhood must return to Washington, D.C., from Big Pine Mountain in Yancey County to put the disgraced politicians where their careers are headed: in the Dumpster.

This is the fourteenth novel in Fern Michaels’ Sisterhood Series, but not all of the novels in the series are set in North Carolina.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Michaels, Fern, Mountains, Novels in Series, Suspense/Thriller, Yancey