Tag Archives: Gambling

Monique Miller. Redemption Lake. New York: Kensington Books, 2012.

Redemption LakeAnd it was all relative when she thought about it; a person’s perception was truly their reality.

Marriage is a two-way street, and it takes plenty of effort and patience to resolve disputes and stave off conflict. Problems can erupt from a single source and branch off to create additional complications. Often, it’s tough to definitively pinpoint who is right and who is wrong. Redemption Lake covers three couples struggling to support their marriages. The spouses here have been pushed so far they can barely manage to talk to each other without contempt or anger, let alone hear what the other person is saying.

Readers of Miller’s work will recognize Phillip and Shelby Tomlinson, characters from her first novel, Secret Sisterhood. In Secret Sisterhood, Shelby and Phillip confronted their marital difficulties. After attending a marriage counseling retreat and helping with the couples’ ministry, Phillip has been tasked with leading a week-long retreat at a mountain resort for three couples, and Shelby has come along to help. Phillip is worried that he isn’t skilled enough to facilitate effective communication between the couples and guide them through their problems to a successful resolution. Based on the general profiles of each couple, this isn’t going to be an easy week for anyone.

Charlotte Knight has been collecting proof of her husband Xavier’s infidelities meticulously. She knows, in secret, that Xavier visits a number of diverse sources to stray, from the Internet to a neighbor down the street. The news of her positive STD test was the final piece of evidence that pushed her over the edge. Beryl Highgate is fed up with her lazy husband Travis. He promises to find a job and pull his weight, but he never delivers. She’s exhausted from taking care of their children, their finances, and him. Something has to change. Beryl can’t take his excuses any longer. Pastor George Jones was surprised and embarrassed to learn of his wife Nina’s hidden gambling problem. Recently, he’s found out that her addiction has affected not only their finances, but also those of his church in Greenville, North Carolina. He has to find a remedy before her gambling destroys both of their lives.

Phillip knows that there are always three sides to any story: “his side, her side, and the truth.” Novelist Monique Miller structured Redemption Lake so that readers will see the stories of the three couples from all angles. The novel is organized with brief prologue documenting the surface grievances of each couple. The remainder is largely broken up in chapters that rotate between the three husbands and Phillip, followed by the three wives and Shelby. Miller concludes with “the truth” as seen through Phillip’s eyes, observing the end of the retreat and the final outcomes among the couples. Miller doesn’t gloss over her characters and write a neat, happy ending for every couple. She sticks closer to the side of realism, where sometimes things work out but sometimes things are too far gone to fix.

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

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Filed under Coastal Plain, Miller, Monique, Mountains, Pitt, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship

Maggie Bishop. One Shot Too Many. Banner Elk, NC: Ingalls Publishing Group, 2011.

Jemma Chase, the CSI-obsessed heroine of Murder at Blue Falls and Perfect for Framing, is back in this latest installment in Bishop’s Appalachian Adventure series.

When Scott Barker dies suddenly at a photography club meeting held at Jemma’s ranch, Blue Falls, the investigator-wannabe can barely contain her enthusiasm. Of course it’s terrible that Scott is dead, but the chance to be at the center of another investigation (and interact with handsome Detective Tucker) is too exciting. When it turns out that Barker was poisoned, the case gets even more interesting, as the killer has to be one of the amateur photographers present at the club meeting. Unfortunately, Tucker wants Jemma to stay out of the way this time, in an effort to protect both her safety and his reputation. But when the detective kisses another woman, Jemma begins to wonder if her safety is really what’s foremost in his mind.

Return to Blue Falls for another exciting murder mystery, filled with the usual suspects, intriguing new characters, and plenty of illicit activity for Jemma and Detective Tucker to unravel.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Bishop, Maggie, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship, Watauga

Mark Phialas. Who Killed 20G? Williamsburg, VA: Cherokee McGhee, 2011.

Trent Jones is a has-been M.P. with a penchant for poker and scotch, and a passion for UNC basketball. The obsession with liquor and gambling means that he’s often drunk, broke, or some combination of the two, and that his best friend, Frank Williams, has to bail him out more often than not. Frank, a successful sports and entertainment agent, lives in New York City, a world away from the North Carolina haunts they used to frequent together. However, Frank keeps a vacation home at nearby Myrtle Beach, and after his latest slump, Trent wants a place to recuperate (or just more scotch, which Frank has in spades). Frank is angry about Trent’s downward spiral, but unable to deny his friend anything. However, rest and refreshment are last on the list for the wayward Tar Heels fan. One evening, out having a drink, Trent encounters Kenny “20G” Kincaid, the basketball head coach for the fictional Wellington University, located just north of Charlotte. Having recently lost $500 thanks to 20G’s losing streak, Trent decides to have a little word with Coach about his technique, a tactic that quickly turns into a fistfight. Trent wakes up the next morning hungover and sore with the intention of moving on. But he can’t; sometime during the night, someone murdered Coach 20G and Trent is suspect #1.

Things get worse when Trent receives a phone call from New York City: Frank Williams has also been murdered. These two homicides, unrelated at first glance, plunge Trent into a dangerous game of sleuthing and revenge that takes him to Arizona, New York City, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and even out to sea. To make matters even more unbearable for him, the action occurs during the NCAA play-offs, and Trent is convinced that this year the Tar Heels are going all the way. Can Jones find and eliminate his friend’s murderer, uncover what happened to 20G, and protect himself while still watching the Heels achieve victory? Find out in Phialas’ debut novel, which is hopefully the first of many. Trent Jones is a gruff, troubled, but highly likable and entertaining anti-hero; readers, especially fellow Tar Heels, will root for him from the start to the final buzzer.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mecklenburg, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Phialas, Mark, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

N.W. “Red” Pope. The Sweet Potato Caper. Scottsdale, AZ: Five Points Publishing, 2009.

Benson, North Carolina, in the fall of 1959 may appear to be a typically sleepy, small Southern town, but that simplicity is deceiving. Sure, traditional mores still dictate interactions and stores close for the noontime meal (“dinner,” not “supper”). However, Benson becomes the center of excitement when a few outsiders kick up some dust.

The strangers who cause the ruckus arrive in Benson for different reasons. Jimmy, a gambler with a losing-streak and a demanding family, is in town to train for a banking job with the People’s State Bank. He drives to work from Raleigh with Woody, a likable fellow who begins dating a teller at the bank. One afternoon, they make the acquaintance of Tom Boney, aka T-Bone, an unsuccessful crop insurance salesman from Roanoke Rapids. His infidelity leads to divorce, and he is desperate for money. Woody makes an off-handed comment about how the positioning of the train – which divides Benson and blocks five major roads in town – would make robbing the bank easy. For the next few weeks, no one thinks anything else of his remark.

As Jimmy’s and T-Bone’s situations worsen, Jimmy decides to put Woody’s observation to the test. He gets T-Bone in on the plan, arranging for him to find two associates to help with the robbery. Although the burglary goes off without a hitch, the criminals leave damning clues that the FBI uses to catch two of the crooks; the other pair are off the hook to live luxuriously in Costa Rica.

And for Benson, this alarming episode signals a change in its once-trusting community – simply that “times ain’t like they used to be.”

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coastal Plain, Johnston, Pope, N. W., Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Burgess Leonard. Phantom of the Foul-Lines. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1952.

A new college basketball season is just around the corner, so it’s an appropriate time to add this novel to your reading list.

Mickey Barton was the captain of his high school basketball team–a team that won the state championship and a national invitational tournament.  That should make him a hot prospect for the premier basketball colleges in his state.  But Mickey has a problem–he is only 5′ 6″.  The big time schools rebuff him, and his best friend and teammate 6′ 10″ Hub Duncan trades his friendship with Mickey for a chance to play for an elite coach.  Mickey, whose dad is dead, needs a scholarship to attend college.  Luckily, his high school coach becomes the basketball coach at Greyling Tech, the perennial cellar dweller in the conference.  Mickey joins Coach Royce there.  Despite the ragtag nature of the team and bad behavior by the coach’s son, they go on to glory.

Mickey’s college, Grayling Tech, is thought to be Wake Forest, but I could not identify any of the schools in the conference.

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

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Filed under 1950-1959, 1952, Children & Young Adults, Leonard, Burgess

Wille Thompson. Scratch Golfer. Hickory, NC: Mainland Press, 2008.

Webster (Web) Daniels’ life is a little down in the dumps lately; everything, from his advertising job to his golf game is a bit off. When the newest hire at Hay/Biggs/Pender Advertising, Richards Thomas III, is about to land the huge $20 million account of Ichi-ban Golf, Web finds himself employing the help of a new found ‘friend’ and his special golf balls. Aristotle Mann recently joined Web’s country club as the new golf pro. Aristotle brings with him some unique teaching tools, most of all golf balls that assure the player a par for the course. Once the rivalry between Web and Richards inevitably boils over, everything is left to the outcome of a winner-takes-all game of golf. Web requests the assistance of Aristotle and his magic golf balls to tip the odds in his favor. Of course this type of golf ball does not come at a small price: Web soon learns just how much his win will cost. It seems this time the Devil stopped off in Charlotte on his way down to Georgia.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Humor, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Thompson, Wille

T. Lynn Ocean. Southern Fatality. New York : St. Martin’s Minotaur, 2007.

At the opening of Southern Fatality, Jersey Barnes retires from the day-to-day business of her security firm to concentrate on her other Wilmington business, a pub called the Barter’s Block. She has plans for living a (more) quiet life and maybe even marrying her boyfriend, a model named Bill. When Bill asks her to use her security expertise to help an old friend catch her cheating husband, she reluctantly agrees and quickly finds herself caught up in a case that involves computer crimes, kidnapping, huge amounts of money, and murder. Along for the ride are Jersey’s business partner Ox, her dog Cracker, her pill-trading, poker-playing father, and a computer hacker named Soup.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Coast, Humor, Mystery, New Hanover, Novels in Series, Ocean, T. Lynn, Romance/Relationship

James Swain. Mr. Lucky. New York: Ballentine Books, 2005.

Don’t you love it when a country boy makes good? Ricky Smith was nothing special in his hometown of Slippery Rock, North Carolina. One night in Las Vegas changed all that. After jumping from the balcony of a burning hotel, Ricky begins to burn up blackjack, roulette, and crap tables all along The Strip. Investigator Tony Valentine is hired by casino owners to discover the reason for Ricky’s incredible luck. Valentine follows Ricky back to Slippery Rock where he finds it’s hard for an ex-cop from New Jersey to blend in. It turns out that Ricky is not the only guy from Slippery Rock who has hit the big time, and Valentine is up against bigger challenges and greater dangers than he ever thought one little town could spawn.

This is the fifth Tony Valentine book; it is the only one set in North Carolina.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller, Swain, James

Julia Nunnally Duncan. Drops of the Night. Boone, N.C.: Parkway Publishers, 2006.

Drops of the Night, a North Carolina novel set in 1988, is the story of Nora Lynch, a childless farmer’s wife who faces her husband’s jealous rages and intentions to sell the family farm – a plan that threatens the only lifestyle Nora has known. She also confronts a growing attachment to a stranger who enters her life through her husband’s gambling. Drops of the Night is set in fictional Milton, based on Marion in McDowell County (not to be confused with the real Milton, N.C., which is in Caswell County).

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Duncan, Julia Nunnally, McDowell, Mountains, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Charles Price. The Cock’s Spur. Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, 2002.

In the mountains of western North Carolina in the 1880s, moonshining and cockfighting are a regular part of the rough-and-tumble life. Webb Darling, the self-proclaimed king of the moonshiners, rules the region from his hilltop cabin. In contrast to the cruel and conniving Darling is a former slave named Hamby McFee who dreams of making enough money to escape from his life in the mountains, where he still farms the same land he worked as a slave. Unfortunately, the only chance Hamby has at making enough money to leave may be to win it from Darling.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library Catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2002, Coast, Historical, Mountains, Piedmont, Price, Charles