Tag Archives: Ghosts

Kay Hooper. Haven. New York: Berkley Books, 2012.

Jessie Rayburn is having nightmares. Which is even worse than one might think, because as a psychic, all of Jessie’s experiences with human emotion are amplified. She’s safely ensconced in Haven, the FBI’s Special Crimes Unit headquarters in New Mexico, but visions of young women being tortured in Baron Hollow, North Carolina are leaping out at her as clear as if she were really there. Unsurprising, perhaps, since Baron Hollow is her hometown, but Jessie knows something is wrong. Disguising her intent by arranging for a vacation home, Jessie drives across the country to the town, and sister, she ran away from fifteen years ago.

Emma Rayburn is surprised when Jessie announces her visit. They never had much in common, especially since Jessie, the elder, was psychic. Two sisters with wildly different personalities under one roof is hard enough, but when one sister can read the other’s thoughts? That’s a recipe for disaster. Since Jessie left, Emma has turned their palatial ancestral home into a popular bed and breakfast, and has been running it with a steady hand. But a riding accident a few weeks ago has disturbed Emma’s peace– she’s been having horrible nightmares about young women being tortured, and has no way to explain their existence. Jessie is the psychic one, so these dreams can’t mean anything…can they?

The first rule all psychics know is that coincidences are rare. While the sisters’ relationship may be fraught with tension, a black cloud rests on Baron Hollow, and that supersedes all other concerns. Young, female hikers have been mysteriously disappearing for years, and somehow no one has noticed. Could it be that the killer is not only very careful but also skilled in more subtle modes of mental deception? Could it be that the killer is also a psychic? Emma and Jessie, along with several other Haven operatives,  work to solve the case before anyone else goes missing, but this killer is smart, deadly, and tangled in their own personal histories.

Kay Hooper provides a thrilling continuation in this, her thirteenth novel in the Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series. Divided into sub-trilogies featuring different psychics on the team, each novel can be enjoyed independently, as a part of its own trilogy, or as a part of the overall series. Haven is a fast-paced, exciting addition this repertoire.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Hooper, Kay, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Suspense/Thriller

Cindy Ponds Newell. Don’t Say Her Name. Charleston, SC: CreateSpace, 2012.

Gardenia Hall is a stately plantation set snugly in the center of North Carolina. In the 1860s, it is home to the aristocratic Delmoore family, whose youngest daughter Olivia is waiting patiently for her fiance William to come home from the war. The dashing William returns just long enough to marry tender Olivia and leave her pregnant, but by the time he makes his way back again, she and the baby have both died in childbirth. Olivia’s death begins what many see as a curse on Gardenia Hall, or as it comes to be called, the Delmoore House: if someone dies there, or dies violently, his or her spirit is forever linked to the property.

Luckily, the spirits trapped in Gardenia Hall are mostly benevolent. Until one frightful night in 1927, when Penelope, a truly evil woman, is lured to her death by a spirit trying to prevent Penelope from committing infanticide. Now Penelope’s wicked soul is also trapped in the Delmoore House, and every time someone speaks her name out loud, she gains power and control over the physical world around her. The families who move in quickly move out, at least those who are lucky enough to survive the encounter. But Penelope knows that more families will come, lured by the large house and grand property, and she has a diabolic plan to suck the energy from the strong husbands while killing the wives the same way she died, and finally be free to wreak havoc in the world at large. Will anyone be able to stop her, and end the curse of Gardenia Hall?

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Horror, Newell, Cindy Ponds, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

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.

Leave a Comment

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

Stacey Cochran. The Loneliest. Raleigh, NC: Stacey Cochran Books, 2011.

Jason Roberts is a small-time author who has just tragically lost his wife to cancer. Following a struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide, he sells their home in Arizona and hits the road. His travels take him all the way to Little Switzerland, deep in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Jason eventually finds a small cabin to rent, and attempts to settle in and write his next novel. But something isn’t right– his landlord, a taciturn man named Cyrus, gives him the creeps, and while hiking in the woods, Jason  discovers a concrete slab that just may be covering the entrance to Hell itself. Worst of all, his wife may be trapped there, and Jason is the only one who can rescue her. But is it all a delusion?

As the tormented author writes his novel, he discovers that his fiction seems to be accurately predicting reality. Is art imitating life, or is it the other way round? Hounded by a curious local news reporter and the voices in his own head, Jason might be losing his mind…or seeing clearly for the first time. Is Cyrus really who he says he is? Is his wife truly dead? Do ghosts exist?  Described by Cochran as “part psychological thriller, part paranormal romance,” The Loneliest is a mind-bending exploration into the nature of how we construct reality.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Cochran, Stacey, Horror, McDowell, Mitchell, Mountains, Suspense/Thriller

Joyce and Jim Lavene. A Spirited Gift. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

October 15th is always a hard day for Dae O’Donnell because it is the anniversary of her mother’s death. Although she makes time for her annual séance in an attempt to make contact with her mother, Dae has pressing matters to attend to. This is also the first day of the Mayors’ Conference Weekend, Dae’s brainchild that brings twenty mayors to Duck, North Carolina, to discuss issues that affect their coastal communities.

Things are off to a great start at the Blue Whale Inn (which, incidentally, Dae’s boyfriend Kevin Brickman runs) with the politicians happily mingling.  But Mother Nature has a different plan. What started as a little bit of rain has suddenly turned into a full-force hurricane, wrecking havoc all along the Outer Banks. Although everyone is supposed to be safe and sound at the Blue Whale, one mayor is missing: Sandi Foxx, Manteo’s flirtatious leader. When Dae finds Sandi’s diamond and ruby ring and thanks to her psychic abilities “feels” Sandi’s fear right before she lost it, she begins to worry for Sandi’s safety.

The next day, Dae discovers Sandi’s body in a shed, and in the midst of the clean-up from the hurricane, the town of Duck undergoes a murder investigation. As mayor, Dae tries to stay involved, and she has help from an unusual source: the ghost of Rafe Masterson, a distant relative and a pirate. With Rafe’s insight and prodding, Dae is able to find out who is disrupting her quiet community and to right some centuries-old wrongs.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Dare, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Mystery, Novels in Series

Marian Nichols. House of Riddles. New York: Xlibris, 2007.

Raven and Shane Hawkins are newlyweds honeymooning near Boone, North Carolina when they see an advertisement for a dilapidated mansion. Curious and feeling spontaneous, the couple travel south to Swain County, where they purchase the estate for a mere $6500. As their families visit and they explore the house, it quickly becomes clear that something isn’t right. There are odd noises and phone calls, an hour sometimes passes but only feels like a few minutes, and strange shapes and shadows appear. When Raven finds a mysterious parchment containing indecipherable writing hidden in one of the doors, she knows she must call her great-grandfather, Blackfox, to help her and Shane solve the puzzle. A full Cherokee, Blackfox is an ancient and wise person, although he struggles with broken English. Blackfox realizes immediately that the mansion is a holy place, and is filled with restless spirits. With her great-grandfather’s help, Raven and Shane uncover secret chambers and passages, finding treasure along the way. Unfortunately they also find bodies, which Blackfox declares explain their ghostly encounters.

A homeless man called Rusty arrives at their door looking for the former owners of the house, and Shane and Raven take pity on him, inviting him to stay. But Rusty’s presence only increases the strange phenomena, and as the newlyweds uncover more about the violent history of the mansion, Raven also uncovers more about her Cherokee family’s sad past, acting as a translator for the spirits of those long gone. Featuring many surprises and thrills, including an actual raven with the power of speech, this novel engages in an interesting characterization of the Cherokee.

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

6 Comments

Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Horror, Mountains, Nichols, Marian, Suspense/Thriller, Swain

Schweizer, Mark. The Tenor Wore Tapshoes. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2005.

With writing that compares the rustling of a woman’s gown to the sounds of a cockroach rooting in a sugar-bowl, it’s safe to say that Police Chief Hayden Konig will never join the greats of American literature. Still, he insists on trying, even purchasing an old typewriter that once belonged to Raymond Chandler. Mr. Chandler, and his pipe, even show up on occasion to compliment Hayden’s efforts. Poor prose and ghostly sightings notwithstanding, Konig is an excellent police chief, and a talented organist at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in the small, sleepy mountain town of St. Germaine, North Carolina.

Hayden has just settled in from his last crime-solving adventure, which included the theft of a valuable diamond, a dead chorister, and multiple trips to England. You’d think that life would resume its leisurely pace, but this is just when St. Germaine chooses to get…interesting. First, there’s the body that parishoners discover hidden in the altar at St. Barnabas. Next, the local bakery produces a miraculous cinnamon bun in the shape of the Blessed Virgin Mary, which is soon stolen. Poor Hayden loses a bet with his beautiful girlfriend Meg, and is made to enroll in a program designed to help him discover his religious masculinity, known simply as the Iron Mike Men’s Retreat. As if this weren’t enough, an itinerant preacher blows into town with his large revival tent and a feathered assistant known as Binny Hen the Scripture Chicken, who helps him select passages from the Bible.

Reeling from the amount of insanity a small town can apparently inflict in such a short time, Chief Konig somehow also finds time to be troubled by the arrival of a charming attorney called Robert Brannon, who immediately worms his way into everyone’s heart, and the very center of church politics. Hayden is also perplexed by the crimes that have sprung up throughout the community–very specific crimes that seem to follow a popular hymn depicting the trials of the saints. Will Konig solve all, or any of these mysteries? More importantly, will he have time to pay attention to what, or who, really matters? And will she say yes?

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

Ann Hite. Ghost on Black Mountain. New York: Gallery Books, 2011.

Nellie Clay falls hard for winter-eyed, curly-haired Hobbs Pritchard. In no time at all they are married, paying no heed to Nellie’s mama, who warns that she sees death in her tea leaves. It’s 1939, and despite the Depression that the country is in,  it’s the modern world. Who believes in ghosts and hoodoo? Hobbs brings Nellie home to Black Mountain, a very different world than the one Nellie grew up in near Asheville. For a time, she’s happy, despite their neighbors’ coldness and the strange rumors she keeps hearing regarding her husband. But slowly she discovers that Hobbs Pritchard isn’t the man she thought he was, and she begins to dread hearing his tires on the gravel outside.

And she begins seeing people. There’s an old woman in the house with steel gray hair, and a small man with round glasses who walks the Pritchard land. Only Shelly, the Pritchards’s sometime maid, sees them too. Nellie knows that she has to get off Black Mountain, but Hobbs is squarely in her way. One dark night everything falls apart, and Nellie does leave Black Mountain for good…or so she thinks.

Told through the eyes of five women touched by the murderous cruelty of Hobbs Pritchard, Ghost on Black Mountain is set against the rich beauty of the Appalachians. Linked by blood, common experience, and the ability to see “haints,” each woman nonetheless has a unique voice that engages the reader with its compelling tale.

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

1 Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Buncombe, Hite, Ann, Mountains

Nicholas Sparks. The Best of Me. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2011.

Amanda Collier and Dawson Cole both live in Oriental, North Carolina, but they might as well be from different planets. Amanda is a daughter of one of the oldest, most respected families in the town, while Dawson’s kin make up the resident drunks, hoodlums, and moonshiners. But Dawson is different, and when he and Amanda bond over a high school chemistry assignment, their friendship soon turns to true love. When you’re seventeen and in love, life is difficult – Amanda’s parents are outraged at their daughter’s choice of boyfriend, and finally refuse to pay for college if she continues to date him. Divided, the two move far away from one another. Hardened by an unfair prison sentence and family violence that he barely escapes, Dawson finally finds refuge in New Orleans, but Amanda is always in his heart.

Years later, the death of a mutual friend reunites them in Oriental. In fulfilling their deceased friend’s final wishes, they begin to wonder if they might find happiness in life after all…but Amanda is married, and Dawson’s family has a long memory for revenge. With a compelling cast of small-town characters, a gripping plot, and just a touch of the supernatural, longtime fans of Nicholas Sparks will not be disappointed in his latest offering.

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Pamlico, Romance/Relationship, Sparks, Nicholas

Kat Meads. When the Dust Finally Settles. Spokane, WA: Ravenna Press, 2011.

Clarence Carter died unexpectedly, giggling at the irony of it all, flipped over and pinned under his Oliver tractor on account of a wayward tree stump. Bewildered but rather amused by suddenly finding himself a ghost, he wanders back through the week leading up to his death in May of 1968. With a wry but empathetic voice, he examines the lives and emotions of the inhabitants of his home, (fictional) Mawatuck County in northeastern North Carolina. He comments on their age-old feuds, new loves, and festering anger at the harshness of life, surprised at how dying can alter one’s perspective so drastically. He is particularly interested in three impending graduates of the newly integrated Mawatuck County High School; his son, Lucian Carter, his orphaned niece, Amelia Nell Stallings, and their witty friend, Harrison Doxey. Lucian should be popular: he’s white, tall, and muscular. But he refuses to play football, and he’s always sticking up for his feisty, skinny, odd cousin Amelia Nell. On top of it all, he’s friends with Harrison, whose greatest crime (as far as the rest of the school is concerned) is being a member of the “first fifteen” to integrate Mawatuck.

Clarence Carter drifts through time and space to follow the trio as they grow up in the week leading to both their graduation and his death. Amelia Nell’s grandmother Mabel pushes her to commit to running the family farm, attempting to keep it out of the hands of her rich, no-good neighbors the Halstons. Harrison dreams of sashaying onto the dance floor at the local whites-only dance club, The Lido, and impressing the hard-to-please, gorgeous Jocelyn McPherson with his nonchalant daring. Lucian just wants Clarence to stop fighting The Man (in particular the severe, debt-collecting agents who come calling in a black sedan) and pay his federal taxes. In the end, the three children, for better or worse, will walk away from high school as adults.

Kat Meads has written a lovely tale about the strength it takes to make change and break rules that shouldn’t be rules. Embedded in her story are musings on a community’s shifting identity, its connection to the land, and the meaning of loyalty and love. Based on her home county of Currituck, Mawatuck County is filled with an abundance of diverse voices; some are familiar and expected, while others are new and beautifully different. As Clarence himself warns the reader at the beginning, “surprises coming your way, my friend, that much I guarantee.”

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

Leave a Comment

Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Currituck, Historical, Meads, Kat, Novels Set in Fictional Places