Tag Archives: Policewomen

Deborah J. Ledford. Crescendo. Kernersville, NC: Second Wind Publishing, 2013.

cresInola Walela should be a happy woman.  She has established herself professionally as a officer in the Bryson City police department, and as this novel opens she is about to receive a medal of honor for her role in taking down a killer who was wanted in three states.  Her personal life is on the upswing too.  Her romance with Swain County Sheriff Steven Hawk has progressed to the point where the two are living together.  Despite some differences over housecleaning, they seem to be a good match.

But still, Inola worries.  She is not at ease with Steven’s family, who live nearby, and she doesn’t know how to tell Steven that she can’t have children.  Also, the alcoholism in her family haunts her, and she feels somewhat isolated professionally–always a little insecure despite her achievements and unable to confide to her colleagues.  Her new partner, Cody Sheehan, looks up to her, but he is green and a bit of a hothead.  Inola likes him, but she does not have a great deal of confidence in him.  Lori Traeger adds to Inola’s insecurity.  The good-looking redhead, newly appointed to the police force, is the niece of the chief.  Since the Bryson City force is so small, Inola worries that she will be pushed aside to clear a path for Lori to rise in the department.

With all this on her mind, it is no wonder that Inola goes off track when a traffic stop goes very wrong.  In a flash what Cody and Inola thought could be an abduction turns into a firefight and a traffic fatality that leaves two dead and Cody barely clinging to life.  One of the dead is a woman who as she was dying, begged Inola to find her kidnapped son.  Inola is placed on administrative leave, but thoughts of that little boy push her to investigate the circumstances of the dead woman’s life.  But Inola fails to recognize that the person who is most helpful to her–and most attuned to her feelings–is the person responsible for all the death and trauma.

This taut, well plotted novel is the final book in the Steven Hawk-Inola Walela supense series.  Click to see information about the first and second novels in the series.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Ledford, Deborah J., Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Swain

Karen Pullen. Cold Feet. Detriot: Five Star, 2013.

cold feetWhen Stella Lavender agreed to accompany her grandmother to a wedding, she didn’t expect to be pulled into a murder investigation.  Stella works for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the undercover work she’s been doing has her interacting with all manner of drug dealers, drug runners, and addicts.  Although Stella hates putting on a dress, she is looking forward to an afternoon of good food, champagne, and polite company at an attractive country inn.  But Stella is not sooner settled in her seat when she notices a bridesmaid talking excitedly to the inn’s owner.  Something is amiss. When Stella goes to investigate she finds the innkeeper and bridesmaid huddled over the bride’s lifeless body.  The young woman clearly died an agonizing death.

Soon the local authorities are on the scene, and the investigation begins.  Stella is happy to aid local detective Anselmo Morales, but she is less than thrilled to be working again with her ex-fiancé, Hogan Leith, who is a fraternity brother of the bridegroom.  Several of the groom’s frat brothers came for the funeral, even one brother whose wife died tragically just months ago.  As Stella and Anselmo investigate the murder they find that the wedding included a passel of unhappy people: an ex-girlfriend of the groom, a couple who object to the bride’s profession, parents who try to impose their values on their adult children, and an innkeeper who believes someone is sabotaging his business. When the coroner’s report adds unexpected information about the dead woman, Anselmo and Stella have yet another avenue to explore.

Between the murder investigation and her ongoing drug squad work, Stella Lavender barely has time to exercise her mutt Merle (who was the subject of a bitter custody dispute with her ex-fiancé). Cold Feet is an action-packed start to a new mystery series.

 

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Mystery, Piedmont, Pullen, Karen

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

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.

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

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

Tim Myers. Dead Men Don’t Lye. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2006.

Meet the Perkins clan: a family of six adult brothers and sisters devoted to soapmaking in the fictional town of Harper’s Landing, North Carolina. Under the watchful eye of their mother, the siblings own and operate Where There’s Soap, an artisan soap shop and factory where they produce finely crafted soaps, teach classes, and spend much of their time as a family. Benjamin Perkins, the eldest, often acts as a surrogate father to his younger siblings by taking on the lion’s share of the management and making sure no one gets into too much trouble.

He has his work cut out for him. One morning while opening the store, Ben finds supplier Jerry Sanger sprawled on their back steps–dead. While Jerry has been doused in lye, the corrosive base used in soapmaking, it’s clear that someone deliberately broke his neck beforehand. This looks bad for Ben’s little sister Louisa, who happened to be dating Jerry and had also just found out that she wasn’t the only woman in his life. In fact, as the investigation proceeds, it becomes more of a question of who Jerry wasn’t dating! Still, Louisa is the prime suspect, and Ben will do anything to protect his family. Luckily, his longtime off-again-on-again girlfriend, the tough and capable Molly, is on the Harper’s Landing police force. Ben investigates Jerry’s murder, determined to find the real killer, with the exasperated Molly in tow. His search introduces us to the many colorful characters in Harper’s Landing and eventually leads straight to the killer.

The first installment in the Soapmaking Mysteries, Dead Men Don’t Lye is a sordid tale of murder…complete with useful soapmaking tips! A cozy mystery perfect for those who also enjoy crafts.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2006, Myers, Tim, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Katy Munger. Better Off Dead. New York: Avon Books, 2001.

Casey Jones, Triangle-based Private Investigator and (contrarily) ex-convict, is enjoying a quiet evening at home watching NC State trounce Duke at basketball. That is, until her boyfriend Burly starts haranguing the disconsolate Blue Devils fans from their Durham apartment window. With all the ruckus, Casey almost misses the knock on her door- and may come to wish she had. Her visitor is a terrified cleaning lady, who isn’t worried for herself, but for her employer- the infamous Helen Pugh McInnes. Casey knows a little about Helen: a graduate student who accused a well-respected Duke professor of rape, she lost her case and became a community pariah. Casey comes to learn that the gentle Helen has spent the year since her day in court too afraid to leave her quiet country home, terrorized by perverse phone calls and letters from her rapist, who is clearly still at large. Even venturing onto her front porch leaves her in the throes of a major panic attack. Casey knows right away that she has to help Helen, but since Helen is viewed as a liar and a loose woman, Detective Jones must tread carefully.

Her first move is to protect Helen: Casey’s boyfriend Burly, her lovable yet flabby boss, Bobby, and Bobby’s voluptuous girlfriend and paragon of Southern charm, Fanny, as well as a host of others all take up residence in Helen’s spacious, self-induced prison. Meanwhile, the thirty-something Casey applies a liberal amount of concealer and eyeshadow in order to infiltrate Duke University itself, going undercover as a non-traditional coed. But she isn’t entirely prepared for what she finds. As usual, the case is complicated by unforeseen circumstances: a wide-eyed college boy develops a crush on the gruff Casey, and for some reason it’s more difficult than usual to determine who the rapist really is. But Casey Jones always gets her man…unless this time, he gets to her first.

Readers will be glad to know that this tightly wound narrative deals sensitively with a difficult topic while still maintaining the series’ usual sense of humor. Katy Munger’s cast of misfits, cops, and strange birds is back, with some entertaining new additions. The Duke community will be pleased to note that the author issues a strong statement in the beginning as to the very fictional content of this novel. The UNC and NC State communities will be more satisfied with Duke’s (inevitable?) loss in the opening game.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont

Katy Munger. Bad to the Bone. New York: Avon Books, 2000.

Casey Jones is doing well: despite being an (unfairly convicted) ex-con, she has established herself as one of the Triangle’s premiere, if unofficial, private investigators. But when Tawny Bledsoe walks through her door, she gets a bad feeling. At first, Casey attributes this to the fact that the pale, fragile-looking Tawny is black and blue all over, and claims that her ex-husband first beat her, then stole their four-year-old daughter. Ms. Bledsoe begs Casey to get her child back, and with her special interest in wronged women, Raleigh’s toughest cookie is on the case. However, Tawny’s story begins to look suspicious after Casey easily tracks down the ex, and instead of a wife-beating kidnapper, finds a reputable Wake County Commissioner and devoted father who is a respected member of the African-American community. When Tawny’s $1,000 check bounces, Casey is convinced she’s been had in a spiteful divorcée’s spat. But then Tawny’s current beau (a scummy car mechanic named Boomer) turns up murdered, and Casey knows there’s more to the situation than simple fraud. As the P.I. snoops around, she uncovers several unsavory parts of Tawny: the cocaine addict, the blackmailer, and the abusive parent. When Casey’s no-good ex-husband Jeff gets involved, things quickly move from bad to worse, and the gloves come off as Casey goes to all lengths to put Tawny behind bars where she belongs.

Fans of the feisty, self-starting Casey Jones will enjoy this adventure, in which the fallible but lovable heroine faces a type of villain she hasn’t encountered  before, as well as turmoil in her romantic life,  but also puts some old troubles to rest.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Chatham, Durham, Munger, Katy, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Wake

Mark Schweizer. The Organist Wore Pumps. Tryon, NC: SJMP Books, 2010.

It’s been two years since St. Barnabas Episcopal Church in St. Germaine, North Carolina burned to the ground, and the holidays are just around the corner. Police Chief  Hayden Konig, also the organist at St. Barnabas, is looking forward to a long month of Advent music and writing bad prose between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly for those familiar with St. Barnabas, murder and mayhem intervene. First, Old Man Hiram Frost, the town grump, dies after the bank forecloses on his property. At the resulting auction, Hayden gets sucked into a bidding war with a stranger over three cases of French wine. A week later, the mystery bidder shows up again…floating face-first in Tannenbaum Lake. Additionally, St. Barnabas has a new deacon: the aptly named Donald Mushrat (that’s Moo-shrat). Deacon Mushrat is oily, overfond of the word “awesome” and obsessed with tithing. Everyone feels blessed that the beloved Rector Gaylen Weatherall will still be giving the sermons, but thanks to a terrible car accident, Rector Weatherall is put out of action for a time, opening the way for Deacon Mushrat’s pontificating. Even worse, Konig was in the car with Gaylen during the accident…and his arm is broken. A substitute organist is found, and Konig will just have to grit his teeth and endure their “creative differences.” But when another murder occurs and it becomes clear that a killer is stalking St. Germaine, the Chief finds he has bigger fish to fry.

Filled with the hilarity and quirky characters that are distinctive of The Liturgical Mysteries, this book includes a live creche, an inflammatory (literally) Christmas parade complete with a tap dancing Virgin, a scoodle of skunks, and the “liberation” of a priceless medieval reliquary by a gang of hyperactive children trapped in the church for a lock-in. It may be many things, but at least St. Germaine is never boring.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Humor, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Schweizer, Mark, Watauga

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.

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