Tag Archives: Policewomen

Richard Helms. Thunder Moon. Detroit, MI: Five Star, 2011.

Police Chief Judd Wheeler is a man’s man. He would like nothing better than to have a cold beer while grilling some juicy steaks, spend quality time with his smart and sassy girlfriend, and run the small town of Prosperity in Bliss County, North Carolina with a firm yet fair hand. But during the hot summers, when the air lies like a humid weight on the wilting farmland, folks get as unpredictable as heat lightning. Teenagers have idle hands, tempers shorten, and air conditioners quit at the worst possible moments. It’s nothing Chief Wheeler can’t deal with…usually.

But this summer is different. A star football player named Steve Samples is brutally hacked to death in a home he’s renting from the mayor, who happens to be Judd’s closest friend. A convicted sex offender wants to settle down and build a home, making his neighbors uneasy. Two biker gangs, the Outlaws and the Vandals, start a turf war. Alvin Cross, an itinerant preacher, blows into town and starts riling up Prosperity’s residents over all the sin in their midst, with possibly violent consequences. Worst of all, Chief Wheeler suspects that these events are somehow related, but can’t quite see how. He knows things might get clearer if he could get his hands on the good-for-nothing Ricky Chasen, a murderous young man whose name keeps coming up in ominous ways, but Chasen is as elusive as a shadow.

Will Chief Wheeler be able to keep Prosperity from dissolving into a hotbed of crime and murder? Who killed Steve Samples? What is the preacher’s  true agenda? As the summer wears on and Judd gets closer to the truth, he finds himself living in the cross hairs of a killer…or several. Find out what happens in Richard Helms’ second Judd Wheeler mystery, the explosively named and natured Thunder Moon.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Helms, Richard, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

Deborah J. Ledford. Snare. Kernersville, NC: Second Wind Publishing, 2010.

Steven Hawk and Inola Walela, Swain County’s best police detectives, are back in Deborah J. Ledford’s sequel to 2009′s Staccato. This time, they have bigger problems than a crazed sociopath. Katina Salvo, a young Native American emerging as the next musical megastar, is coming to Bryson City, North Carolina to perform her first live concert ever. Unfortunately, at the root of her fame lie two ominous figures determined to seek her out and silence her music forever. One, recently released from prison for a brutal crime against Katina’s family, wants to finish the job. What motivates the second is more uncertain, but no less deadly. Hawk, plagued by the demons of a recent tragedy, is determined to protect the singer no matter the cost. But when he and Katina are brutally attacked on the night of the performance, it is clear that the cost may be his life and everything he holds dear.

Ranging across the United States from Nebraska to California to North Carolina and finally the Taos Pueblo Indian Reservation in New Mexico, this gripping thriller turns on themes of family, race, and the great courage necessary for us to make our own destinies.

Due to some scenes of violence and sexuality, this book is recommended for older teens and adults only.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Ledford, Deborah J., Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Romance/Relationship, Suspense/Thriller, Swain

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

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

Sharon Wildwind. The Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen Vietnam Veteran Mystery Series.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been in the news in recent years, but the Vietnam War still has its place in the psyche of the generation that came of age in the 1960s and 1970s.  This series, set in the 1970s, follows four individuals as they transition from active service into the civilian world.  Elizabeth Pepperhawk, an Army nurse, and Avivah Rosen, a former military policewoman are the main characters.  Both women struggle with what they saw and did during their years in service, and Elizabeth is burdened with a drinking problem.  First at Fort Bragg, and elsewhere in the state in later books, Elizabeth and Avivah, and their friend Benny Kirkpatrick, support each other, confront  the demons of their pasts and make new lives, even as they stumble into death and foul deeds.  The novels capture the flavor of the era and raise issues that are still with us today.

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Filed under 2000-2009, Mystery, Novels in Series, Series, Wildwind, Sharon

Sharon Wildwind. Missing, Presumed Wed.. Detroit: Five Star, 2009.

Weddings should be happy occasions, but in the week leading up to the union between Benny Kirkpatrick and Lorraine Fulford, Benny and Lorraine and their family and friends experience fear, anger, jealousy, regret, and shame.  It starts when Benny’s mother, Grace, is abducted at the Asheville airport in the presence of a young boy who will soon be one of Benny’s stepsons.  Grace reappears the next day, but when the man who abducted her turns up dead, Grace and her husband become suspects.  It seems that Benny’s parents knew the dead man when they all lived in Alaska in the 1940s.  As the novel unfolds, readers learn that the dead man was one dirty dog and that other characters–including the bride–had reason to wish him dead.  While policewoman Avivah Rosen works on the case, her friend Elizabeth Pepperhawk attempts to smooth jangled nerves even as her composure and sobriety are tested by her relationship with the man in her life, Colonel Darby Baxter.

In Presumed Wed a large cast of characters flow into and out of the action.  It’s 1974 and the war in Vietnam, illicit Irish Republican Army fundraising, and the social ferment of the era, especially the women’s movement, figure in the plot and color the character’s inner lives.  The rich portrayal of this era is an element that adds depth to the Elizabeth Pepperhawk/Avivah Rosen mysteries.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Buncombe, Madison, Mountains, Novels in Series, Wildwind, Sharon

Joyce and Jim Lavene. The First Shall Be Last. New York: Avalon Books, 2007.

What an ending to the Sharyn Howard mystery series! Sheriff Howard confounds her colleagues and family by breaking off her long-time romantic relationship with county coroner Nick Thomopolis and taking up with sleazy state senator Jack Winter.  Sharyn had previously been suspicious of Winter, seeing him as a corrupt political operative and suspecting him of involvement in her father’s death.  Now she’s his arm candy!  People give Sharyn an earful on this, but her moves are part of a plan hatched by the FBI to bring Winter to justice.  As the plan moves forward, Sharyn and her deputies contend with snow-related emergencies, office romances, and break-ins and murders that may or may not be related to Senator Winter.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2007, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Joyce and Jim Lavene. Last One Down. New York: Avalon Books, 2004.

When Sheriff Sharyn Howard leaves Diamond Springs to attend a law enforcement training retreat, her staff must solve a murder and deal with a sniper in town.  Meanwhile, Sharyn has her own problems.  One of her deputies is seriously injured when he falls down an old mine shaft, another man is found dead in the woods, and several others are killed when a car explodes.  Unfortunately, the retreat is in an abandoned mining town on isolated Sweet Potato Mountain, their radio is broken, and a vicious storm begins flooding the area streams.  This is the tenth book in the series of Sharyn Howard mysteries.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2004, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Joyce and Jim Lavene. One Last Goodbye. New York: Avalon Books, 2000.

According to local legend, Navy Captain Billy Bost crashed his plane into Diamond Mountain Lake in 1944. More than 50 years later a Pulitzer Prize winning author comes to the mountain town of Diamond Mountain determined to find the plane, but he disappears and is found dead a few days later. Once the plane is raised, the police discover that the World War II pilot died of a gunshot wound, not the crash. Now Sheriff Sharyn Howard has to discover who killed the pilot and who killed the author writing about him. This is the second book in the Sharyn Howard series of mysteries.

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

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont

Joyce and Jim Lavene. Last Dance. New York: Avalon Books, 1999.

It definitely isn’t Stephen King, but the plot of Jim and Joyce Lavene’s Last Dance does feature a girl named Carrie whose prom experience is less than stellar. In fact, Carrie Sommers, prom queen of Diamond Springs High School, is murdered in the school’s parking lot. Sheriff Sharyn Howard believes that the case is similar enough to a prom-night murder that her father investigated 10 years ago that she reopens the old case. With the original murder suspect on death row, local and state politicians getting involved, and her mother worried about damage to her father’s reputation, Sharyn has her hands full in this book, the first of the Sharyn Howard Mysteries set in the fictional Uwharrie Mountain town of Diamond Springs.

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

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Lavene, Jim and Joyce, Montgomery, Mystery, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont