Tag Archives: University of North Carolina

A. L. Provost. The Trust of Old Men: The Coastal Plain Conspiracy. New York: Xlibris, 2010.

This complicated mystery, set in North Carolina during the Roaring Twenties, begins simply. UNC Hill freshman Alan Barksdale has labored diligently all first semester, with the dream of one day becoming a banker like his esteemed father, Marvin Barksdale. Mr. Barksdale is currently both the trust officer and manager of the enormously wealthy Commerce Bank in Raleigh due to the terrible death of the previous manager. Impatient to be reunited with his family for the winter holidays, young Barksdale hops in his brand-new, 1920 four-door Ford the minute classes end on the evening of December 20th. The snow falls thick and fast, and Alan tragically fails to see the young woman waving her hands in the middle of the road until it is too late. At least that’s what the Good Samaritan who stops to help tells the distraught young man.

Speaking of tragedy, seventeen wealthy, elderly men and women have passed away during 1920 on the Coastal Plain. But these deaths are no mystery: the Lenoir County Medical Examiner has carefully determined that each death was simply the result of age. Heart attacks, a misstep on the stairs, and falling overboard during fishing expeditions are only to be expected when men and women pass their seventies! Unfortunately for the departed, it’s possible that their ends were hastened by a lack of living kin on whom to spend their time and considerable fortunes–kin who might have prevented these accidents.

At first glance, no honest citizen would ever think that these deaths and Alan’s fatal car crash were related. But Norman Bates, a hotshot young reporter from Kinston, smells a rat. Now he’s on the tail of the biggest heist in North Carolina…maybe even America. But will he survive long enough to discover the truth?

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

 

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Historical, Lenoir, Mystery, Provost, A. L., Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Suzetta Perkins. Betrayed. Silver Spring, MD: Strebor Books, 2011.

When her daughter Afrika insists on attending North Carolina Central University, Mimi Bailey feels she has no choice but to move back to Durham, North Carolina to support her daughter. Mimi also attended NCCU, but only for her freshman year, before she abruptly transferred away. The cause of this was her best friend Brenda’s vicious, controlling boyfriend, Victor, who raped Mimi right before becoming engaged to Brenda. Mimi quickly married her next boyfriend,  military man Raphael Bailey, and together they raised Afrika in a happy family in far-off Kansas. But then Raphael is deployed overseas, and Afrika enrolls as a freshman at Mimi’s old school.

Now Mimi is back where she hoped never to return, and by freak coincidence, her Afrika has befriended another NCCU freshman who could almost be her twin…a young lady named Asia Christianson. The two are inseparable, and often mistaken for sisters by those who don’t know them. Mimi is horrified to find out that Asia’s parents Victor and Brenda Christianson, whom she hoped to never see again, are living and working in the Triangle. Worst of all, Victor is the Director of Admissions at NCCU. He quickly discovers Afrika’s existence and true identity, which leads him to Mimi. He is extremely anxious that his true nature, that of a repeat adulterer, remain a secret. Mimi’s presence endangers this, so he threatens her with drastic consequences if she and her daughter remain in Durham.

But Mimi is done running, and finished keeping secrets. Unfortunately, the secrets she holds, combined with Victor’s violent nature, mean that many lives could be lost or ruined once Mimi tells. As is often the case, the children are the ones who will suffer the consequences of their parents’ actions.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Durham, Perkins, Suzetta, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

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. 

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

Alan Thompson. A Hollow Cup. Livermore, CA: Wingspan Press, 2011.

Lilah Freedman, a young woman involved in the civil rights movements in the small North Carolina town of New Hope in 1966, was brutally murdered one night after a protest at the local university. The white man originally accused of her murder was never convicted and a great deal of mystery and racial tension has surrounded this cold case ever since. Now, in 1991, a State attorney thinks he has enough evidence for a surprising new indictment, throwing the small town into an uproar once again. Pete Johnson and Luke Stanley, two attorneys sharing a past with each other, Lilah Freedman, and New Hope, return seeking closure and redemption in their own lives. Pete, having watched an unfairly convicted client of his go to his death, is disillusioned with the justice system. Luke Stanley, having spent his life fighting for racial integration in Chicago, seeks to bring that battle to his home town.

A complex novel that often switches perspective to give the reader a chance at glimpsing the world through a variety of eyes and opinions, A Hollow Cup travels back and forth in time between the youth of these main characters in the 1960s and their actions in the present day of 1991, illustrating the racial division and tension of each time. Alan Thompson’s readers will enjoy the geographical treasure hunt as the author describes his characters’ forays throughout the fictional town of New Hope, which bears a great many similarities to Chapel Hill.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Historical, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Orange, Piedmont, Thompson, Alan

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

Heather Newton. Under the Mercy Trees. New York: Harper, 2011.

When Leon Owenby, the eldest of five siblings, goes missing in Willoby County, North Carolina, his family rallies together to try to find him. Although he is an ornery (at best) individual, his disappearance is unsettling. Leon always keeps to himself, close to the family’s mountain homeplace, so leaving unannounced is out of character for the sixty-five-year-old.

With the family’s assistance, the sheriff’s office searches the property. As they collect clues that point to Leon’s whereabouts, facts about the siblings surface. James is having an especially hard time dealing with his brother being gone. His wife’s affair with Leon decades earlier left him demoralized, and he feels conflicted now. Martin, the baby of the family, is lost in his own way: he is in a dead relationship, unemployed, and an alcoholic. Coming home to Willoby forces Martin confront old wounds, but being with his childhood friends rejuvenates his spirit. People have always considered Ivy troubled because she sees spirits. Her gift, however, gives Ivy greater insight than anyone suspects. Eugenia resents her siblings’ quirks. Uncomfortable with the undesired attention, she is more interested in keeping up appearances than helping her family cope with their loss.

In their search to find their brother, the Owenbys learn about themselves and their family.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Newton, Heather, Novels Set in Fictional Places

Warren Rochelle. The Called. Urbana, IL: Golden Gryphon Press, 2010.

At the end of Harvest of Changelings, the tetrad of Hazel, Malachi, Jeff, and Russell crossed over into Faerie after defeating the Fomorii.  As this new novel opens, Malachi and Hazel go back to earth, along with two other magicals, Ben and Larissa.  Malachi and Hazel settle in the Triangle, a center of the magical rights movement. Malachi becomes a champion of the magicals, defending them in the media and in his community against the prejudice that is developing against them.  That prejudice is stoked on by undercover members of the Fomorii who are using unsuspecting human allies.

The Fomorii have plans to capture the magicals, and when they kidnap Malachi, Jeff and Russell return to earth to help Hazel find her husband.  But the Fomoriis’ diabolical scheme extends to humans as well, as they foment the overthrow of state governments and the federal government (headed by President Gore).  The action in the novel moves across the state, from Cherokee to Manteo, but some of the most gripping scenes take place on or near the UNC campus, where Malachi is held prisoner beneath Gimghoul Castle.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Coast, Orange, Piedmont, Rochelle, Warren, Science Fiction/Fantasy

Marybeth Whalen. The Mailbox. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010.

Nineteen years have passed since Lindsey’s first summer in Sunset Beach, North Carolina, when she was introduced to the mysterious mailbox on a deserted stretch of beach. Her beau at the time, Campbell, described the folklore behind it and encouraged her to write a letter to the Kindred Spirit who guards the mailbox. Over the years, Lindsey has dutifully left an account of the year in the mailbox, often describing her life in Charlotte, crumbling marriage, and sadness over losing Campbell.

Now she is back in Sunset Beach with her children, just days after finalizing her divorce. Although Lindsey has hoped over the past year that her husband would come back to her, she is trying to accept her new beginning. She runs into Campbell, and her emotions from nearly two decades ago return. Even though Lindsey felt betrayed  by the way things ended in 1986, she still feels a connection to him. However, Lindsey discovers that Campbell violated her trust by reading her letters in the mailbox over the years. When she decides that she cannot lose him again, Lindsey realizes she and Campbell have always been each other’s Kindred Spirit.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Brunswick, Coast, Religious/Inspirational, Romance/Relationship, Whalen, Marybeth

Michele Young-Stone.The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors. New York: Shaye Areheart Books, 2010.

New York City is a place where young people go to leave their pasts and make their futures. Two of those young people–Becca Burke and Buckley Pitank–have something unusual in common–both are lightning strike survivors. Buckley survived a strike that killed his mother; Becca herself was directly hit.  This novel tells how these two young people moved forward, making sense of both these capricious acts of nature and the man-made cruelties in their lives.

It is Becca’s story that will most interest the readers of this blog. Becca grows up in Chapel Hill, the daughter of a philandering chemist (from the best of families) and a woman who drowns her sorrow in drink. As her parents’ marriage disintegrates, Becca also has to cope with the standard work of childhood and adolescence–making friends, learning how to fit in, navigating the alluring temptations of the high school years. Even after she moves to New York, Becca still has things to learn, but she does, and her relationship with Buckley and the people in his life help with that.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Orange, Piedmont, Young-Stone, Michele

Marilyn Denny Thomas. The Gentile and the Jew. Enumclaw, WA: Pleasant Word, 2005.

The rules of dating dictate that talk of money, politics, and religion is off limits. However, these complex topics must be addressed if a long-term relationship is the goal. For UNC graduate students Mike and Carrie, the significance of these issues, particularly that of religion, becomes apparent when the couple joins each other’s families for Thanksgiving. Mike, who is Jewish, feels uncomfortable during the blessing before the feast. Carrie receives a cold reception from Mike’s family, particularly his mother who believes that her son should not waste his time with a Gentile. This tension results in the two breaking up with each other; however, they are still very much in love and soon reconcile.

Mike’s mother, Rachel, the daughter of Holocaust survivors, has always wanted to go to her parents’ hometown in Romania to find information about her family. Because she knows so little about her relatives, believing most of her kin perished in the Holocaust, Rachel firmly believes that her children should marry Jews to keep the tradition alive. When she goes to Romania, however, she discovers that not only does she have living relatives, but that some of her ancestors were Messianic Jews. As Rachel explores her family’s past, her expectations of a suitable match for Mike change. Although the two families come from very diverse backgrounds, they are able to embrace their differences and acknowledge the deep love that Make and Carrie have for each other.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Duplin, New Hanover, Orange, Romance/Relationship, Thomas, Marilyn Denny