Tag Archives: University of North Carolina

Jean Reynolds Page. Safe Within. New York: William Morrow Paperbacks, 2012.

safewithinElaine and Carson Forsyth have been married and living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for nearly thirty years when he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. At first Elaine and Carson carry on with their lives but later Carson decides he wants to spend his remaining weeks in Elaine’s childhood home–a whimsical house her parents built in the trees above a lake just outside of the Triangle. Elaine is devastated at losing her husband, but what’s worse when he passes on she’ll be left with her acerbic mother-in-law. Greta Forsyth does not like her daughter-in-law. Although both her son and his wife have tried to convince her otherwise, Greta knows what the woman who walked in on Elaine and that other boy saw all those years ago. She knows that her supposed grandson, a handsome young man in his late twenties called Mick, is really a cuckoo’s child. Her son might be taken in, but Greta is not that kind of fool.

Elaine doesn’t know how to get through to Greta; at this point in their long, bitter relationship, she’s stopped trying. Mick, her son, knows to leave his grandmother alone, but he can’t be absent for his father’s last few weeks of life. He comes home to Carolina from his shipyard job in Rhode Island, but runs into trouble he doesn’t expect when he stops to catch up with some old acquaintances. His high school sweetheart, a beautiful local girl named Kayla, went away for a time with her mother after she and Mick broke up. When the two returned, they brought Kayla’s new little brother with them. Kyle is six now, and everyone but Mick is sure they know who his parents are in reality. Caught between Greta’s accusation that he’s not his father’s son and Kayla’s family’s anxiety over his attempt to reach out to little Kyle, Mick must decide who he will be for himself. As the family dynamics shift with Carson’s death, Greta and Elaine must also reconsider their assumptions.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Orange, Page, Jean Reynolds, Piedmont, Romance/Relationship

Payne, Peggy. Revelation. Wilmington, N.C. : Banks Channel Books, 1995, c1988.

revelationDr. Swain Hammond is perfectly happy before he steps out into his yard one summer night and hears the voice of God. He has a nice house with his beautiful wife in the heart of Chapel Hill, where he grew up. They don’t have a family, but neither wants children–they’re happy by themselves. Although he works as the minister of Westside Presbyterian Church in Chapel Hill, Swain would count himself as the last man likely to hear any kind of divine message. His congregation is made up of individuals who aren’t inclined to make literal interpretations of scripture, and neither is Swain. Yet, while his wife is grilling pork shish kebabs only a few yards away, God speaks to him.

The next year of Swain’s life is fraught with anguish. Far from the joy and peace he imagined hearing the voice of God would bring him, instead it seems to bring nothing but trouble. The congregation doesn’t know what to think of their formerly intellectually detached leader claiming to hear directly from God. At first they staunchly stand beside his right to free speech, but as the year wears on and Swain begins to preach about believing in miracles and hearing His voice again, they become uncomfortable and even angry. A few demand he step down, while others think he should seek counseling. Even Swain’s beloved wife, Julie, doesn’t know what to think.

In the midst of all this turmoil are the local children. Swain has never liked children, or felt comfortable around them. But when a boy named Jakey Miles, the son of a local woman he had a crush on in high school, is blinded in a terrible accident, Swain finds himself drawn to the boy. Against his will, he finds himself reflecting on his own childhood, where his intelligent parents played cruel games of emotional chess with one another that inevitably left young Swain traumatized. As the minister questions his faith, his relationships, and himself, one thing becomes startlingly clear–happiness is where you least expect to find it.

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

 

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Filed under 1980-1989, 1988, 1990-1999, 1995, Orange, Payne, Peggy, Piedmont, Religious/Inspirational

Scott Nicholson. Chronic Fear. Las Vegas, NV: Thomas & Mercer, 2011.

After the death of Dr. Sebastian Briggs, the cohort of strangers and old friends who survived the murderous events at the Monkey House try to go back to their old lives, but with little success. Roland and Wendy flee to the Blue Ridge Mountains, looking for some peace. Psychologically ruined Anita and David undergo extreme medical treatment, though with little hope for recovery. Senator Burchfield heads back to Washington, DC, intent on making a run for the presidency. Mark and Alexis Morgan return to their marriage, and while Mark is understandably fired from CRO for destroying their pet project, Alexis continues to conduct research at UNC.

But some people aren’t content to let Halcyon, a calming drug meant to cure PTSD, live on in memory alone–or its rage-inducing counterpart, Seethe. Although Alexis would prefer to forget everything, she can’t. Mark, who had never been exposed to Seethe before, has reacted badly to the dose from the Monkey House. He’s become unpredictable, prone to violent outbursts, and has developed a paranoid obsession with firearms. Quietly, Alexis has begun attempting to revive Halcyon, the only thing that can tame the Seethe left in Mark’s system. And someone has noticed. Alexis receives a chilling phone call at her campus office: Surely you didn’t think we could let you live, after what happened?

Soon, the survivors from the Monkey House are embroiled in a second fight to keep Seethe and Halcyon out of government hands, a race that takes them all across the Old North State. As before, their worst enemy isn’t the CIA, NCS, or even the greedy Senator Burchfield, but the darkness that Seethe brings to the surface in every human being it touches. How will they survive the Monkey House when the Monkey House is all around them?

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

 

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mountains, Nicholson, Scott, Orange, Piedmont

Scott Nicholson. Liquid Fear. Las Vegas, NV: Thomas & Mercer, 2011.

Halcyon is rumored to be a miracle drug–a cure-all for post-traumatic stress disorder. Inducing a state of calm amnesia, the drug helps people completely forget their fears. Those afflicted with PTSD, most notably veterans from the recent wars, will finally be able to lead normal lives. But the research process behind the medication is shadowy and filled with terrible secrets.

Dr. Sebastian Briggs, Halcyon’s inventor, was a respected professional conducting his research at UNC. During trials, the accidental death of Susan Sharpe, an undergraduate test subject, forced the university to let him go, but Briggs refused to stop testing. The scientist’s obsessive, sadistic nature pushed him to continue for his own evil enjoyment, and besides, powerful people were willing to fund his work. Briggs sets up a new lab in nearby Research Triangle Park, and gives it a sinister nickname: the Monkey House. What he does there is anyone’s guess. His funders, sensing major returns, make sure they don’t look too closely at his methods.

But what these powerful, wealthy benefactors don’t realize is that Briggs developed another drug alongside the calming Halcyon– a pill that strips away everything that makes a person human, bringing about a state of complete and total animal fear and anger. Briggs called it Seethe, and unbeknownst to UNC, he was testing this drug when Susan’s death occurred.

Ten years later, Briggs’s other test subjects, also students at the time, find themselves struggling to control their behavior. Each person finds a mysterious bottle of pills among his or her belongings, cryptically labeled take every 4 hours, or else. Somehow, all paths lead back to Dr. Briggs and his fateful experiments, and soon each is drawn to the Monkey House. They come to get answers about troubling memories that seem to stem from nowhere–Was Susan’s death really an accident? Is one of them responsible? What are the pills for? Most importantly, why are they still being affected? But Sebastian Briggs isn’t interested in providing explanations. In fact, he has one final test in mind: put his old subjects in the Monkey House, inject them with the deadly Seethe, and watch. After the lights go out, who will emerge alive?

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Horror, Nicholson, Scott, Orange, Piedmont, Suspense/Thriller

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