Category Archives: Dare


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.

This is the third Missing Pieces Mystery.  To start the series at the beginning, read A Spirited Gift.

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

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

Joyce and Jim Lavene. A Touch of Gold. New York: Berkley Prime Crime, 2011.

Life in Duck, North Carolina, during the off season can be slow for the residents of this Outer Banks hamlet. Although the town is fairly small, its history, lore, and spirit more than make up for its size. The quiet of the off season suddenly changes when the Duck Historical Museum explodes. All of the relics–some centuries-old–are destroyed, but that is not the only loss to the community. The greatest tragedy in this strange event is the death of Max Caudle, museum curator and Duck expert, who perished in the blast.  Dae O’Donnell, mayor of Duck and close friend of Max is heartbroken – and oddly affected. Dae, who had been helping Max with a program for school children just before the explosion, was very close to the building before it went up in flames. Now, in addition to her ability to help people find lost objects just by touching them, Dae can “see” the history of things.

Law enforcement officials in Duck think that they have a solid suspect in the arson and the murder of Max until that person is found dead. Later Max’s widow’s home is destroyed. Using her powerful gift, Dae, with the help of ex-FBI agent and beau Kevin Brickman, tries to discover who is wrecking havoc on the coastal village. Their investigation takes them into many aspects of Duck’s past, including long-buried family secrets and gold.

A Touch of Gold is the second novel in the “Missing Pieces Mystery” series.

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

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

Mary Flinn. Second Time’s a Charm. New York: Aviva, 2011.


The title removes any suspense that this novel might have had, but Second Time’s a Charm is nonetheless an engaging, enjoyable read.  Stacie Edmonds was burned by her first husband, Rick, a good-looking runaround with a cocaine habit.  Stacie came out of that marriage with her restaurant, the Sound Side, but also with a fear of betrayal and a disinclination to trust her heart to another man.  Tyson Garrett, the chef at the Sound Side, loves Stacie and wants her to see that he is not like Rick.  The novel follows the development of their relationship through a series of challenges–a vengeful former employee, a hurricane, a fragile pregnancy, and a meltdown by Rick, who still lives nearby.  A large cast of characters populate the novel–friends, family members, local characters, and staff from the Sound Side.  The Sound Side itself is almost a character; readers will get a sense of the varied work and the camaraderie  that make a restaurant successful.

Kyle Davis and Chelsea Davenport, the main characters in Ms. Flinn’s first book, The One, have minor roles in this story.  The two will be back as the main characters in the author’s next book, Three Gifts.

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


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Dare, Flinn, Mary, Romance/Relationship

Paul Clayton. White Seed: The Untold Story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke. [Bangor, ME]:, 2009.

White Seed follows the journey of the settlers of the Lost Colony, the third group sent to the Americas by Sir Walter Raleigh, as they fight to survive on what is now the North Carolina coast. But who would be daring, or desperate, enough to abandon his or her homeland, England, for the wilds of the Virginia Colony?

Maggie Hagger, a simple Irish girl running from a terrible deed, seeks indentured passage as a means of escape from the faceless man who pursues her. Accepted as a maidservant for Governor John White’s pregnant daughter Eleanor Dare, Maggie has no idea that she may be trading one death sentence for another. Thomas and Lionel, her erstwhile companions, flee from similarly unsavory fates in England, while others, like the greedy Portuguese captain Simon Fernandes, seek only the opportunity to take what fortune they can from the Natives or fat Spanish ships. As for Governor White, he plans to live out his days peacefully in the tranquil Chesapeake, where the Natives are friendly and the land is mild. But all these hopes are dashed when they are put ashore in Roanoke.

There, a bellicose chieftain, Powhatan, has already determined that he will capture and kill any English who return to his land. He is especially reliant on Towaye, the spy he instructed to be captured before the last English returned to their native land. Now Towaye is back with these new settlers, although he finds himself under the watchful eye of Manteo, a Native loyal to the English who raised him from a child in this interpretation of the tale. But Powhatan isn’t the settlers’ only problem. When John White returns to England for supplies, conditions begin to deteriorate, and soon Maggie, Thomas, Manteo, and others find themselves fighting not one, but two enemies: the angry Natives…and their own soldiers.

Readers will enjoy this fast-paced, epic account of the Lost Colony’s still-unknown fate, and will find the author’s artistic choices to be interesting deviations from accepted research and other fictional versions.

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



Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Clayton, Paul, Coast, Dare, Historical

Mary Kay Andrews. Summer Rental. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2011.

Ellis, Julia, and Dorie have seen each other through everything since kindergarten. Now, even though they’re miles apart and all grown up, they still get together once a year to be girls together. This year, they’ve chosen scenic Nags Head, North Carolina as the destination for their reunion. And they need it more than ever. Ellis has just been fired, Dorie is having marital problems, and Julia finds herself at a crossroads in her career. All three hope that Ebbtide, the scenic-sounding beach house they’ve rented for a month from the kindly Mr. Culpepper, will provide solace for their sore hearts.

Ty Bazemore, alias Mr. Culpepper, is the real owner of Ebbtide. Living just next door, he finds it easier for tenants never to meet their landlord–more peace for him, and the opportunity to ensure that everything stays in order. But he doesn’t count on the feisty Ellis, who takes issue with the rundown state of the little beach house. It’s really not Ty’s fault: he’s had a run of bad luck since his grandparents, the real Mr. and Mrs. Culpepper, passed away, and now he’s in danger of losing his childhood home for good. He’s annoyed with Ellis’ nitpicking at first, but then strangely attracted…could she possibly feel the same way?

Maryn is a woman on the run. Her husband, the cold and calculating Don Shackleford, has been up to no good, and by the time Maryn figures out how much trouble she’s in, all she can do is pack a bag and get out of town. Arriving randomly in Nags Head, she throws her lot in with three complete strangers…but will she bring her troubles with her in the form of an angry and violent Don?

Mary Kay Andrews brings together five lives touched by hardship in this comic, heartwarming tale. Relationships, economic difficulties, and family troubles are no match for the strong, sisterly bonds of Ellis, Dorie, and Julia, and their warmth spirals wide to include anyone who crosses their path. Mothers, wives, girlfriends, and best friends will all cheer for these spunky pals as they get one another through the tough times, as women have always done.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Andrews, Mary Kay, Coast, Dare, Romance/Relationship

Richard Folsom. Indian Wood. [United States: BookSurge?], 2009.

Is it possible that three people were murdered because of something they found on an old reel of microfilm?  That’s what newspaperman Luther Surles wants to find out in this mystery that moves between the Court of Queen Elizabeth I and present day Greenville and Lumberton, North Carolina.

Carl Burden and Luther Surles met when they were covering a Klan rally in Robeson County in 1958. Carl was a cub reporter; Luther had been a newspaperman for a few years.  Luther stayed in journalism, but Carl went to graduate school and eventually became a history professor at East Carolina University.  Carl’s research interest is the Lost Colony and a possible connection between the colonists and the Lumbee Tribe.

Carl’s new graduate student, the lovely Roberta Locklear, is also interested in a Lost Colony-Lumbee connection, and soon both Carl’s research and his love life heat up.  But Roberta has her own history, and Luther begins to suspect that some piece of that ties into Carl’s murder.  This novel moves weaves stories of the wars, exploitation, and double-dealing of earlier centuries with a very twenty-first century story of property development and greed.  As a bonus, the book contains a novel-within-a-novel–Carl’s historical novella on the Lost Colony.

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

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2009, Coast, Coastal Plain, Cumberland, Dare, Folsom, Richard, Greene, Historical, Mystery, Robeson

Katrina Thomas. Love at Morley Cove. New York, NY: Avalon Books, 2011.

The Hills, or at least the Outer Banks, are alive in this romantic tale of a young librarian who takes a temporary position as a nanny in a wealthy resort owner’s home. Reine Jonson has never been rich, but lately she’s struggling more than usual. Her ancient car needs repairs, and she’s trying to save up to begin a graduate program in the fall, so when Stephen Morley offers to hire her, she’s glad to have the money. What she doesn’t count on is Stephen. Mr. Morley never smiles. He doesn’t joke or laugh, either, making him an awkward surrogate parent for his late brother and sister-in-law’s three children. Each one is a rambunctious troublemaker under the age of ten: there are snakes on the tea trays, sticky fingers on the tablecloths, and small voices often raised in piercing childish mirth. Grieving, busy Mr. Morley is vexed to discover that none of the nannies he hires wish to stay for more than a week. Reine arrives on his porch just as the latest in a long line of au pairs is making her dramatic exit, and the children take to the reserved, understanding librarian immediately. Despite her misgivings about his demeanor, Reine is more than a little moved by the handsome Stephen’s dark eyes–but what, if anything, does he feel for her behind his grim mask?

There are few places more beautiful than the sea-swept shores of North Carolina, and readers will find themselves transported there by the description of the scenery as well as Reine and Stephen’s breathless romance. For an even better experience, slip this book into your beach tote and take it with you on your sandy, salty vacation!

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Dare, Romance/Relationship, Thomas, Katrina

Michael Parker. The Watery Part of the World. Chapel Hill, NC: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2011.

Some years ago- never mind how long precisely- having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. So begins Ishmael’s adventures, and Michael Parker likewise takes the reader straight out to sea to meet Theodosia Burr Alston. Historically, Theodosia was the highly educated daughter of the infamous Aaron Burr. In early 1813, Burr had returned from voluntary exile in Europe, and Theodosia was eager to join him. Sailing north to their reunion in New York, she sank along with her ship off the North Carolina coast, never to be heard from again. Which is of course where all the best stories begin. Parker’s Theodosia survives the pirate raid that scuttles her vessel, eking out a precarious existence on the Outer Banks with the help of a recluse named Whaley. Though far removed from the elegant lady she once was, Theodosia is still her father’s devoted daughter. Among the most valuable cargo on the ship were Aaron Burr’s personal papers; papers that, falling into the wrong hands, would certainly endanger his life. The pirate captain, a savage but educated man named Daniels, now possesses them. Theodosia is determined to steal them back. Badly injured in attempting their recovery, she flees to nearby Yaupon Island.

Sail forward one hundred and sixty odd years to 1970. Yaupon Island is “six square miles of sea oat and hummock afloat off the cocked hip of North Carolina.” Its population is three: two old, white sisters, Whaley and Maggie, descendants of the remarkable Theodosia, and Woodrow Thornton, the many-greats grandchild of the man who saved her life. Why does Woodrow stay on that hurricane-battered spit of sand, his children wonder? All to care for two crazed white women who don’t treat him any better than a handyman? Maggie and Whaley, different as night and day, are certainly more than a little mad in their own ways, but possibly from sorrow and disappointed hopes more than anything else.

Parker flashes back and forth between these two tales like lightning on the shoals, filling his watery world with historical figures, heartbreak, betrayal, and the raw desire of the human heart to outlast every attempt at drowning.

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

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Coast, Dare, Historical, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Parker, Michael

Z. K. Burrus. Senestre on Vacation. Livingston, AL: Livingston Press, 2011.

Thomas Senestre delights in sarcasm (if he delights in anything), even if his acerbic commentary remains mostly unvoiced. Recently promoted by default to Lieutenant in the Jackson City Police Department, he knows he leads a tepid life at best; that of a rather inept, single, insomniac policeman eking out existence in a cramped, cockroach-infested apartment. His closest friend and drinking partner is the city undertaker, which seems to fit Senestre’s personality perfectly. So Senestre drinks. And snarks.

This existence is rudely interrupted by a plea for help from a woman claiming to be a friend of his wayward mother. Adora Phelps is being stalked, or thinks she is, and begs her friend’s policeman son to come do some snooping of his own. Suspicious and feeling vaguely put-upon, Senestre nonetheless answers her summons to the small Outer Banks town of Pantego, where he encounters irritating locals, the batty Adora, and water (which he hates). Is Adora truly in danger? Will Senestre unwittingly learn who his absent father was? Will he ever manage to fall asleep?

Z.K. Burrus’ brooding debut novel bites its way to a grisly, suspenseful end. Set in locations based on Elizabeth City and Manteo, North Carolina, local readers may not recognize their sunny home state through the sleep-deprived, cryptic eyes of Thomas Senestre, but they will surely chuckle over his dark witticisms.

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


Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Burrus, Z. K., Camden, Coast, Dare, Mystery, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Pasquotank, Suspense/Thriller

Leslie Neil Strickland. The Weekend. Bloomington, IN: Xlibris Corporation, 2010.

Stormy Tyler is a gorgeous, redheaded lawyer stuck in an unhappy marriage, so she’s looking forward to spending a relaxing weekend with her work friends at picturesque Bodie Island on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. As fate would have it, Nash Jenkins and Dustin Collier, two handsome machinists on leave from the US Navy, are also planning a trip to the same resort. When the lovely lawyers and the suave sailors meet, The Weekend truly begins and becomes one for everyone to remember as they explore, swim, surf, and fall in love.

Filled with meticulously researched detail on Bodie Island and its idyllic resorts, readers will recognize all their favorite places and discover new ones as they follow Stormy, Nash, and their friends in their romantic romping. A first time author, Mr. Strickland has written a great novel for romance enthusiasts to take on vacation.

Due to the mature nature of the material, this book is recommended for adults only.

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

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Coast, Dare, Romance/Relationship, Strickland, Leslie Neil