South Carolina

“Echoes of Edisto” by C. Hope Clark

 

book-cover-echoes-of-edisto

Callie Jean Morgan is now the Police Chief in “Echoes of Edisto,” the third book in C. Hope Clark’s Edisto Island series. The former Boston police detective, haunted by the tragic death of her husband, is living in South Carolina on the coastal island of Edisto with her teenaged son. She has come to Edisto to get as far away from the memories as possible, but it seems that law enforcement is in her blood and those memories have a way of following her trail to the beach.

 

A horrifying traffic accident tests Callie’s mettle as a new Police Chief, pushes the limits of her sobriety, and raises more than one question about the people in her life. “Echoes of Edisto” delves into Callie’s actions, both past and present, and we get to see more of what makes this complex flesh and blood woman tick. Clark delivers an astonishing revelation:   just when Callie has come to terms with her deceased father’s behavior, a new bombshell turns her life upside down.

 

In a perceptive nod to real-life alcoholics, Clark has Callie switch parental roles with her son at her lowest points – he watches out for her when she places herself in danger or drinks too much. Clark explores the nuances of their evolving relationship in occasionally tender, sometimes painful ways as they navigate the minefield of terrifying experiences that have accidentally shaped this young man’s world.

 

Kudos to Clark for creating very real teenagers in her books. The Slade Mysteries has a teenaged daughter and the Edisto series has the teenaged son and both are spot-on in their love for their moms without being sappy, with nothing out of character for the modern teenaged voice. They are not perfect children by any means, but are occupied with normal (sometimes secret) activities and the average rebellious moments of trouble and subterfuge. Ah, the times that try moms’ souls.

 

The recurring characters – friends, family, neighbors, supporting officers and personnel – along with the new people essential to the plot, are nicely written with changing attitudes toward Callie as they get to know her through the three books. Mike Seabrook, doctor turned police officer, is her sometime romantic interest, but in self-preservation mode, Callie has placed boundaries on the relationship because of work. It turns out that Seabrook has secrets/challenges of his own that place them all at risk.

 

Some of the quirky tourists made me LOL. Life as a beach cop must have plenty of “are you kidding me?” moments mixed in with the more serious policing of vacationers who leave their common sense at home. The subplots are complex, with murders and nasty bad guys, along with twists that will keep you turning the pages to find out what happens to these likable people.

 

More books are planned in the series and I look forward to discovering the stories that develop on Edisto Island, especially the ones with a newcomer from Callie’s past. Delicious possibilities were set up in “Echoes of Edisto” for the future.

 

Please visit www.chopeclark.com for information about her appearances and her other works of fiction and non-fiction. C. Hope Clark’s profile can be read here.

 

*Some adult topics and occasional adult language.

 

Meet C. Hope Clark

 

CHopeClark

 

C. Hope Clark is a Southern gal to the core – born, raised, married, and happily still in the Carolinas. Her agricultural roots are deep, being the granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, so it’s not surprising that Clark received a B.S. in Agriculture from Clemson University and then went to work for the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Carolina Slade, the lead character in the Slade Mysteries, was drawn from Clark’s own experiences at the USDA.

 

Hope is married to a long-time (former) officer of federal law enforcement, now working as a contract investigator. The opening scene to “Lowcountry Bribe,” is based on a bribery case that involved both of them in real-life. They married after that case, and now live on Lake Murray, in South Carolina, spending time on Edisto Island whenever they can. The settings for several of Hope’s books, while reimagined to protect the innocent, depict the countryside she loves and has traveled through for most of her life.

 

She founded and continues to run FundsforWriters.com, a site that Writer’s Digest has recognized as one of 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for fourteen years. Hope has been published in multiple magazines, she speaks at writers’ conferences, her books are award winners, and she remains one of the most gracious, generous mystery writers in the business. And, wow, can she hook you with her stories!  :-)

 

Fun facts about Hope:

 

Her favorite dessert is Crème Brulee. She considers it “pure luxury.”

One of her inspirations in the writing business? Lisa Gardner.

She is a member of MENSA!

She loves seafood (as does Callie in the Edisto series) especially shrimp and crab, and has wonderful recipes for both.

Click here to see the recipes for Steamed Blue Crab and Citrus Shrimp.

 

The current list of C. Hope Clark’s Fiction:

 

The Carolina Slade Series:

“Low Country Bribe”

“Tidewater Murder”

“Palmetto Poison”

 

Edisto Series:

“Murder on Edisto”

“Edisto Jinx”

“Echoes of Edisto”

 

Non-fiction:

 

“The Shy Writer: An Introvert’s Guide to Writing Success”

“The Shy Writer, Reborn”

 

It has been my pleasure to read all of C. Hope Clark's works of fiction. My reviews of two of the titles can be found by clicking on the links.

 

Book Cover - LowCountry Bribe

 

 

 

 

 Read the review here.

 

 

Book Cover - Palmetto Poison

 

 

 

 

Read the review here.

 

 

Book Cover - Echoes of Edisto

 

 

 

 

 

 Read the review here.

 

 

 

For information about C. Hope Clark's appearances, signings, and Funds for Writers, please visit www.chopeclark.com:-)

 

 

 

 

Authors of the Carolinas

 

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How many of you have read about a region of the USA in a novel and wanted to travel there, in part to experience the food, in part to relax and enjoy the fabulous scenery that can only be seen in that one area of the planet? The Carolinas (both North and South) are home to fabulous shrimp & grits dishes, as well as mouth-watering other goodies. And you can’t visit either State without having a refreshing glass of world famous Sweet Tea.

 

The authors listed below either live in North or South Carolina, grew up here, or set their books in the region. We are treated to the cuisine of the Appalachia, the Low Country boils, the scenery of the mountains, and/or the wildlife/marshes of the coast. There is a mix of historical, paranormal, happily-ever-after, outrageous comedy, dark mysteries, and cozies – something for everyone who loves thumpin’ good fiction.

 

Click on the website links to find out more.  J

 

 

Suzanne Adair  “A Hostage to Heritage”  www.suzanneadair.net

 

JD Allen “Grasshopper” in “Murder Under the Oaks”  www.jdallenbooks.com

 

Maria Alonso-Sierra  “The Coin”  www.mariaelenawrites.com

 

Mike Axsom  “Making Memories Down South”  www.mikeaxsom.com

 

Jodie Bailey  “Breach of Trust”  www.jodiebailey.com

 

Kaye Wilkinson Barley  “Whimsey”  www.kayewilkinsonbarley.com

 

Cindy Blackburn   “Five Spot”   www.cueballmysteries.com

 

Heather Blanton  “A Promise in Defiance”  www.ladiesindefiance.com

 

Susan Boyer  “Low Country Book Club”  www.susanmboyerbooks.com

 

Felicia Bridges  “Czechmate”  www.adventuresthatinspireaction.com

 

Antoinette Brown  “One-Cat Woman” in “Carolina Crimes”

 

Ross Cavins  “Barry vs The Apocalypse”  www.rosscavins.com

 

Diane Chamberlain  “Pretending to Dance”  www.dianechamberlain.com 

 

C. Hope Clark  “Echoes of Edisto”   www.chopeclark.com

 

J.A. Coffey  "Double Dog Dare"  www.jacoffey.com

 

Cynthia Cooke  “Going All the Way”  www.cynthiacooke.com

 

E.B. Davis  “Ice Cream Allure” in “Carolina Crimes”  www.ebdavismysteries.com

 

Saword Broyles Eller    www.amazon.com/author/saywordbeller

 

Nora Gaskin (Esthimer)  “Time of Death” www.lystrabooks.com

 

Normandie Fischer  “From Fire into Fire”  www.normandiefischer.com

 

Beatrice Fishback  “Bethel Manor”  www.beasattitudes.net

 

Dorothea Benton Frank  “All Summer Long”  www.dotfrank.com

 

Marni K Graff  “Death Unscripted” www.auntiemwrites.com

 

Jordon Greene  "They'll Call It Treason"  www.jordongreene.com

 

Leigh Greenwood  “Forever and Always”  www.leigh-greenwood.com

 

Lynette Hampton  “Fiona’s Journey”  www.agnesalexander.com

 

Rick Helms  “Older than Goodbye”  www.richardhelms.net

 

Judy Hogan  “Haw”  www.judyhogan.home.mindspring.com

 

Tom Honea  “A Confluence of Rivers”  www.amazon.com/dp/B009LU1X8I

 

Ellen Hunter  "Much Ado About Murder"  www.ellenhunter.com

 

Polly Iyer  “Indiscretion”  www.pollyiyer.com

 

Regina Jeffers  "Angel Comes to the Devil's Keep"  www.rjeffers.com

 

Sabrina Jeffries  “Stormswept”  www.sabrinajeffries.com

 

Linda Johnson  “Trail of Destruction”  www.lindajohnson.us

 

Kieran Kramer  “Trouble When You Walked In”  www.kierankramer.com

 

Vicki Lane  “Under the Skin”  www.vickilanemysteries.com

 

Linda Lovely  “Lies”  www.lindalovely.com

 

Cynthia Luhrs  “First Knight”  www.cluhrs.com

 

Margaret Maron  “Long Upon the Land”  www.margaretmaron.com

 

Jamie Mason   “Monday’s Lie” www.jamie-mason.com

 

Karen McCullough  “Wired for Murder”  www.kmccullough.com

 

Heather McGovern  "A Moment of Bliss"  www.heathermcgovernnovels.com

 

Ruth Moose  “Wedding Bell Blues”  www.ruthmoose.com

 

Katy Munger  “Desolate Angel”  www.katymunger.com

 

Nancy Naigle  “Every Yesterday”  www.nancynaigle.com

 

Heather Newton  “Under the Mercy Trees”  www.heathernewton.net

 

Kathryn O’Sullivan  “Neighing with Fire”  www.kathrynosullivan.com

 

Gail Oust  “Cinnamon Toasted”   www.gailoust.com

 

Kate Parker  “Deadly Scandal”  www.kateparkerbooks.com

 

Britni Patterson  “A Thousand Deadly Kisses”  www.britnipatterson.com

 

Leigh Perry  “The Skeleton Haunts a House”  www.leighperryauthor.com

 

Ashantay Peters  “Reading Between the Lives”  www.ashantay.com

 

Patti Phillips  “Kerrian’s Notebook, Vol. 1”  www.pattiphillipsbooks.com

 

Karen Pullen  “Cold Feet”  www.karenpullen.com

 

Kathy Reichs  “Trace Evidence”  www.kathyreichs.com

 

Jennifer Riley  “Jerk Alert”  available at Amazon

 

Sarah Shaber  “Louise’s Chance”  www.amazon.com/Sarah-R.-Shaber/e/B001HMPB9U

 

Nancy Simpson  “B.O.Q.”  www.authornpsimpson.com

 

Regina Smeltzer  “Retribution” www.reginasmeltzer.net

 

Jennifer Hudson Taylor  "For Love or Liberty"  www.jenniferhudsontaylor.net

 

Ellis Vidler  “Prime Target”  www.ellisvidler.net

 

Kathryn R. Wall  “Jordan Point”  www.kathrynwall.com

 

Tamara Ward  “Concealed Suspicions”  www.authortamaraward.com

 

Lynn Chandler Willis  “Wink of an Eye”  www.lynnchandlerwillis.com

 

Bonnie Wisler  “Count a Hundred Stars”   available at Amazon

 

Caleb Wygal  "Blackbeard's Lost Treasure"  www.calebwygal.com

 

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See any new-to-you names on the list of Authors of the Carolinas? 

Happy reading!  :-)

 

 

 

 

“Dear Killer” by Linda Lovely

 

Book Cover - Dear Killer

Marley Clark is a recently widowed, bored, former Army intelligence officer who takes on a job as a security guard for a Dear Island community in order to stay busy.  The gig is mostly routine until one night, she discovers the naked body of a local resident, floating face down in a vegetable-crammed Jacuzzi. Nearby, a message is scratched into a palm tree pot: “STEWED.”

 

The locals are not equipped to handle one murder, let alone the others that follow in rapid succession in "Dear Killer." A deputy arrives from the mainland to help out with the sleuthing. Who would want these people dead? Why stage the crime scenes in such bizarre fashion? And what ties them all together? Clark, the deputy, and friends work together to stop the mayhem, despite repeated threats and close calls.

 

As romantic suspense dictates, the deputy becomes Clark’s boyfriend. A boyfriend who is hot, younger and might not be interested in a one-night stand. And, because this is adult romantic suspense, Clark has some vivid fantasies that eventually lead to actual sexual interludes and some self-doubt about whether she can move on after a year in mourning.

 

In her debut novel, Linda Lovely was on a campaign to let readers know that the over 50 year old crowd is alive and well, sexually active, vital to the community, and lovin’ it. Lovely succeeded in "Dear Killer" and had great fun with her lead character along the way. Clark’s best pal is a snarky, free-spirited gal with a sailor’s vocabulary. This is not your grandmother’s cozy read. The bad guys are sleazy, the murders grisly, the similes and adjectives fly, and the clues are pun-filled.

 

Lovely has penned a novel set in the Low Country of South Carolina. Dear Island itself may be fictional, but descriptions of the area’s history, food, lifestyle and geographical character are authentic. Other readers who live in that section of South Carolina say it’s all spot-on.

 

Go to www.lindalovely.com for more information about Linda Lovely, her dedicated work in the writing community, and her recent books.

 

 

“Palmetto Poison” by C. Hope Clark

 

Book Cover - Palmetto Poison

 

Carolina Slade is back in “Palmetto Poison” and feistier than ever, as a Special Projects Investigator for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture. Sounds like a dull job with a lot of pencil pushing, right? HA! Slade is anything but dull and in her job, she’s more likely to push the envelope than a pencil on any given day. She’s been promoted because of her death dodging, investigative work in an earlier case, and she has the scars to prove it.

 

Slade’s promotion sends her to Columbia, SC where she has built a house on a lake with her crooked dead husband’s insurance money. She still has a thing going with Wayne Largo, a Special Agent for the Office of the Inspector General. That off again, on again relationship has potential, but each of them has trust issues, more fully explored in “Palmetto Poison.”

 

Slade’s old job focused on chasing down “bad farm loans and crooked farmers,” but her new boss gets Slade involved in State House politics, big money, drug thefts, and old romantic scandals intertwined with possible deadly peanut mold toxins. An overlapping case (that pulls in Largo) centers on a notorious drug dealer, a witness who refuses to testify, and the obsessive behavior of a tenacious federal agent. It seems as if everybody is using Slade for his or her own benefit – she is a crack investigator after all – but trying to question everyone may get her fired…or dead.

 

Her flighty sister, Allegra Jo arrives, having been thrown out by their mother who needed a break from her continuing free-wheeling attitude. Slade doesn’t know whether to give her a ‘Best Aunt of the Year Award,’ strangle her, or throw Ally out for being more popular than she is with her own kids.

 

Yup, Slade has a problem with jealousy and not just over family matters. Largo’s ex-wife Pam, a DEA agent, is in town and working on a case that of course, must involve them both. Arghhhh…why does she have to be so cute…and capable? Slade is turning greener than the lush Carolina countryside and can’t keep her mouth shut.

 

A multi-layered “Palmetto Poison” subplot focuses on family issues and the complexities of those relationships. What happens when the normal day-to-day routines are disrupted and impacted by a parent’s demanding work schedule? Can the job be too dangerous if it places the family in harm’s way, even accidentally? Clark gives us an insight into teenaged dumb choices and adult sibling responsibility, and you’ll be reminded of why you love (or hate) your assorted wacky in-laws and why you probably would not trade them (as infuriating as they are) for anything. Even if they do test the boundaries of your commitment to your spouse.

 

In “Palmetto Poison,” Clark has delivered realistic chase scenes and shootouts, smart dialogue, a nudist resort, convincing family drama, romance, and juicy politics, all against the backdrop of steamy South Carolina. Clark keeps getting better and her fans will love this third title in the series.

 

For more information about C. Hope Clark’s award winning writing and her highly respected site, FundsforWriters.com, please visit www.chopeclark.com

 

To read my review of the first book in the Carolina Slade series, “Lowcountry Bribe,” go here.

 

 

“Lowcountry Bribe” by C. Hope Clark

 

Book Cover - LowCountry Bribe

 

Seeing blood splattered all over the office is not the way I’d like to start the business day, but that’s exactly what Carolina Slade, Federal Agent for the Department of Agriculture near Charleston, South Carolina, encounters one morning. A co-worker, Lucas Sherwood, has committed suicide and Slade’s life is about to take a drastic turn for the worse as well.

 

Just when the business of giving loans to the local farmers seems to fall back into the normal routine, a hog farmer, Jesse Rawlings, arrives with a truckload of smelly, dead hogs, and attempts to bribe Ms. Slade into helping him get title to a farm in the area. In exchange for $10,000 and maybe a little action on the side. She’s not interested in either and it doesn’t take too long for her to report the attempted bribe to her boss. Her husband disagrees with her decision, is anything but supportive and constantly demonstrates why their marriage is on the rocks.

 

Enter Wayne Largo, Senior Special Agent, who arrives to investigate the incident. Mr. Largo and his partner, Eddie, feel that Slade needs to go undercover in order to nail Jesse for what he has done.

 

Slade never hesitates about reporting the bribe, but is surprised by the fallout. She is implicated as complicit in the very charges she has reported, and nobody is happy about the charges except the investigators. Even they seem to stop believing her version of the events. And the hog farmer knows where she lives.

 

C. Hope Clark delivers a story that includes corruption and greed, a scheme much broader in scope than a mere bribery attempt, kidnapping, tacky affairs, real estate fraud, and renewed interest in the case of Mickey Wilder, another co-worker who had disappeared the year before. Supposed friends turn out to be foes and the office is a hostile environment. Yup, Ms. Slade’s life is rapidly unraveling.

 

Slade’s bad marriage plays a twisty role in the story, not just as background for the character, but along the way brings a serious ring of truth to her inner thoughts. We see Slade shift realistically between hate, anger, disappointment, and frustration over the love that faded long before. We feel her pain at having/needing to end the marriage in order to move into happier/healthier direction. In one of the many moments of clarity about divorce she says, “Nobody wins.”

 

Carolina Slade is a bright, feisty, strong character who is up to everything thrown at her, and C. Hope Clark has wisely written Slade with a bit of vulnerability to soften the snarky retorts that slip out. At one point, her car is rear-ended twice by someone, but she has no proof, did not see the license and she dismisses the federal agents concern with, “Murder? We shared paint. Cut the dramatics.” And yet, her hand is shaking when she tries to use her key.

 

There are several great supporting characters. The bad guys are slimy, nasty and cold to the bone, but we also know that her dad and her best friend will always be there for her. The relationship that develops between Slade and Largo is an interesting one and fun to read as the two people grapple with their emotions.

 

The area of South Carolina in “Lowcountry Bribe” appears desolate, maybe even a bit creepy, at times. What came to mind was how easily somebody could get lost forever, without ever a possibility of being found. Terrific setting for this story.

 

The book is based in part on an actual bribery case in the author’s personal experience, although Ms. Clark has insisted the murders in the novel are fictional.

 

“Lowcountry Bribe” won the Silver Falchion Award at Killer Nashville in 2012 as well as the EPIC award for best mystery.

To read my review of the third book in the Carolina Slade series, "Palmetto Poison," go here.

For more information about C. Hope Clark, her books, and her marvelous Funds for Writers, please visit www.chopeclark.com