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North Beach Sun - Summer 2010

This Spring/Summer is the best season ever for an abundance of new fiction titles set on North Carolina's Outer Banks.
Sure, we regularly get wonderful histories, guidebooks and gift books covering all aspects of Outer Banks lore. What with the Lost Colony, pirates, wild horses, hunt clubs, shipwrecks, lighthouses, fishing, shelling, birding, the Wright Brothers, submarines and even ghosts, we certainly do not lack for engaging and compelling subjects.
Yet, in some years, despite the prolific romances of Nicholas Sparks, we just don't have new novels with an Outer Banks setting to offer to our reading visitors.
Below is our list of five new titles we think you will enjoy:

"Outer Banks House" by Diann Ducharme, $25.00
In this love story about the daughter of plantation owners on the mainland of North Carolina and the son of an Outer Banks fisherman, you'll delight in the scenery of the early Outer Banks-horses, shifting sands of Jockey's Ridge, a hurricane and the friendship between that young fisherman and an African American with a bit of Mark Twain-like humor thrown in. This novel brings to life the difficult and uncertain world of Reconstruction North Carolina including its effects on the African Americans on Roanoke Island and does so with a romantic but unsympathetic eye  

"The Second Coming" by Doyle Thomas, $11.99
In 1985 the Outer Banks was  on a different pace than it is now. It was much less crowded then, the days quieter and more prosaic. In the spring of that year individuals and groups headed to this narrow spit of land. They were coming for different reasons. Two older couples to take part in an amateur bird-watching experiment, a college sophomore looking to put some space between herself and her boyfriend, an instructor from North Carolina State University sent to coordinate the ornithological observations. Coming with the instructor is an old friend who had shown up at his door on the morning he was to leave. It is this man, Rob Wheat, who has done and will do things that will change all their lives.

"The Language of Sand" by Ellen Block, $15.00
As a lexicographer, Abigail Harker has always taken refuge in the meaning of words. But when fate erases in one tragic moment what she loves the most, the very foundations of her life vanish. Abigail retreats to Chapel Isle, a secluded island in North Carolina's Outer Banks, as she hopes to redefine herself. But as a resident soon remarks, "If you came to Chapel Isle for normal, you came to the wrong place." For on Chapel Isle no one can be neatly defined. From a scientific genius to the feuding fisherman's wives, from a handsome hot head to the ghost said to be haunting the lighthouse, everyone is struggling to find meaning where meaning seems lost. And when a series of mysterious crimes strikes the island, Abigail finds she must face down her deepest fears if she is to save herself, her neighbors, and the new life she's unexpectedly come to cherish.

"Tide of Darkness: The Lost Colony Theatre Murders: by Joseph Terrell, $14.95
Joseph Terrell knows the Outer Banks- its geography, its quirks, its people and their foibles. True-crime writer Harrison Weaver arrives at the picturesque Outer Banks seeking peace and quiet. But his resolve to avoid even thinking about murder is dashed when he discovers on the night of his arrival that the body of another young female cast member of "the Lost Colony" outdoor drama has been found strangled and thrown into Croatan Sound- a killing eerily similar to an unsolved case that first brought Weaver to the Outer Banks four years earlier. Despite his promise to himself Weaver is drawn into the investigation, only to find that he may be the killer's next victim.

"Murder at Hatteras" by Joe C. Ellis, $15.95
For the last three years, Joe Ellis's previous book, "Murder at Whalehead" has been our highest volume seller of a book with our local setting. We expect this newer title to do equally well. Gabe and Marla Easton move to Hatteras Island to escape from a stress filled world in hope of conceiving their first child. Shortly after their arrival a brutal rape/murder occurs on the island. As the investigation proceeds, the Eastons are drawn into the search for the killer. Soon, everybody seems to exhibit suspicious behavior. When Gabe is beaten and Marla is raped, Marla cannot identify their assailant and cannot even reveal her plight because the rapist has threatened to kill Gabe, who is alive but in a coma. The plot comes to a head as Marla realizes she is now pregnant. The story rushes to a climax as readers learn the identity of the assailant as well as the father of Marla"s unborn child. 

Now for something of lighter fare-

"A Timely Vision-A Missing Pieces Mystery" by Joyce and Jim Lavene, $7.99
This is the first book in an all new series. The main character is the mayor of Duck, North Carolina. Her name is Dae O'Donnell and she wears many hats. She's the ceremonial ribbon cutter, champion of the local turtle population, and the person everyone turns to when they've lost something. One touch and Dae can find it, and missing pieces seem to find their way to her, whether she wants them to or not. When the town matriarch Miss Mildred seeks out Dae to help find her missing watch, Dae's vision leads her straight into a murder investigation. Now she must prove that Miss Mildred isn"t a cold-blooded killer. With the help of town newbie and retired FBI agent Kevin Brickman, Dae sets out to prove Mildred's innocence-hoping she won't become Duck's next missing piece.

Take a little time to read about places you know and you may find factual errors. This can lead you to feel a sense of superiority, but remember, it's all fiction and all fun. Enjoy your summer.