Bundle up with a stirring new book by some of our region’s own
Written by Joshua Simcox
The 13th Target
Mark de Castrique | Poisoned Pen Press (2012)
After launching two successful series, the Buryin’ Barry mysteries and the literary-themed Sam Blackman thrillers, Western North Carolina native Mark de Castrique further demonstrates his range as an author with his new stand-alone thriller, The 13th Target. Set in the high-stakes political landscape of Washington, D.C., de Castrique’s book concerns a widowed ex-Secret Service agent and the murder-fueled, financially motivated conspiracy he uncovers while investigating the questionable suicide of a Federal Reserve executive. As usual, de Castrique spins his tale with impeccable pacing and solid characterizations, while adding authenticity and plausibility through meticulous research of America’s financial system. With shades of David Baldacci, Vince Flynn, and James Patterson, The 13th Target offers the most commercial potential of any of the author's thrillers yet, and will most certainly heighten his status as a mystery writer worthy of attention.
Jane Tesh | Poisoned Pen Press (2012)
Jane Tesh, Mount Airy-based author and musical director at the Andy Griffith Playhouse, continues her humorous, charming series of Grace Street mysteries with Mixed Signals, a plot-rich Southern novel peppered with eccentric characters and written with a keen eye for the quirky nuances that define small-town life. The book follows private investigator David Randall and his probe into the murder of Jared Hunter. The storyline spirals in multiple directions, involving a series of jewelry store robberies, the victim’s checkered past and his association with the newspaper editor’s son, and even an encounter with a group of local superheroes. For such a slim novel, Tesh packs in a surprisingly multifaceted plot, and juggles the characters with the wit and precision of a gifted storyteller.
Kay Hooper | Berkley (2012)
Kay Hooper’s popular Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series continues with Haven, a bone-chilling thriller that complements autumn’s cool nip. Though Hooper’s beloved series is showing signs of wear after more than a dozen books, Haven delivers more of the smart, atmospheric thrills that have long distinguished the author’s style. Concerning psychic investigator Jessie Rayburn and her sister Emma’s confrontation with a force of unimaginable evil in the small North Carolina community of Baron Hollow, the book has the unsettling quality of a fog-shrouded, feverish dream, yet moves rapidly. While those looking for a self-contained read may be somewhat disappointed, given that Haven seems to be the first chapter of a larger story that will play out over subsequent novels, longtime fans of Hooper will find much to enjoy here.