Is the cold weather really over at last? If the warmer season is finally here after all, what are some good books you should consider for your spring reading list?

Here are four recent novels from three of North Carolina’s most popular writers and a promising debut author, all of them featured on recent or upcoming North Carolina Bookwatch broadcasts.

When “Long Upon the Land” was published in 2015, North Carolina’s beloved mystery writer Margaret Maron told us it was her final in her 20-book series featuring District Court Judge Deborah Knott, the daughter of a bootlegger and the wife of a deputy sheriff. Sadly, we said goodbye to Knott and to Maron’s story-telling talents too soon.

Last year, we got a happy surprise. Although the Judge Knott series was over, Maron had one more novel to share.

“Take Out” is a murder mystery, the last in Maron’s nine-book Sigrid Harald series. She is a New York City police detective. Harald may not be as popular as Knott, but she has many fans.

The novel opens with the discovery of two dead men on a park bench in downtown Manhattan. Both had apparently been poisoned. But why, and by whom? Maron takes us all over the city to solve the mystery. Along the way we meet a North Carolina bookseller who shares a name with the former owner of Quail Ridge Books, the late and beloved Nancy Olson.

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Daniel Wallace’s recent “Extraordinary Adventures” may be his best novel. That is saying something because his “Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions” delighted thousands even before it became a great movie.

In “Extraordinary Adventures,” he tells us the story of Edsel Bronfman, a 34-year-old socially awkward shipping clerk who wins a free vacation. There is only one condition, “you have to bring your spouse or partner or girlfriend.” Edsel’s crusade to find that partner makes for another wild, happy and troubling Daniel Wallace adventure.

Local governments on the coast are adopting resolutions opposing President Trump’s proposal to open the Atlantic waters to offshore oil drilling. In master storyteller and UNC-Wilmington writing professor Phillip Gerard’s recent novel, “The Dark of the Island,” Gerard weaves a story line that brings together German submarines and spying along our coastline and recent efforts to find and exploit oil deposits off those same shores.

Into this tapestry he blends other compelling themes such as complicated families, race, romance, and the special history of the people of the Outer Banks. The main character, Nick Wolf, is a researcher and publicist for the fictional NorthAm Oil Company, which is searching for oil off the North Carolina coast. His grandfather was a German immigrant who died off the coast of Hatteras Island in 1942 reportedly while serving in the U.S. Merchant Marines, but possibly as a part of the German military.

In her debut novel “Maranatha Road,” attorney, mother, and author Heather Bell Adams takes her readers to the North Carolina mountains where two women battle over the memory of a man each loved. The man’s mother, Sadie Caswell, mourns the loss of her son, who died shortly before his scheduled wedding. The other woman, Tinley Greene, is a young stranger, recently orphaned and alone. She now claims she is pregnant with the man’s child.

Adams sympathizes with both these characters. Like Tinley, Adams lost a parent while she was still in her teens. And she is now a mother like Sadie.

“Now that I’m a mother, I’m often struck by the fierce desire to shield our son from harm and unhappiness, especially knowing how arbitrary life can be. The character of Sadie first appeared to me as an older woman who sees that her adult son is headed for disaster, but she is powerless to stop it.”


D.G. Martin hosts “North Carolina Bookwatch,” which airs Sundays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. Preview the upcoming program on Preview the upcoming program on UNC-TV’s North Carolina digital channel (Spectrum #1276) on Tuesdays at 8 p.m.
This Thursday’s (April 26) guest is Heather Bell Adams, author of “Maranatha Road.” Next week’s (April 29, May 3) guest is Phillip Gerard, author of “The Dark of the Island.”
To view prior programs:
For upcoming programs:
Thursday 5pm April 19 Ed Haag author of “Charlie Soong”
Sunday 11 a.m. April 22 and Thursday 5pm April 26 Heather Bell Adams, author of “Maranatha Road”
Sunday 11 a.m. April 29 and Thursday 5pm May 3 Phillip Gerard, author of “The Dark of the Island”
Sunday 11 a.m. May 6 Thursday 5pm May 10 Stephanie Elizondo Griest, author of “ All the Agents and Saints: Dispatches from the U.S. Borderlands ”
Sunday 11 a.m. May 13 Thursday 5pm May 17 LaHoma Smith Romocki & Cindy Waszak Geary, authors of “Going to School in Black & White”
Sunday 11 a.m. May 20 Thursday 5pm May 24 Mark de Castrique author of “Hidden Scars”
Sunday 11 a.m. May 27 Thursday 5pm May 31 Charlie Lovett, author of “The Lost Book of the Grail”
Thursday 5pm June 7 Belle Boggs, author of “The Art of Waiting”