Book Beat: Virginia Kantra has new book, ‘Carolina Blues’


Virginia Kantra, best-selling author of more than 25 books, returns to the North Carolina coast with her latest novel, “Carolina Blues” (Berkley).

In the laid-back beach town of Dare Island, new police chief Jack Rossi is recovering from a rocky marriage and the trials of a big-city police department. Lauren Patterson is trying to escape the memories and fame of her experience as a hostage in a bank robbery. While overcoming their pasts, they find themselves fighting for their future.

“I’ve been in love with the North Carolina coast since my husband took me there on vacation 30 years ago,” Kantra said. “Twenty-seven years ago we moved to Raleigh, where we raised our three children, but we still sneak to the beach as often as we can.”

First timers

• “Crazy Love” (Five Layer Horizon Publishing), by Raleigh’s

Eileen Leamy

is a real-life fairy tale of two people who had given up on love, but found God had a different plan. Leamy is a retired teacher who plays the cello in the string quartet The Chamber Chicks.


Todd Levins

of Durham wrote the first draft of his mystery, “First They Take Your Heart” (Bad Sign Publishing), while on the Caribbean coast of Colombia.

• In “Unraveled” (Winslet Press), by Cary resident

Heidi McCahan

, Lauren Carter returns to the one place she’s been avoiding: the place she used to call home.

New titles


Wayne Grant

of Raleigh drew from stories he told to his sons to write “Longbow” (Amazon), the first of a trilogy of young adult novels. He hopes to inspire boys to put down the video controllers and pick up a book, “at least for a time.”

• “The Kiss,” by

Scott Blumenthal

of Cary, tells the story of young musicians living during the Holocaust who are forced to play during a massacre of their city. The novel won this year’s IPPY gold medal for historical fiction.


“Sustenance Through Starvation” (Duxbury & Gloucester), by Raleigh’s Mabel Blair Steering, is a satirical take on the world of the privileged. The tale follows Gwendolyn, the guileless daughter of the head of the world’s largest charitable organization.

Short stories

• Cary author

Rick Ballou’s

short story is featured in “Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet” (Press 53), an anthology of 20 stories by 20 authors set in 20 countries.

• “Sweet Souls” (Main Street Rag) is a collection of fiction stories ranging from the rural South to the Middle East by

Charles Blackburn Jr.

of Raleigh.

• Durham writer

Gregg Cusick’s

first book, “My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible” (Livingston Press), features stories about individuals trying to deal with their pasts.


Local authors were among the winners at the N.C. Book Awards this month:

Joan Holub of Raleigh won the American Association of University Women Award for Juvenile Literature for “Little Red Writing.”

The Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction went to Lee Smith of Hillsborough for “Guests on Earth.”

The R. Hunt Parker Award for significant contributions to the literature of North Carolina was presented to Allan Gurganus of Hillsborough. Gurganus is the author of “Oldest Confederate Widow Tells All.”

Triangle-area authors: We want to hear about your new book. Send information to As space permits, we will mention self-published books by local authors that are for sale on commercial sites.