Lowcountry Bribe [NOOK Book]

Overview


A killer wants to make certain she buys the farm.

Threats, a missing boss, a very dead co-worker, a high-level investigation and a sinister hog farmer: Lowcountry Ag Department manager Carolina Slade is a bean-counting civil servant in hot water.

Carolina Slade is a by-the-book county manager for the Department of Agriculture-a civil servant who coordinates federal loans...
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Lowcountry Bribe

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Overview


A killer wants to make certain she buys the farm.

Threats, a missing boss, a very dead co-worker, a high-level investigation and a sinister hog farmer: Lowcountry Ag Department manager Carolina Slade is a bean-counting civil servant in hot water.

Carolina Slade is a by-the-book county manager for the Department of Agriculture-a civil servant who coordinates federal loans for farmers in the coastal lowcountry of South Carolina. When one of her clients, a hog farmer named Jessie Rawlings, offers her a bribe, Slade reports Jessie to her superiors. The next thing she knows, she's besieged by Resident Agent-In-Charge Wayne Largo from the Feds' IG Office in Atlanta. He and his partner have come to investigate Slade's accusations, and if possible catch Jessie in the act of handing over money.

However, the IG isn't telling Slade everything. The agents are also investigating the disappearance of Slade's boss the year before in connection to possible land fraud. And when the sting on Jessie goes bad, the case is put on hold and Wayne is called back to Atlanta, leaving Slade to fear not only for her life and job, but for her childrens' safety.

Author C. Hope Clark, the granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, holds a B.S. in Agriculture from Clemson University and has 25 years' experience with the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Now an award-winning writer, she manages FundsforWriters.com, a weekly newsletter service she founded that reaches almost 50,000 writers including university professors, professional journalists and published mystery authors. Writer's Digest has recognized the site in its annual 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for a dozen years. Hope is married to a 30-year veteran of federal law enforcement, a Senior Special Agent, now a private investigator. They live in South Carolina, on the banks of Lake Murray. Hope is hard at work on the next novel in her Carolina Slade Mystery Series. Visit her at www.chopeclark.com.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611941104
  • Publisher: BelleBooks
  • Publication date: 1/31/2012
  • Series: A Carolina Slade Mystery , #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 306,243
  • File size: 3 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 10, 2012

    Rules were absolute; that’s the way she was raised. If she

    Rules were absolute; that’s the way she was raised. If she followed the rules, she’d be just fine…

    Uh-uh, honey. Not this time. Not for Carolina Slade, County Manager, United States Department of Agriculture. Slade's professional life has blitzed from the structured normalcy of bailing out farmers with federal loans to head-spinning chaos faster than a filibustering politician can shout “pork barrel spending.” From the splatter of employee Lucas Sherwood’s O-positive blood on his office wall—an apparent suicide—to pig farmer Jesse Rawlings with his unabashed bribe to gain possession of an adjacent farm, author C. Hope Clark will have readers fretting over and cheering for her gutsy protagonist in LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE.

    Doesn’t sound like enough conflict for you die-hard mystery devotees yet? Turn another page. With the deftness of an all-star hitter, Ms. Clark brings in the bickering, grudge-holding, soon-to-be-ex husband and a couple of gotta love’ em kids inching their way into puberty.

    Oh, and let’s not discount Senior Special Agent Wayne Largo, who arrives in his white Impala toting a big Smith and Wesson .357 and even bigger government credentials. Did I say white Impala? Dark hair, broad shoulders, trim waist? A drawl that has Georgia peaches dropping from the trees?

    Yep. That’s him. Sigh.

    Murder, kidnapping, edge-of-your-seat mayhem and sizzling romance done Southern style, C. Hope Clark’s debut novel packs it all into 272 pages. And then some. This author drops readers straight into the story’s heart with her wonderfully painted visuals of the South Carolina coast, her smart and snappy dialogue, in-depth characterizations, and infinite plot twists and turns. Protagonist Slade loses ground and gains it back again and again in LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE, but she never stops trying—and she never loses the stranglehold on integrity that’s helped her succeed in a man’s world. In a word, she's likeable. (I guess that’s two words.)

    This is a good one, folks. I’d tout LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE as a page-turner, but readers will recognize this after the first chapter. I’m giving Ms. Clark’s effort five sterling stars, and you can bet I’ll be watching eagerly for the second installment in her Carolina Slade mystery series. Maybe a third installment, a fourth?

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2012

    C. Hope Clark's novel, Lowcountry Bribe, embraces South Carolina

    C. Hope Clark's novel, Lowcountry Bribe, embraces South Carolina's state motto - Smiling Faces, Beautiful Places - to the fullest extent.

    As someone who is familiar with the South Carolina Lowcountry, Clark paints a perfect picture of the scenery. Everything from the country farms and local convenience stores to the seafood and beaches gives the reader a feel for "real" Charleston County living outside of the standard tourist's view of Meeting Street in downtown Charleston. The settings become comfortable to the reader as if it's their own house, their own office.

    Lowcountry Bribe's characters are where Clark really shines though. I felt as if I known them my entire life. It was refreshing to be able to relate with a character like Carolina Slade who has good intentions and follows the rules, yet still winds up with the short end of the stick in many instances. Ivy and Zack, Slade's children, were minor characters yet added excellent depth and emotion to the story seeing how Slade interacted with them and planned her course of action with them always in mind. Wayne's stoic nature kept me wondering what else was there he wasn't divulging? How much is real and how much is an act of a federal agent? The characters you were supposed to like, you sympathize with and root for throughout the entire story. And the characters you aren't supposed to like... Clark makes you loathe them. The dialogue, catchy one-liners, and the Southern-isms really draw the characters together as well.

    Overall, the story was fantastic with plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader going, wanting to know what's next. C. Hope Clark really hit this one out of the park on her first novel. I cannot wait for next book in the Carolina Slade Mysteries!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2012

    A killer mystery

    If you think 'mystery' means Angela Lansbury finding the guest of honor face down in the punch bowl, this book will be an eye-opener. And if you think 'Southern mystery' means Grandma finding Punkin face down in the black-eyed peas, it will be a double-eye-opener. A compelling crime novel, and there will be sequels. -- Bobby Bryant

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 15, 2013

    Carolina Slade is a hard working mom who finds herself snared in

    Carolina Slade is a hard working mom who finds herself snared in a web of distrust. As the County Manager, United States Department of Agriculture in Charleston County, South Carolina, she arranges government loans for hard pressed farmers. Not all of those farmers are happy to have the government poking around in their private affairs. Some are outright hostile to any government officer who comes onto their property.

    When Lucas Sherwood blew his brains out with his own pistol in his office, Slade’s world began to wobble. Her thoughts drifted back to Mickey Wilder, one year prior to Lucas’ suicide, Mickey went out on a job and never came back. Slade wonders if the two deaths are connected. Her moment of contemplation is interrupted by a visit to her office by the Rawlings brothers.

    Hog farmers, the Rawlings brothers, are always in arrears with their loan payments. Ren Rawling, the eldest is intellectually impaired but relatively harmless. Jesse, the younger sibling is a powder keg ready to explode. Jesse displays the arrogance and hostility of a man with a chip on his shoulder. He feels the government is a hindrance to his life style, a burden he can do without. Hence he does all in his power to place blocks in the way the government wants him to do business.

    Slade, as she prefers to be called, feels uneasy around Jesse. She didn’t like the sleazy way his gaze continually undressed her. Her apprehension with the man rises to new heights when Jesse offers her a bribe to look the other way regarding his loan arrears. Rejecting his offer, Slade did not foresee what a terrible part Jesse would soon play in her life.

    Home life for Slade was as traumatic as her work place. Her husband didn’t respect her, and they fought continually. His drinking and temper tantrums placed her under constant threat of violence. She feared for her two children as well as herself, and longed to find solace from the barrage of abuse.

    Head office’s reaction to the report of Jesse’s bribe, took Slade by surprise . She found herself under suspicion for manufacturing the accusation to suit her own ambitions. Wayne Largo, Senior Special Agent from the Inspector General’s office in Atlanta, is assigned to investigate Slade’s case.

    Irritated by Largo’s attitude towards her, Slade soon finds herself attracted to him. This attraction grows as Largo and herself become engrossed in unraveling the puzzle that surrounds Jesse Rawling. Slade finds herself becoming more reliant, yet at the same time frustrated with Largo. Pressure at home and work keeps progressing until it explodes in the worse way possible for a mum. Her children are placed in extreme danger by Jesse, which brings her relationship with Largo into conflict as well.

    C. Hope Clark has penned a fast paced thriller that grabs the reader from start to finish. In today’s world of publishing, both for self-published and traditionally published authors, the “Telling” style of writing is prevalent. “Telling” is a lazy cop out by writers and makes for dull reading. C. Hope Clark is not guilty in this department, her writing sparkles in the “Showing” style, which creates full body characters that readers can empathize with.

    Readers who seek a novel worthy of the word quality, need go no further than “Lowcountry Bribe”. It’s a book that shows C. Hope Clark is at the height of her literary powers. This is a novel well worth reading and I highly recommend it to lovers of the thriller genre.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 14, 2012

    "If anyone can write an authentic Southern mystery, it&rsqu

    "If anyone can write an authentic Southern mystery, it’s C. Hope Clarke. Her plots are as tangled as the kudzu vines that snake over rural roofs, and the characters so real, I know I know them. For a riveting ride, pour yourself a tall glass of bourbon, curl up on your porch swing (with a shotgun by your side), and read Low Country Bribe.”

    Cynthia Brian, Producer/Host StarStyle®-Be the Star You Are!® Radio and New York Times best selling author

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2012

    Do The Right Thing; Read Lowcountry Bribe!

    So many times when people try to do the right thing it backfires in their face. Fortunately for C. Hope Clark, she did the right thing and stayed true to her roots with fully developed, relatable southern characters and background scenes in this mystery/thriller.
    I found Clark's ability for multi-tasking several writing projects carried over into her multi-faceted heroine, Carolina Slade Bridges. Slade walks the tightrope between home and career the best she can. As manager for the county Agricultural Department, Slade tries her best to keep farmers on their farms, while at home she tries to keep peace for the sake of her children.
    Riding all the twists and turns throughout this not-so-cozy novel, Slade tries to stay true to herself and sense of what's right no matter which situation she is presented; faced with bribes, investigations, possible corrupt officials, her erratic home life and danger around every bend.
    We should all try to be more like Slade and do the right thing. In this case, that would be to read Lowcountry Bribe!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2012

    A Knockout Debut Mystery! Move over Stone Barrington, Ed Eagle,

    A Knockout Debut Mystery!

    Move over Stone Barrington, Ed Eagle, D.D. Warren et al, because everything about C. Hope Clark's fabulous debut mystery novel, LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE crackles with talent. Every line is crisp, every plot twist is calculated and her down-to-earth, infinitely quotable, wisecracking heroine, Carolina Slade is a trip.

    Be sure to feed the kids before you pick it up or else they will not eat and do not begin this book on a work night unless you have a personal day coming. If you bring it with you in the car, be sure to throw it into the back seat where you cannot possibly reach it, otherwise you will risk life and limb to read the next page and the next and the next. Well, you get it: Best mystery purchase you can make and it will make a great gift too. Give it to anyone you know in the hospital, because they'll completely forget where they are.

    Get ready for The New York Times Bestseller list, Ms. Clark, because you're better than three quarters of the people on it.

    -Catharine A. Henningsen
    Author, The Portable Executive (Simon & Schuster)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Some books grab you by the throat and won¿t let go, others drag

    Some books grab you by the throat and won’t let go, others drag you along against your will and some you can’t even finish. In Lowcountry Bribe, Ms. Clark takes you by the hand and leads you, rather quickly, into death, intrigue and mayhem. 

    If you’ve followed my reviews for long you’ll know I’m not a big fan of mysteries because I usually figure out whodunit fairly early. Although I had the culprit in my sights from the moment he came on the scene, I had absolutely NO idea the complexity of this story.

    Kudos to author, C Hope Clark for keeping me engaged despite my powers of deduction!

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  • Posted September 26, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Seeing blood splattered all over the office is not the way I¿d l

    Seeing blood splattered all over the office is not the way I’d like to start the business day, but that’s exactly what Caroline 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.”

    Caroline 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.

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  • Posted November 25, 2012

    Wonderful! From the first sentence I knew I would LOVE this book

    Wonderful! From the first sentence I knew I would LOVE this book, and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story. The characters were complex, and realistic. (Hey, sometimes bad things happen to good people!) The main character is easy to like, genuine- she made me laugh. This is not a "girly" read. It is gutsy and dangerous and refreshing. I find myself wondering when her next adventure will appear in print. Bravo, Hope! Now get writing. I need MORE!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2012

    Worth giving a try.

    It was kind of slow at the beginning and rather cheesy, but it does pick up towards the end. I will read the next installment of the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    Mystery, Southern Style, served up with a pinch of Hope! C. H

    Mystery, Southern Style, served up with a pinch of Hope!
    C. Hope Clark’s hot new mystery novel, “Lowcountry Bribe” has changed my reading ritual.
    Speed reader, I’m not. I ponder, savor, read and reread… a lot. And oh yes, I get distracted.
    That said, I just did two all nighters. Something I have never done.
    C. Hope Clark’s page turner, “Lowcountry Bribe” has altered my will to stray, holding me fast to each page. What magic author’s sorcery does this woman Hope possess?
    From the traumatic opening to the collected thoughts of her convoluted future, the heroine Slade shares her most restricted emotions with you as this compelling mystery unfolds. Each character forges a piece into this intense disquieting mosaic. This perfectly competent government administrator skillfully adapts to ever changing confrontations. You know her every next thought… or do you?
    This is the one book this year, you won’t want to miss!
    Own “Lowcountry Bribe” today.

    Jim Great Elk Waters – author and reviewer for Forest Edge publishers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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