Saturday, March 3, 2012

Exit 22

Exit 22
Author: p.m. terrell
Drake Valley Press, 2008
328 pages

A few weekends ago I was visiting with my old friend "TJ" (old as in we've been friends since grade school) and I asked her what she was reading. She replied that she'd just started Exit 22 by p.m. terrell. (Apparently, it's p.m. terrell, not P.M. Terrell.) I admitted being unfamiliar with the book and author, and "TJ" explained to me that she learned about them from the recent Book 'Em North Carolina event held on the campus of the local community college. (Check out Book 'Em North Carolina - it looks like a great organization!) "TJ" said she was really enjoying it so far, in part because the story actually takes place in our hometown.

Naturally, I had to buy and read it asap. This was a bit of rough week for me personally, and I had a lot going on, so I didn't read quickly at first. But last night, I couldn't stop . . . I was literally on the edge of my bed, biting my nails, completely oblivious to anything else going on around me.

Quick plot summary: Chris, a political strategist who lives and works in Washington, DC, is driving down I-95 to Florida. There's an ice storm, and just as he's approaching exit 22 (the number of the exit from I-95) in Lumberton, North Carolina, he has a car accident. Since his car needs repairs, he checks into a motel, thinking he'll just be in Lumberton for a day or two. But while dining in the motel restaurant, he meets Brenda, a mysterious, beautiful woman who's about to take him on the ride of his life.

You see, just as Chris arrived in Lumberton, a double murder of a successful banker and his pregnant wife took place on a farm just outside of town. Local Sheriff's deputies Alec and Dani are trying to piece together the incident and find the killer. Nosy neighbors tell them that the dead man was having an affair with a woman named Brenda. Hmm.

I don't want to give any more of the story away, so I'll leave it at that. The characters are fresh and the two deputies (especially Alec) are completely real. The storyline is believable, as in YES, THIS COULD HAPPEN . . . and it could happen in a place like Lumberton. The setting is different (again, fresh) -- so if you're used to reading crime thrillers/mysteries set in California, DC, New York, or Europe and you want to try something new, check Exit 22 out and read all about a new-to-you place. 

It seems as if p.m. terrell has a couple of other books set in this area (some are called the Black Swamp Mysteries). I'll be looking for them. And I'm gonna ask "TJ" what she's reading more often. :)