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Lowcountry Bribe: A Carolina Slade Mystery Paperback – January 31, 2012

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Product Details

  • Series: Carolina Slade Mystery
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Bell Bridge Books (January 31, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611940907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611940909
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (268 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,014,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

C. Hope Clark is founder of FundsforWriters.com , a writer's resource awarded 101 Best Websites for Writers by Writer's Digest Magazine each year for over a decade. Her weekly publications reach 35,000 readers. She works from her study overlooking Lake Murray in beautiful central South Carolina.

Hope comes alive at conferences across the country, from Mississippi to Oklahoma, from Pennsylvania to Florida, South Carolina to Iowa. She motivates and educates writers to step up, take charge, and create their careers. Her latest FFW release often discussed at conferences is The Shy Writer Reborn: An Introverted Writer's Wake-up Call.

Hope, however, is most excited in her mystery fiction. She's the author of The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, the first release entitled Lowcountry Bribe, by Bell Bridge Books, Memphis, TN. Released February 2012. Tidewater Murder, book two, released in April 2013. With an agriculture degree from Clemson University and a two-decade history of working with US Dept of Agriculture, Hope can walk the walk of protagonist, Carolina Slade, who reviewers are falling in love with per the long list of five-star reviews at Amazon.


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. She's besieged by Resident Agent-In-Charge Wayne Largo from the Feds IG Office in Atlanta. He and his partner arrive 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 children's safety.


Jesse drew me by my stretched sleeve to the truck bed, my face barely a foot from the nearest body. "There's ten thousand dollars in it for you," he whispered, draping his arm around my shoulders. "If you find a way to get me the Williams farm. We can iron out the details later . . . in private." He winked and clicked his tongue. "If you know what I mean."

Panic coursed through me at the altered state. Like hearing that your churchgoing mother liked bourbon straight and sex on top.

He'd offered me a bribe.


My signature line read Carolina Slade Bridges, County Manager, United States Department of Agriculture. I made government loans on behalf of the American taxpayer to the rural residents of Charleston County, South Carolina. Problem was, I spent more time trying to get the money back. Poverty made repayment difficult. My job made for stories the average urban dweller would never comprehend.

Charleston County contains the stylish historic city, which everyone associates with culture, Southern charm, and plantation blue bloods living in antebellum splendor overlooking The Battery. No one envisions small-time farmers scrambling to make a living on Rhett Butler's stomping ground, but the string of islands along the coastline offered them a reasonable subsistence with the support of federal monies. I admired their pride and tried to ignore their plight, so I could sleep at night.

Slade was my maiden name going back to my great grandmother from Mississippi. Only my Momma and Daddy called me Carolina and nobody who knew me used my married name, Bridges. I loved my heritage, but I didn't love my husband. Slade was the best title for all concerned.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Lori Richardson on February 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Featuring a fiery and fiesty Southern Belle with a wickedly dry sense of humor and an endless supply of priceless (and quite quotable) one-liners, you are transported into the South Carolina Lowcountry with a fresh set of eyes. The suspense is palpable from the first page to the last as you traipse through the farmlands that inhabit the outskirts of historic Charleston and get to know the people who call the Palmetto State home. While the issues in Slade's life entangle themselves, you wonder if they will ever loosen their grip or if the female protagonist who, at times, feels worn "thinner than cheap toilet paper" will herself unravel. The honest to a fault heroine is thrust into questionable circumstances surrounding her job and home life. As the two worlds collide, you are swept into a hurricane of emotions as you attempt to solve the mystery and delve deeper to discover hidden facets of lively characters who pop off of the page and onto your front porch. I found myself disappointed at the end of the book--not at all because of the ending of this enthralling plot, but because I wanted more escapades with this brilliantly illustrated character whose quirks are sure to snare even the most reluctant reader. I cannot wait for the next book in this series to further explore the adventures (or misadventures) Slade and her entourage encounter.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By K Spiliotopoulos on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Masterful prose tinged with suspense and just the right amount of dry humor. To be trite - a real page-turner. Leaves me hungering for more. Congrats to C Hope Clark - please keep writing!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By R. Mullet on February 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Long familiar with C. Hope Clark's informative newsletter, FundsForWriters, I looked forward to her breakout novel, Lowcountry Bribe, and she did not disappoint.Her character, Carolina Slade, is sassy, brave, but with real human qualities. Although the first chapter might be a bit too descriptive, Clark had me by the second chapter and I never looked back. She even handled a difficult scene toward the end of book with real skill. I can't wait until the next one (please say there will a next one). Who would have known that working for the Department of Agriculture could be so exciting!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By EnglishGirl on May 9, 2012
Format: Paperback
Threaten a mother's children and you will ignite her.

Like a number of reviewers out here, I, too, have followed the birthing process of this new mystery series by C Hope Clark from her exceptionally helpful and generous Funds For Writers newsletters. (If you aren't a subscriber, consider taking a look. They are loaded with valuable writer information.)

The cliché simply cannot be avoided here. I read this in two sittings, getting up to use eye drops for my aching eyes around 3:00 a.m. so that I could continue to read until 5:00 a.m.

This debut novel by Ms Clark is THAT compelling. Protagonist Carolina Slade must constantly do battle against US governmental bureaucrats, a pig for a husband, a douche bag of a boss, condescending federal agents and scumbag clients to get someone to handle the illegal bribe situation she gets offered.

And then her kids and family dog get pulled into the whole illegal mess.

There is nothing flat about Carolina Slade. She can feel the angst and compassion for a dead office worker, but isn't about to lay down before sniping female office workers, yet is a working professional who knows the work has to get done in spite of it all. And the best part of it--she is a devoted mom. Not an easy formula.

As I read, I kept asking myself: How much more turmoil and terror can Ms Clark fling at Carolina Slade? The answer is: C. Hope Clark flings it right up to the end, and she spares us nothing in the final storm-chased, bloody, pig-crap, and muddy revelation. Author! Author!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By AF on January 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I caught the holiday special on this book: two subscriptions to the author's newsletter and an autographed book for one low price. I definitely think the newsletter is the better of the bargain. I love this author's newsletters. They contain valuable information for writers on markets, contests, fellowships, etc. and she usually has an encouraging word to boot. However, the book....well, that's a whole 'nother matter. I wish I could say I can't wait for the rest of the books in this series but I can. I was disappointed in this story for a number of reasons: a weak main character, mystery scenes and unfulfilled promises (i.e., no payoff to the setoff).

Within the first quarter of the book, I itched to slap some backbone into the main character--Carolina Slade. I quickly became very impatient with her. Not only did she come across as weak but also inconsistent. At times she talked a strong game, but her actions and decisions never supported the talk, leaving the impression of a dependent woman who left the thinking to the men. At the end of the book, Slade's (as she's referred to in the book) best friend even tells her to take a break from men and focus on herself. When I read that I wondered if the author's portrayal of Slade was intentional. Perhaps the rest of the books in the series will show her development into a dependent, wholly functioning character.

I also had a problem with some of the scenes in the book. I eventually labeled them as mystery scenes because I couldn't understand why they had earned a place in the story. For example, in one scene, an agent shows up at Slade's office to question her about her involvement with another agent.
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