Lowcountry Bribe
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Lowcountry Bribe (Caroline Slade Mystery Series #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  264 ratings  ·  81 reviews
A bribe, threats, a dead employee, a high-level investigation and a sinister hog farmer: Lowcountry Ag Department manager Carolina Slade is a bean-counting civil servant in hot water. She better dig up the truth before it kills her.

"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 y...more
Paperback, first, 272 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Bell Bridge Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeFront Page Fatality by LynDee WalkerLowcountry Boil by Susan M. BoyerBrides of the Storm by Amanda Albright StillEchoes of the Storm by Amanda Albright Still
Best Southern Mysteries
27th out of 92 books — 43 voters
The Man Who Quit Money by Mark SundeenSacré Bleu by Christopher MooreA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensBobbed Hair and Bathtub Gin by Marion MeadeGraceLand by Chris Abani
Summer Reading List - 2012
9th out of 13 books — 5 voters

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I know C. Hope Clark as the Funds for Writers lady. I had no idea she spent many years working for the Department of Agriculture in South Carolina, which gave her the background for this book, which she bills as the first in the Carolina Slade mystery series. If the USDA is really this crooked, God help us all, but we’ll assume this is fiction. It’s a good yarn. Slade handles loans for farmers. When one of them offers her a bribe for a deal on the abandoned Williams Ranch, she’s not sure what to...more
Glen Allison
I started Lowcountry Bribe thinking it was a cozy. (I write action/suspense stuff. Cozies don't usually grab my attention.)

However ... BAM! Carolina Slade hides no flaws and pulls no punches on her way to bringing down a bad guy. Okay, there was a little romantic suspense and some kissing along the way. (I sounded like the kid on PRINCESS BRIDE just then, didn't I?) For my taste, it was tiny bit slow in the middle - and it's probably because of my male ADD - but the layers of conflict pulled me...more
With Lowcountry Bribe, Hope Clark has proven herself a master storyteller. With her experience as a writer and former fed, she shines in understanding and then weaving this tale of bribery in government and the havoc it creates. She's created an interesting character and heroine in Carolina Slade, and I stayed up late every night reading just to see what would happen to her and Special Agent Largo. An enjoyable read--kudos to Hope.
Bob Mustin
I claim to be a Southern writer, but I’ve found a lot of modern Southern writing in the past was either boring, not well developed, or affectatious. But with the advent of small publishers, the great trove of Southern writers that have gone begging for recognition are seeing the light of day.

One such is Hope Clark, and I admit to having read this book faster than most – so I could find out what was on the next page - after page. The story: Carolina Slade is a middle manager in the Department of...more
Lowcountry Bribe by C. Hope Clark is a gut-wrenching, nail-biting suspense novel that will leave you on edge until the very end.


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 o...more
Authors often ask "What if" when they have an idea for a plot. When C. Hope Clark first thought about a civil servant at the Department of Agriculture reporting an attempted bribe by a farmer, she must have asked "what's the worst that can possibly happen?"

Carolina Slade (and you don't call her "Carolina" unless you're her mother) is a USDA official who plays by the rules. While others might have overlooked hog farmer Jesse Rawlings' offer of a bribe in hopes he would never bring up the matter a...more
Skip Maloney
First person narration is tricky business. To begin with, you forfeit the ability to view actions from multiple points of view. You cannot, for example, write about a lurking intruder, hidden behind the drapes, if your narrator doesn't know he (or she) is there, so you don't get to apply that sort of impending disaster feel to a scene. Many authors opt to italicize the script of scenes at which their first-person narrator is not present. Some don't even bother, switching between third person an...more
Mar 10, 2012 Sharon rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Any reader who loves a well-crafted mystery and strong, independent women as protags
Recommended to Sharon by: I've had the pleasure to know the author.
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...more
Jun 03, 2012 Janet rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
Warning: Do not attempt to read a few pages of this book with your morning coffee. You will become so engrossed that it will make you late to work!

There are more twists and turns in "Lowcountry Bribe" than there are switchbacks and hairpin turns on Rocky Mountain highways. Clark lays out a gripping mystery full of Southern charm and redneck seediness as the female protagonist, Carolina Slade, sinks deeper and deeper into a quagmire of conspiracy, shady land deals, kidnapping, murder and more...a...more
I read a lot of mysteries, and I really enjoyed this one. There were a few things which were rather fresh and new about the mystery format here. Imagine a version of Paretsky's VI Warshawski or Cornwell's Scarpetta, but with the narrative set in South Carolina and the heroine having a Southern twist. I also liked the fact that unlike many hard-boiled heroines, Slade has children to protect. This complicates the narrative and creates new sources of tension.

The plot concerning a bribe begins in q...more
Cindy Huff
Low Country Bribe is the debut novel of C Hope Clark. Book one in the Carolina Slade Mysteries set in South Carolina in the midst of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s bureaucracy. Carolina Slade loves her job with the bureau and has worked hard to achieve manager. Her job seems routine enough until a hog farmer offers her a bribe. Ever vigilante to play by the rules, she reports Jessie Rawlings bribe. Before she can step back and take a breath, Senior Special Agent Wayne Largo from the Inspec...more
Having subscribed to the author's FUNDS FOR WRITERS e-zine for years, I'd followed Clark and the tweaking and marketing of this mystery. I did not know what to expect, having only read the ezine previously, but was anxious to support her.

Set in the Charleston, SC, the protagonist, Carolina Slade, is an agricultural agent struggling with a failing marriage. Facing a bribe from a farmer she serves, Slade must battle corruption and danger to save herself and her children.

As is typical in mysteries,...more
Valley Brown
(As posted to Amazon by Valley Brown)

Hope Clark, the wit and wisdom behind the highly acclaimed site
"Funds For Writers," gives us an earthy glimpse into what we
all thought was a mundane world of government forms and livestock
management. Pulling from her personal stint in an identical job,
Ms. Clark brings an eclectic mix of characters into full,
believable focus, and delivers a lush image of the sultry
Lowcountry landscape, where people hide secrets that are as thick
as flies at a Fourth of J...more
Jodi Sway
I absolutely LOVE C. Hope Clark's first novel in her new series. Her main character, Carolina Slade, is gutsy, no nonsense, and all about doing what has to be done. Dry, on-point humor is peppered in all the right places. Hope makes the settings throughout South Carolina come to life, weaving in all the senses, making you feel you're there with Slade as she fights to find out...I don't want to give too much away. This mystery hits all the notes of suspense, and is a page-turner from beginning to...more
Rosanne Catalano
'Lowcountry Bribe' is an excellent debut novel by the editor of FundsForWriters.com, C Hope Clark! I have been reading her Funds For Writers newsletters for years and love her writing style so much that I decided to purchase her debut book and I was not disappointed at all. I love 'Lowcountry Bribe' and her character Carolina Slade so much that I want to read the rest of her novels in her 'A Carolina Slade Mystery' series! Although I am aware of different government agencies in the United States...more
First reasons I bought the book: C Hope Clark was at our Nebraska Writer Guild conference. I liked her immediately. As she shared her back story, I was curious to see what her written story would be, so I bought her book, got her autograph on it (love those autographs!) and started reading. Wow!
Encountered a slight problem...I never read before bedtime because I tend to get engrossed and stay up too late. Well, I could hardly put the book down, read before bedtime, and -- yup -- stayed up way t...more
I'm not a big mystery reader, but I've really enjoyed Lowcountry Bribe. Each page is jam-packed with conflict, and in Carolina Slade, author Clark has a main character who will make you wonder when the next book is coming out.
Mary Ann
I am a reader, not a writer. I enjoy a good mystery, and this was that, keeps you guessing, and changing your mind about the direction it is taking you. I had to pace myself, as when reading a good story I want it to last!
I really appreciated the description and character development that went into the telling of this story. I immediately detested the antagonist after the first introduction--made my skin crawl! It resonated deeply with my experiences with a certain someone in my past. Great mystery and suspense in this book! I highly recommend the second book (Tidewater Murder) in this series as well. It can be read without reading the first, but it's always better for context to know the full background of the c...more
Angelia Branch
Great read! Enjoyed it from Cover to cover! So excited for the next Carolina Slade novel to come around!
Lisa Claro
The first sentence drew me in and set the tone for this terrific mystery with shades of romance. The characters are layered and interesting, and the voice of the MC comes through loud and clear. I've never visited the area where the book takes place, but Ms. Clark infuses the story with local references which, if not real, have been made to sound so. This is a great read and Carolina Slade is one of those characters I'd love to be friends with---she'd be a lot of fun to drink margaritas with on...more

Written by C. Hope Clark, Lowcountry Bribe isn't just any novel by a modern woman for modern women. It has a strong woman as the main character who has struggles with marriage, family, and career that many women can relate to. If you are a reader looking for pages of titillating romance scenes, you will not find them here. If however you enjoy a good mystery, love, romance, and a realistic view of how our emotions entangle the messy parts of our lives, keep us from maint...more
Elizabeth Ducie
Hope Clark stole my weekend recently!

I’ve followed Hope Clark’s writing journey with interest for a few years now and like many of her newsletter readers, was delighted when she firstly got an agent and then when she found a publisher for Lowcountry Bribe. I bought the book because I thought it was the right thing to do, rather than because I particularly wanted to read it; but I’m so glad I did.

Lowcountry Bribe tells the story of a Department of Agriculture county manager who tries to play it s...more
Eularee Smith
Jul 23, 2012 Eularee Smith rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone
Loved it! Although I did figure out the twist in the end, the book had me going up until the last few chapters. Great storytelling and the characters ran vividly through the pages and my imagination. Clark is an excellent story teller and provided a wonderful Carolina flavor and backdrop for the story. I was swatting the mosquitoes as I sipped on my sweet tea, swallowing every country witticism and the slow easy drawl of the southern language as I turned the page. This was my first e-book and I...more
Trula Rae
Carolina Slade Bridges is the full name of the heroine in Lowcountry Bribe, but don’t call her Mrs. Bridges. She goes by Slade, a southern family name she acquired along with her southern values that if you follow the rules you’d be okay. That that’s how life worked. She knew her intolerable marriage to college sweetheart Alan Bridges would end in divorce. What she didn’t know is that her soon to be ex had planned an alternative to divorce. Murder. The way she found out is a roll-a-coaster ride...more
Glenn Walker
LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE by C. Hope Clark has the best opening line I have read in quite some time: "O-positive primer wasn't quite the color I had in mind for the small office, but Lucas Sherwood hadn't given the décor a second thought when he blew out the left side of his head with a .45." I was hooked.

Hope's descriptions don't end with that beautiful Tarantino-esque opening. In what sounds at first like the last thing I would ever read - an agricultural mystery in the Deep South - Hope delivers fast...more
Douglas Cook
This was a good fast read. I really like the main character - Sloan - and hope to see her in another mystery. Great ending :)

CHAPTER 1 O-positive primer wasn’t quite the color I had in mind for the small office, but Lucas Sherwood hadn’t given the decor a second thought when he blew out the left side of his head with a .45. As the county manager, I identified Lucas’ body for the cops, and gave the poor man a quick moment of silence with thoughts to a higher power that he be let through the pearl...more
Warren Thurston
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, Slad...more
It's always a pleasure to find a book that's hard to put down. This was one of them. I've read the author's newsletter for years and found it to be useful and informative, but fiction? I wasn't sure how good she was at that. Pretty darn good it turns out.
Using her own background, she sets her heroine in the Agriculture Department in the lowcountry, giving her story all the believability it needs. That, coupled with believable characters and their relationships, keeps her story moving and her re...more
Kathryn Bain
Finally put time aside specifically to read this book. Being a fan of Ms. Clark's newsletter, I looked forward to the read.

Her descriptions placed you so well into the scenes you were almost chilly when they were and smelling their perspiration. Loved the Southern vernacular. It kept me reading to the end wondering how it would end.

Has curse words and mild sexual situations.
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C. Hope Clark was born and reared in the South, from Mississippi to South Carolina with a few stints in Alabama and Georgia. The granddaughter of a Mississippi cotton farmer, Hope holds a B.S. in Agriculture with honors from Clemson University and 25 years’ experience with the U. S. Department of Agriculture to include awards for her management, all of which enable her to talk the talk of Carolina...more
More about C. Hope Clark...
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