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Lowcountry Bribe (Caroline Slade Mystery Series #1)

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  455 Ratings  ·  101 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
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 LeeLowcountry Boil by Susan M. BoyerBootlegger's Daughter by Margaret MaronFront Page Fatality by LynDee WalkerThe Help by Kathryn Stockett
Best Southern Mysteries
73rd out of 138 books — 80 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,241)
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Mar 20, 2016 Thomas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an easy read(I read it in 2 days). Carolina Slade is a US Dept of Agriculture loan office manager, in Charleston County, South Carolina. She is holding down a full time job, parenting two children and married to a verbally abusive husband. She is offered a bribe by a farmer having difficulty making his payments. She notifies her superiors and soon two agents arrive to investigate. She realizes that she could be in danger once the farmer suspects that she informed on him.
In addition, she
May 07, 2012 Sue rated it really liked it
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
Oct 30, 2012 Glen Allison rated it really liked it
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
Apr 21, 2012 Kristine rated it it was amazing
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.
Sarah Joyce Bryant
Oct 19, 2014 Sarah Joyce Bryant rated it really liked it
Lowcountry Bribe by C. Hope Clark is the perfect fall read. It is the kind of book you curl up with for a weekend along with your coffee and a warm blanket. But be warned! It is hard to put down once you start reading. I finished it in two sittings. Lowcountry Bribe is a fast-paced mystery with an amazing protagonist, Carolina Slade. First, I love her name! Second, she is a great protagonist. She is not Ms. Perfect. She is flawed in her own unique ways and that is refreshing. She makes mistakes ...more
Apr 01, 2015 Marji rated it did not like it
Shelves: audio, 2015
It appears that I am in the minority here, as I did not like this book at all. I listened to it on audio, and after the first hour knew it was going to be a long slog as I found the narrators voice to be like nails on a chalkboard. Significantly annoying were her renditions of the children's voices.
Aside from that, I found the main character Slade to simply be an unlikeable character. It's difficult to have much empathy for a character you can't like. And I found the whole law enforcement approa
Sep 30, 2014 Maggie rated it liked it
The only reason I read this book is because the setting is here in my hometown - the Lowcountry of Charleston, SC. I almost gave up a few times, but I've been giving up on so many books lately, I hung in there with this one. Apparently I'm in the minority of readers who did not love this novel.

I didn't like the protagonist, Carolina Slade, for one thing - kind of a big factor in enjoying a novel. She was annoying and unlikable. I don't know why authors feel in order to portray female lead charac
Bob Mustin
Jun 07, 2012 Bob Mustin rated it really liked it
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
Aug 24, 2012 Stacie rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviews
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
Mar 16, 2012 Malcolm rated it it was amazing
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
Skip Maloney
Jun 23, 2012 Skip Maloney rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
Jun 03, 2012 Janet rated it it was amazing
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
May 05, 2012 Zoë rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
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
Cindy Huff
May 19, 2012 Cindy Huff rated it really liked it
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
May 26, 2012 Jenan rated it liked it
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,
Bonna Hardy
Jul 08, 2012 Bonna Hardy rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Being from the south I was thrilled to receive this book through first-reads.

I really enjoyed the way this book was written. How it was narrated. I think though one of the only things I really didn't like be honest the main character (Slade) was kind of stupid.

Maybe that's just me. I didn't NOT like her I just didn't think she was very good at "solving" anything. She just sort of fluttered about and whined about things.

Also there were more than a few times the spelling of 'Jesse'
Valley Brown
Aug 19, 2012 Valley Brown rated it really liked it
(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
Kirk Toncray
Even though I believe Lowcountry Bribe to be geared more towards the female crowd, I found it quite enjoyable throughout the story. I do most of my reading just before bedtime and I found myself wrapping up the day's work and preparing for bed early just so I could kick back and catch up with the story that had been in the back of my mind all day.

The conclusion was somewhat predictable but intense and entertaining. I gave it three stars, mainly because I'm a guy and it's a matter of the gender t
Jodi Sway
Jul 26, 2012 Jodi Sway rated it it was amazing
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
Amaryllis Turman
Oct 20, 2015 Amaryllis Turman rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Full review posted at blog The Opinionated Woman's Musings

It was hard for me to rate this story. I loved the plot but I cannot say that I liked Slade as a person. She was very brusque with a gruff, terse manner. However I did feel sorry for her. She tried to be a good wife, mother, and government employee. At the same time, she is an unhappy person. It seemed that everything she tried to do for the right reasons got twisted and things would go wrong.

Since I think that the
Apr 25, 2014 Delores rated it it was amazing
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
Charlotte Ehney
Jun 24, 2016 Charlotte Ehney rated it liked it
Carolina Slade Bridges (Slade) is a tough woman with a tough problem. She's a manager with the Department of Agriculture - a federal employee - and she has just been offered a bribe. Slade plays by the rules and reports the bribe. Now everything is falling apart at work and at home. Suddenly, Slade is being looked at for being crooked, perhaps even the instigator of this bribe. Trouble is, Slade suspects two people have already died because of this bribe. Could she be next?

Dec 28, 2012 Diana rated it liked it
I began reading this book about an unhappily married woman and after about 100 pages I was wondering why I had even started it. Then I remembered. The author had been compared to Flannary O'Connor. Let me tell you that there is no comparison unless you say that both authors had protagonists that were difficult to like. I finished the book with no enthusiasm and was simply glad when it ended. 'Nuf said.
Oct 04, 2014 Georgia rated it it was amazing
Hope realistically portrays life in the South Carolina and the lifestyles of the people who live there. This is a fast paced story of the southern heroine Carolina Slade. Our heroine speaks with great strength and honesty and her heart feels much.

The graphic detail to the countryside, colors, sounds, smells and tastes experienced by the characters put you in the scene.

What captured me the most was the realistic portal of a females deepest fears of being isolated from what is familiar, man trou
Dean Miller
Mar 24, 2014 Dean Miller rated it liked it
Finally got to this book, stacked deep in my "to read" pile. Well worth the wait. A fine cast of characters in a setting I am not familiar with, but had no trouble getting drawn in to. Enjoyable, fast moving with plenty of twists and turns, and not all of them when you'd expect them to be. A fine first novel, indeed.
May 16, 2012 Chris rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery, fiction
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
Sep 26, 2012 Mary Ann rated it really liked it
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!
Sep 07, 2014 Shawn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, summermurders
I completely enjoyed this new series from C. Hope Clark. Carolina Slade works for the USDA in a not glamorous job loaning money to farmers. See, not glamorous. However, she does it with grace and empathy for those who seek her help, until she is offered a bribe by a local hog farmer. A no-brainier, Slade reports the attempted bribe do a federal employee to her boss and her world falls apart. I immediately connected with the character as a strong southern woman able to take control and handle str ...more
Rebecka Vigus
Nov 18, 2014 Rebecka Vigus rated it it was amazing
A missing person, a suicide, and dead hogs, if those don’t start your week off wrong, I don’t know what will. Carolina Slade goes from being a Department of Agriculture loan granter to a federal official who’s been bribed. I was hooked in the first chapter and stayed hooked all the way to the end.
C. Hope Clark has the southern charm of the low country woven through the entire book. Slade is one of the most likable characters I’ve come across in a long time. She’s all southern woman with a sharp
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Caroline Slade Mystery Series (3 books)
  • Tidewater Murder (Carolina Slade Mystery Series, #2)
  • Palmetto Poison (Caroline Slade Mystery Series, #3)

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