Cindy Huff's Reviews > Lowcountry Bribe

Lowcountry Bribe by C. Hope Clark
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May 19, 12

Read in May, 2012

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 Inspector General office and his partner appear in her office. Following the rules has repercussions she never expected. Soon she is the bait to catch Jessie giving her money. As the IG investigates a connection between the bribe and the death of her manager last year things heat up. When the sting falls apart and the investigation is halted, her fear of a deeper motive is confirmed. Slade feels more than betrayed. Her fear of losing her job or possibly her life pales in comparison to keeping her children safe.
I must say I hated Slade at page one. She reminded me of women who irritate me. Her acid tongue and sometimes masculine bravado bugged me. Slade’s easy flow of colorful metaphors made her character harsher. That said, I loved her focused determination and protective instincts toward her children. Slade’s need to control made her so believable. Hope caught me up in Slade’s world. Watching Slade’s life crumbling made me care about her. I found myself saying “I don’t believe you did that.” Or “Oh no, that’s a bad idea.”
Growing up in urban settings, I was intrigued by all that went on in South Carolina’s rural farming communities. The artful way Clark layered her plot, adding unexpected twists, kept me right there with Slade as she conquered her demons, overcame her fears, and succumbed to her weaknesses. I am looking forward to the sequels; there are many questions I still want answered.

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