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Lowcountry Bribe

(Caroline Slade Mystery #1)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  650 ratings  ·  129 reviews
“Terrific. Smart, knowing, clever . . . and completely original. A taut, high-tension page-turner—in a unique and fascinating setting. An absolute winner!” —Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony and Macavity winning author

A bribery case gone wrong leads a woman into the deep, dank Carolina Lowcountry on a manhunt.

Carolina Slade, a by-the-book federal county manager in the c
Paperback, First, 272 pages
Published January 31st 2012 by Bell Bridge Books (first published January 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  650 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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Mar 15, 2016 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
Glen Allison
Oct 17, 2012 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
Mar 28, 2012 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. ...more
Skip Maloney
Jun 23, 2012 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
May 07, 2012 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
Aug 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carolina Slade Bridges, known as "Slade" is a woman who is not one to be trifled with. She is smart, efficient, and capable of handling whatever comes her way. Yet, she is caught in a loveless marriage of twelve years duration, with each is trying to out wait the other as to who files for divorce first. Despite the state of her marriage, she has two wonderful children for whom she'd do anything.
As a Manager for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she enjoys her job of keeping farmers in busine
Lauren Panarello
Aug 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved this mystery and all the local connections to SC. I wish it had page numbers because I always plan my reading out by page numbers. I can’t wait to read the next one in this series.
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
Slade lives with a man she hates for 12 years. Hmmm. It is one thing for a marriage to be unhappy or dull or failing, but to put up with the arguments and hateful sarcasm and continue to sleep in the same bed when she hates him for 12 years? Parts of the story were interesting, but the parts about almost everyone from the USDA to the IG to the police being dishonest, callous, or incompetent made it unrealistic. The quick romance didn't help, and Wayne's willingness to leave Slade hanging in dang ...more
Mar 15, 2012 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
Mar 10, 2012 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
Cindy Huff
May 19, 2012 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
Aug 24, 2012 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
Bob Mustin
Jun 07, 2012 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
Bella South
Sep 29, 2014 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
Sarah Joyce Bryant
Sep 22, 2014 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
May 10, 2012 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
Apr 30, 2012 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
May 26, 2012 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,
Valley Brown
Aug 19, 2012 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
Apr 01, 2015 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
Jodi Sway
Jul 26, 2012 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
Mary Kenyon
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I waited so long to read this author's fiction series. I have been an avid follower and fan of her Funds For Writers newsletter for many years, and loved her non-fiction, "Shy Writer Reborn," but hesitated at picking up her mystery, fearful her non-fiction writing talent might not transfer to fiction. I was wrong. I read this book in an afternoon, and am eager to pick up the next one in the series. I love a well-written mystery with a plot twist, and was not disappointed with "Lo ...more
Dec 28, 2012 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. ...more
Charlotte Ehney
Oct 09, 2015 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?

May 16, 2012 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. ...more
Mary Ann
Sep 17, 2012 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!
Angelia Branch
May 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great read! Enjoyed it from Cover to cover! So excited for the next Carolina Slade novel to come around!
Sue Em
May 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5 star mystery all the way. Impeccable plotting, and achingly real characters. Read it in one sitting...just couldn't put it down. ...more
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing

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
Oct 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Don't just read this book. Read this author. I can say this with confidence after reading Lowcountry Bribe (Her debut), and reading an advance copy of her most recent work. Lowcountry Bribe is an above average debut.
The plot was interesting, following the investigation was interesting, and the characters were so real you felt they were people you know. Agriculture is a part of society that most don't get a close-up view of. There are so many players in the game, each one playing a vital role. Lo
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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

Other books in the series

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

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