A breakout book?

Anne Barnhill, who spends much of her literary time these days in 16th-century England, steps into a different world to review a book by a fellow North Carolina writer.

By Anne Barnhill

THE BANKER’S GREED. By p.m. terrell and T. Randy Stevens. Drake Valley Press, Palari Publishing. 441 pages. $16.95, paperback.

p.m. terrell is a North Carolina writer with six novels under her belt, but most Tarheels haven’t heard her name.  That situation may be about to change with The Banker’s Greed, which terrel hopes will be her breakout book.  Her partner in “crime” is T. Randy Stevens, chairman of the board and CEO of First Farmers and Merchants Bank in Tennessee.  Together, this duo creates an action-packed tale of kidnapping within a dysfunctional family, the Palmers, who have been established as “old money” in Tennessee for three generations.

Jessie Palmer is about to graduate from law school when she is abducted and held for ransom by two thugs.  Her boyfriend, Nick, is a newspaperman from the wrong side of the tracks; for this reason, she has not yet told her parents about him.  Her father, Vincent Palmer, is a man used to getting his way – he owns most of the county and has connections all the way to the governor’s office.  His wife, Meg, is an alcoholic accustomed to being overruled by her difficult husband.  Once Vincent realizes his daughter has been kidnapped, he pushes every button he can to get her back safely.  That includes trying to shove past FBI agents Grant Bailey and his partner, Ivory Lang, in his eagerness to give the kidnappers what they want in return for his daughter’s life.

As the kidnappers take Jessie on a wild ride in the back of a truck, she fights back with every available weapon – she kicks, bites, fights against her kidnappers, only to be slugged senseless several times.  She witnesses Brainiac (her nickname for the thug in charge) slice Brutus’ skull in half with an axe and, much to her shock and dismay, she hears her father’s voice outside the shack where she is being held, sounding as if he is the one who has instigated her abduction.

As events continue to spin out of control, Jessie’s personality undergoes a change.  Whether caused by post-traumatic stress syndrome or the idea of her father’s betrayal, Jessie becomes someone haunted by what has happened to her, seeing and hearing Brainiac and Brutus on every street corner.  She becomes more and more difficult to like as she argues with her long-suffering boyfriend over trivia.

In her search for what really happened to her, Jessie discovers some unpleasant truths about her family and herself.

If you like action-packed crime stories with a twist, you’ll enjoy reading The Banker’s Greed.

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