NC Literary Hall of Fame



Nuclear Apples? The Third Penny Weaver Mystery by Judy Hogan

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
$15.00, paperback
ISBN: 978-1530404506
September, 2016
Fiction: Mystery
Available from

"In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Judy Hogan was involved in a real-life citizen movement to keep high-level radioactive waste from being shipped from around the Carolinas and stored at a nuclear plant near her home. She has turned that successful struggle into a thrilling whodunit. This book captures the feeling of community and empowerment that came from neighbors banding together for the common good, and it reminds us that the same courage and solidarity are still needed today to guide the conscience of corporations, governments, and the media."
—Jim Warren, Executive Director of NC WARN

"In this compelling story of community activism set in 1992, Penny Weaver stands firmly with others concerned about the dangerous storage of nuclear waste in close proximity to her neighborhood. Will those who control the nuclear plant stop at nothing to undermine those protesting, including murder?"
—K.M. Rockwood, author, Jesse Damon mysteries

Penny Weaver, a mid-50s unconventional poet/activist, takes on a nuclear plant CEO who has political clout. Against a backdrop of environmental racism Penny Weaver sticks her neck out to free her friend, Riverdell’s community leader and nuclear scientist, who is accused of murder. Will Penny and her housemates’ dream of an apple orchard be defeated by the cataclysm of nuclear fire? Two of the plant’s public relations directors who secretly offer information to the community group are shot. Penny copes with a slit tire, being followed, her room vandalized, and police brutality at a sit-in, but still the real killer eludes her. Suspects include Penny’s skinhead neighbor, the plant’s CEO, who instigates violence against the demonstrators, and a pro-nuclear power supporter.

Judy Hogan’s first two mystery novels, Killer Frost (2012) and Farm Fresh and Fatal (2013), were published by Mainly Murder Press. Her third was published December, 2015, by Hoganvillaea Books. Haw was published May, 2016.

Judy founded Carolina Wren Press (1976-91) and was co-editor of Hyperion Poetry Journal (1970-81). She has published six volumes of poetry and two prose works with small presses. She has taught all forms of creative writing since 1974. In 1983 she helped found the North Carolina Writers’ Network and served as its first president (1984-87). She joined Sisters in Crime in 2007 and has focused on writing and publishing traditional mystery novels.

In 2011, she was a finalist in the St. Martin’s Malice Domestic Mystery contest for Killer Frost. In 2015, she decided to set up Hoganvillaea Books, her own publishing imprint, in order to publish more of her mysteries. The Sands of Gower: The First Penny Weaver Mystery was her first release under this new imprint.

Her Penny Weaver series takes up community issues. Most of the novels take place in the central North Carolina fictional village of Riverdell, but three take place on the Gower Peninsula in Wales where Penny meets and falls in love with Kenneth Morgan, a Welsh Detective Inspector.

The twists and turns of Hogan’s life’s path over the years have given her plenty to write about. She is also a small farmer, a community activist, and lives in Moncure.

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