An Extended View of the Bridge in Holden Beach Area

01 – News & Views

Lou’s Views
News & Views / January Edition

Calendar of Events –


Brunswick Islands logo and illustrationDiscover a wide range of things to do in the Brunswick Islands for an experience that goes beyond the beach.
For more information » click here

Calendar of Events Island –


Parks & Recreation / Programs & Events
For more information » click here

Reminders –

A GFL truck in green color parked at a space
Solid Waste Pick-Up Schedule

GFL Environmental change in service, trash pickup will be once a week.  Trash collection will go back to Tuesdays only.

Please note:
. • Trash carts must be at the street by 6:00 a.m. on the pickup day
. • BAG the trash before putting it in the cart
. • Carts will be rolled back to the front of the house

Solid Waste Pick-up Schedule – starting October once a week

Recyclingstarting October every other week

Curbside RecyclingGFL recycling trash can at a place
GFL Environmental is now offering curbside recycling for Town properties that desire to participate in the service. The service cost is $106.88 annually paid in advance to the Town of Holden Beach and consists of a ninety-six (96) gallon cart that is emptied every other week.
Curbside Recycling Application » click here
Curbside Recycling Calendar » click here

Recycling renewal form was sent, you should have gotten e-mail letter already 

GFL trash can at a beautiful green land

Trash Can Requirements – Rental Properties
GFL Environmental – trash can requirements
Ordinance 07-13, Section 50.08

Rental properties have specific number of trash cans based on number of bedrooms.

* One extra trash can per every 2 bedrooms

(A) Rental homes, as defined in Chapter 157, that are rented as part of the summer rental season, are subject to high numbers of guests, resulting in abnormally large volumes of trash. This type of occupancy use presents a significantly higher impact than homes not used for summer rentals. In interest of public health and sanitation and environmental concerns, all rental home shall have a minimum of one trash can per two bedrooms. Homes with an odd number of bedrooms shall round up (for examples one to two bedrooms – one trash can; three to four bedrooms – two trash cans; five – six bedrooms – three trash cans, and the like).

Building Numbers
Ocean front homes are required to have house numbers visible from the beach strand.
Please call Planning and Inspections Department at 910.842.6080 with any questions.


(A) The correct street number shall be clearly visible from the street on all buildings. Numbers shall be block letters, not script, and of a color clearly in contrast with that of the building and shall be a minimum of six inches in height.

(B) Beach front buildings will also have clearly visible house numbers from the strand side meeting the above criteria on size, contrast, etc. Placement shall be on vertical column supporting deck(s) or deck roof on the primary structure. For buildings with a setback of over 300 feet from the first dune line, a vertical post shall be erected aside the walkway with house numbers affixed. In all cases the numbers must be clearly visible from the strand. Other placements may be acceptable with approval of the Building Inspector.

Town-Hall- A town hall building with white roof

BOC’s Meeting
The Board of Commissioners’ next Regular Meeting is scheduled on the third Tuesday of the month, February 21st.

Email news illustration on the websiteNews from Town of Holden Beach
The town sends out emails of events, news, agendas, notifications and emergency information. If you would like to be added to their mailing list, please go to their web site to complete your subscription to the Holden Beach E-Newsletter.
For more information » click here

Volunteers needed
The Town is always looking for people to volunteer for their various boards and committees. If you are interested in serving, please fill out a resume form and submit it to [email protected].

A top shot of an elevator with yellow lights

Most states mandate that elevator systems be tested and inspected annually. Currently the state of North Carolina does not require annual inspections to be performed on all elevator systems. The use of unsafe and defective lifting devices imposes a substantial probability of serious and preventable injury to your family and guests. It is in the owner’s best interest to minimize injuries and liability by scheduling an annual safety inspection to ensure the safe operation of their elevator system. 

A library with a collection of books

If you need something to keep you busy in this colder weather, make sure to visit the island library. The library is in the upstairs of Holden Beach Town Hall. All the books were donated. Patrons of the library don’t have to check out a book; they are on the honor system to return it.

A warning sign with the flyer on the website
Neighborhood Watch –

Need to look out for each other
• Call 911 if you see or hear anything suspicious
Fill out Keep Check Request Form if you will be out of town
• Submit completed Property Registration Form
• Pickup copy of Protecting Your Home

Upon Further Review –

  • Bike Route illustration on the websiteBike Lane
    Property owners along Ocean Boulevard were sent a CAMA notice from the DOT
    Key takeaways:
      • Add 7’ asphalt to the south side of existing pavement
      • Add 3’ asphalt to the north side of existing pavement
      • Recenter the travel lanes
      • Create two (2) five (5) foot bike lanes on either side of the road

DOT informed us the cost of the has significantly increased by almost 30%
The good news is that our portion is only an additional $23,000 so far

Previously reported – February 2021
Engineer’s estimate for bike lanes are as follows:
Ocean Boulevard West / 5.00 miles / @$1,208,941
Ocean Boulevard East / 1.15 miles / @$403,972

NCDOT now has adequately funding so the resurfacing program for OBW which is scheduled for the spring of 2022. Bike lanes are being proposed on both sides of the road, which will add five feet on each side. This should be coordinated with resurfacing project that is tentatively scheduled already. Our cost would be $1,612,913 which hopefully at least a portion of would be offset by grants. DOT requested verbal feedback in the next 60 days, indicating whether we want to participate in adding bike lanes to the project.

Previously reported – March 2021
David provided the Board with a memo summarizing the information that he gathered since the last meeting. That memo was not included in the agenda packet. He reviewed the process, timeline, and financing. DOT informed him that if we are interested that we need to stay engaged with them. The public has said that they are in favor of having bike lanes. The project is an improvement worth the expenditure especially if we can get help with the funding through grants. They decided to give the project a green light and have David work to keep moving the project forward. 

Bike Lane Letters (04/21/22)
Town staff contacted the Department of Transportation after numerous homeowners reached out to us concerned that they had not received a letter with information on the upcoming bike lane/paving project. We were advised that only those property owners whose property is adjacent to the proposed bike lane construction where that construction intersects the Ocean Erodible Area of Environmental Concern (jurisdiction of NC Division of Coastal Management) have been sent the certified letter/attachments. This is only a small portion of the project area (approximately 150 properties) so don’t be concerned if you did not receive a letter. Those property owners that have received the certified letter/attachments can follow the instructions in the letter if they would like to contact someone about the project. 

Previously reported – June 2022
Execution of the agreement with DOT is required to construct the Ocean Boulevard Bike Lanes Project this fall in conjunction with the resurfacing of Ocean Boulevard. The project is estimated at $1,722,364 of which 42% or $723,393 is the Town’s share. The remaining 58% or $998,971 is funded by the Grand Strand Area Transportation Study (GSATS). The Board authorized the execution of the Transportation Improvement Agreement with the Department of Transportation. 

Previously reported – July 2022
The NC Department of Transportation has informed the town that due to permitting issues raised during their review of the Ocean Boulevard Repaving/Bike Lane Project, construction will not begin in September as previously planned. Construction is now scheduled to start after the first of the year. The project will still have a completion date of Memorial Day. 

Previously reported – October 2022
NCDOT has contacted the Town and informed us that there is an issue in getting the CAMA permit for the resurfacing/bike lane project. It will require additional work to get it reconciled and execute the contract. They are inconclusive on whether the project will happen this spring, though they are still hoping to complete it before Memorial Day. Not what we want to hear but what we have been told.

Previously reported – November 2022
Caitlin did a brief recap. The plan includes bike lanes of 5’ on each side of Ocean Boulevard. It will be an asymmetrical widening, that is 7’ on the south side and only 3’ on the north side where the sidewalk is.  They had some issues/challenges with permitting that have been resolved. Agreed to monitoring work for any drainage issues and will address them after the project is completed. They successfully got the permit issued on November 9th. At the end of this month, they will advertise the project. One month later they will open bids and know what the actual prices for the contract are. At that time, they will decide whether or not to proceed with the project. The date of availability is at the end of January, with a finish date of Memorial Day.

Previously reported – December 2022
Not good news. Only one (1) bid was received, which was 40% above/over their estimate. The bid was also above five (5) million dollars, which automatically triggered a review. The result was the bid was rejected, and they will need to resolicit the bid. It is expected that the project will be pushed off for at least another year. The most likely scenario is that construction won’t start till the end of 2023. The project will then  have a completion date by Memorial Day 2024. Not what we want to hear!

Corrections & Amplifications –

National Flood Insurance Program flyerNational Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On December 23, 2022, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to September 30, 2023.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2023.

Odds & Ends –

Brunswick County Map and flyer on the website

As Brunswick home sale prices skyrocket over three years,
2023 tax revaluation raises concerns
Brunswick County is closing in on a revaluation that could add billions to the county tax base. Some locals are concerned about the impact on how much they pay. State law requires counties perform property revaluations every eight years, though Brunswick County policy is to reappraise properties every four. A revaluation process would be triggered if sale values increased or decreased by 15% regardless. The county’s current tax base, taking into account all real estate and vehicles, is $31.7 billion this fiscal year. Brunswick County Tax Administrator Jeff Niebauer told Port City Daily work on the revaluation is ongoing through the end of the year, wrapping January 1st. He could not offer an estimate on what the tax base would be but said his office’s work on the project will stretch through January as it handles appeals, applications for exemptions and finalizes the base to be used in the budgeting process. However, Niebauer did show the county board of commissioners some statistics on recent increases on home values during a December 5th meeting. He noted the average sale price of a single-family home in Brunswick County increased from $283,000 in 2019 to $420,000 in 2022, and the average market value sits at $276,000. As of November 1st, the tax office calculated the combined value of real estate in Brunswick County increased by 55.15%. Three areas experienced increases north of 80%: Oak Island: 85.01%, Caswell Beach: 84.17%, and Northwest: 88.03%. Varnamtown, located north of Holden Beach, had the lowest increase of any municipality in that timeframe, at 40.21%. Leland, the county’s largest town, saw a 52.49% increase. Niebauer said those increases are not final and have changed since they were calculated in November. “Depending on market conditions and recent sales in a given neighborhood, assessed value may increase, decrease or remain the same,” Niebauer wrote to PCD in an email. Niebauer noted the real estate increases are also the result of new developments coming onto vacant land increasing values of individual parcels significantly. The increases also include exempt properties, such as government facilities like the county administration complex in Bolivia. “We still have to place its value, so that value is included in that report,” Niebauer said. “However, it’s not going to generate any taxes.” The increase also includes properties that will receive tax breaks, like those owned by seniors, veterans and people with disabilities. County commissioners and municipal governments will help determine the impact by setting tax rates for the next fiscal year. If the taxable base increases, for example, they could lower taxes to maintain similar budgets. Though, it may not mean less a tax burden for a property owner whose value increased significantly. At a meeting earlier in the month in Leland, Mayor Brenda Bozeman said she has no idea how the town will handle the revaluation until it gets the final figure from the county and holds its budget workshop in February. PCD reached out to the Brunswick County Commissioners to gauge their opinions on handling the tax rate after revaluations come through. None responded. The county’s property tax rate is 0.4850 and has remained the same since 2015, when it raised from 0.4425. The rate has fluctuated through revaluations over the years. It was at a high point of 0.5925 in 2001 and 2002. Brunswick’s tax rate is above New Hanover’s 0.4550 rate and well below Pender’s 0.6450. At several recent commissioners meetings, locals spoke out during public comment periods to request the commissioners adjust the tax rate to be revenue neutral after the revaluation is completed. Many comments were met with applause. PCD asked for opinions from locals on Friends of Brunswick County, a community Facebook group with 12,000 members. A recurring concern was the revaluation’s timing coinciding with a historic spike in prices and home sales across the country. “My fear is they will have assessed on the short, yet massive overinflation of real estate,” one resident wrote in a comment. “So, if a house was assessed at 100k in 2018, it will now be assessed at 400k just because of the ludicrous price increases. That will drive many deeper into financial despair.” Art Dornfield, a resident who heavily attends county meetings, budget workshops and ran unsuccessfully against commissioner Marty Cook in this year’s Republican primary, expressed the same concerns. “the problem that comes in is, and this is nothing against the current cast of commissioners, they’ll tell you that they want to stay revenue-neutral, but revenue-neutral does not mean your taxes are not going to go up,” Dornfield said. Dornfield pointed out local officials like to tout Brunswick as one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. The county added about 7,000 residents in 2021; Leland alone grew by about 1,700 people. “That’s terrific,” he said. “If that many people are coming here, you should have a larger tax base, so with more people paying taxes we shouldn’t have an increase. If anything, it would be really nice if you gave us a tax break.” Niebauer said residents should not try to read into — or make calculations — on what will happen to their taxes based on value estimates, mainly because those figures have limitations, take more property than the county actually taxes into account and do not tell the story for individual parcels. After the revaluation comes through, residents can challenge their new property values based solely on if they do not align with similar properties as of Jan. 1. An increase or decrease in value is not grounds for appeal. Residents can expect to receive property tax notices in early January.
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An illustration of a house being sold

Island Homes Sold – 2022 * Lou’s Views (

A complete list of homes sold in 2022

Island Land Sold – 2022 * Lou’s Views (

A complete list of land sold in 2022

Island Properties Sold – Comparison * Lou’s Views (

A comparison of Holden Beach properties sold through the last three (3) years

U.S. Existing-Home Sales Slid Last Year as Interest Rates Surged
U.S. existing home sales fell last year to their lowest level since 2014, as surging mortgage rates made home purchases too expensive for many buyers. Sales of previously owned homes, which make up most of the housing market, slid 17.8% in 2022 from the prior year to 5.03 million, the National Association of Realtors said.

What’s coming to Brunswick: 7 big projects to watch in 2023
It’s no secret that Brunswick County is growing, and while the population increases, so do the number of infrastructure projects. Here are a few of the major infrastructure projects that will be underway in 2023.

Boiling Spring Lakes dams
The Boiling Spring Lakes dam project has been on the city’s agenda since four dams burst when Hurricane Florence inundated the area with rain in 2018. But without the $52 million needed to rebuild the dams and restore the city’s lakes, the project never got off the ground. But that all changed in September when the city received the final piece of the funding puzzle, a $14.9 million dollar grant from the Defense Community Infrastructure Pilot Program. With an overwhelming approval of the bond referendum, which will provide additional funding for contingencies, the city is ready to begin the project. The first step is to relocate power lines, which must be completed prior to construction. The city expects to award construction bids around February 2023, but city manager Gordon Hargrove said bids may be delayed a few weeks. Financing approval is also slated for February. Construction is expected to begin soon after with completion expected in March 2026.

N.C. 211 Widening
The N.C. 211 widening project has been under way, and work will continue throughout all of 2023. The project will widen a 7.2-mile stretch from two to four lanes beginning at Midway Road and ending at the N.C. 87 intersection in Southport. Much of the work that occurred throughout 2022 was prep work, and in 2023, crews will be performing utility work, as well as grading, installing drainage measures, and installing structure. The project is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2026.

Brunswick County Northwest Water Treatment Plant
Work to install an advanced low-pressure reverse osmosis water treatment system at the Northwest Water Treatment Plant began after the discovery of PFAS substances in the Cape Fear River in June 2017. The Brunswick County Board of Commissioners approved the construction contract for the upgrades to the Northwest Water Treatment Plant in May 2020, and construction began that summer. Construction on the plant are upgrades are still ongoing, and the county anticipates seeing the benefits of the system in late 2023 with completion slated for early 2024.

H2GO Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant
The highly anticipated completion of H2GO’s Aquifer-sourced Reverse Osmosis Water Treatment Plant is set to bring contaminant-free drinking water to some 40,000 customers in northern Brunswick County in the new year. Delayed this year due to national supply chain issues, the decade-long construction on the plant is set for completion in January. The facility will use reverse osmosis to remove naturally occurring and man-made contaminants from raw water retrieved from five well sites. According to H2GO, water treated at the plant is expected to be tested in January and officials expect the results to show non-detect levels of PFAS contaminants. The test results will be made available to the public, according to H2GO’s website. The plant will cost $1.5 million annually to operate, according to H2GO’s website.

Carolina Bays Parkway
A massive highway project looking to connect Brunswick County and Myrtle Beach could see major movement in 2023. The Carolina Bays Parkway project was first conceived in the early 2000s. Long awaited and highly anticipated, the project hopes to connect S.C. 31 and U.S. 17 in Brunswick County. With the need for a new route in southern Brunswick greater than ever with commercial and residential developments booming across the county, the project is now nearing some concrete milestones. Seven possible routes are undergoing more detailed studies to find the corridor with the least human and environmental impacts. N.C. Department of Transportation officials anticipate results from those studies will be shared with the public in February 2023 with a public comment period to follow. The project is expected to cost the two states $552 million and is only partially funded at this point.

Midway Bridge expansion
An aging Brunswick County bridge will find new life in 2023. Construction to replace and expand the bridge over Middle Swamp on N.C. 906, or Midway Road SE, began in October and is set to be completed ahead of Memorial Day next spring. Once completed, the new bridge will have wider lanes, according to the N.C. Department of Transportation. A portion of Midway Road is set to be closed while construction takes place – an anticipated seven months total. The closed portion of the highway is located roughly a mile from the Brunswick County Courthouse and government complex off U.S. 17 Business, or Old Ocean Highway. Motorists are directed to take detours to bypass the construction.

Sunset Beach improvements
In November, the Local Government Commission greenlighted Sunset Beach’s plans to purchase over four acres of land to expand amenities and services in the town. The town looks to create a town park on the land, complete with a new kayak launch, swings and benches. According to the LGC, financing for the project will be provided through an installment purchase, which allows the borrower to pay back over time instead of up front in full. With the LGC backing the purchase of the land, plans for the project should be in the next year.
Read more » click here

This and That –

NC drivers to spend more on gas in 2023 under new tax rate
The new year means new tax rates. For North Carolina drivers, that will mean higher gas prices.
The new year means new tax rates. For North Carolina drivers, that will mean higher gas prices. The state’s gas tax will go up 2 cents, starting on Sunday, Jan.1. It’s a hard pill to swallow but just as gas prices are cooling off, the gas tax is going up. “People sometimes buy gas several times a week so they will notice it,” said economist Mike Walden. Starting Monday, the gas tax will rise from 38.5 cents to 40.5 cents. That money is the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s largest funding source for transportation projects. The calculation takes into account population and inflation. “Last year, there are some estimates that construction costs for transportation projects may have gone up 20 percent,” Walden said. “We all needs roads to run our economy, and to get to our jobs and go to schools, etc. This is way that North Carolina tries to keep up.” In 2022, North Carolina saw unleaded gas prices soar to $4.67 in June. The average has fallen to $2.99 a gallon to close out the year. “Now, this morning, it was 50 cents lower which is great,” said Carla Bartollomeo. “I hope the trend continues.” The 2-cent increase will mean an extra $15 to $20 a year for drivers who fill up a 15-gallon tank every week. “As long as they use it to make highway construction better and make our roads better and safe that’s OK,” said Richard Head. “Something has got to pay for that.” With the shift to electric vehicles, the state will likely have to find a new model for funding transportation projects in the future. For now, the more you drive, the more taxes you’ll pay. “There’s a logic here in using a gas tax in the sense that it’s a lot like a user fee,” Walden said. The news comes as the state income tax is going down. The current rate of nearly 5 percent will drop to 4.75 percent in 2023. The plan is to keep enacting cuts until the rate hits 3.99 percent in 2027.
Read more » click here

Beach areas will have paid parking
After a spirited debate and public hearing, Oak Island Town Council voted Tuesday to institute a paid parking plan for beach-area parking. The council agreed to increase “resident only” spaces to about 300 and keep the system almost free for residents and property owners. The final vote for charging starting April 1 was 4-1, with Council Member Bill Craft casting the lone “no” vote. Charlie Blalock, Mark Martin, John Bach and Sheila Bell voted in the majority. The contract with Otto Connect will specify charging $5 per hour, $20 per day, $80 per week and $175 per season, with a limit of 1,000 seasonal passes issued, the council decided. The changes also restrict right-of-way parking across the island. Otto will be in charge of enforcement in beach areas; the Police Department will enforce the rules in the so-called “wooded section” north of Davis Canal and Oak Island Drive. Mayor Liz White said she pushed hard to get the best possible deal for residents, who will continue to pay $10 per two years and can park in any available space at no extra charge. “It is a cultural shift, but it’s proportional to the shift that began years ago,” White said, adding that the flood of new residents and visitors is driving the changes. White said the town is also focusing more on establishing pedestrian crosswalks, streetlights and a safer environment. Drivers tend to park anywhere available off the road during the summer season, particularly on warm weekends and holidays. This sometimes leaves emergency access areas and fire hydrants blocked, even when police write an armload of citations. “We’re trying to make order out of chaos,” White said. Bach called the move a reaction to growth and asked for patience from the public as the town tries to balance needs. “The island is going to change,” he said. Craft called the plan “atrocious” and “unacceptable.” The contract is for two years. The rules will be in effect from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. April 1–September 30. Parking permits will be available by QR code scans or by calling a toll-free number.
Read more » click here

Factoid That May Interest Only Me –

White color dining set with spoons and forks

It’s not just what you eat, but the time of day you eat it
The timing of your meals can have striking effects on your weight, appetite and chronic disease risk
Most people know that what and how much you eat plays a major role in your health. But scientists are finding that when you eat can make a difference as well. Studies show that for optimal health, it’s best to consume most of your calories earlier in the day rather than later — for example by eating a large breakfast, a modest lunch, and a small dinner. This pattern of eating aligns with our circadian rhythms, the innate 24-hour clock that governs many aspects of our health, from our daily hormonal fluctuations and body temperatures to our sleep-wake cycles. Because of the way our internal clocks operate, our bodies are primed to digest and metabolize food early in the day. As the day progresses, our metabolisms become less efficient. Studies show that a meal consumed at 9 a.m. can have vastly different metabolic effects than the same meal consumed at 9 p.m.

The study of meal timing
This emerging field of research, known as chrono-nutrition, represents a paradigm shift in how nutrition researchers think about food and health. Instead of focusing solely on nutrients and calories, scientists are increasingly looking at meal timing and discovering that it can have striking effects on your weight, appetite, chronic disease risk and your body’s ability to burn and store fat. “This is something that until recently no one in nutrition had looked at — it’s always been what are you eating, and what’s the energy content of your food or the carbohydrates, protein and fat,” said Marta Garaulet, a professor of physiology and nutrition at the University of Murcia in Spain who studies meal timing and its effects on obesity and metabolism. In today’s busy world, it’s common for people to skip breakfast and binge at night after a long day at work. Researchers say that whenever possible it would be better to do the opposite — or at least to space your dinner a few hours from your bedtime. Garaulet has found in her research that even in her native Spain, which is famous for its late-eating culture, people who typically eat a large midday lunch and a light dinner develop fewer metabolic problems than people who consume a lot of nighttime calories. “In Spain, our main meal is in the middle of the day, from 2 to 3 p.m.,” she said. “We eat 35 to 40 percent of our calories in the middle of the day. And even though we eat dinner late, we don’t eat very much.”

A big breakfast and a light dinner
When you eat your meals is just one of many dietary factors that can influence your metabolic health. And for some people, like night-shift workers, it’s impossible not to consume meals late at night. But for those whose schedules permit, research suggests that having your biggest meal of the day in the morning or afternoon rather than at night could be beneficial. In a new study published in Obesity Reviews, scientists looked at data from nine rigorous clinical trials involving 485 adults. They found that people who were assigned to follow diets where they consumed most of their calories earlier in the day lost more weight than people who did the reverse. They also had greater improvements in their blood sugar, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity, a marker of diabetes risk. In another study published in Cell Metabolism in October, scientists recruited a group of adults and examined what happened when they followed an early eating schedule for six days. The schedule included breakfast at 8 a.m., lunch at noon, and dinner at 4 p.m. On a separate occasion, they had the same participants follow a late-eating schedule, with each meal pushed back four hours over a six-day period. The study was small but tightly controlled, involving 16 people who were closely monitored, provided all their meals, and kept on a strict sleep and wake schedule in a laboratory setting.

Why late-eating makes you hungrier
The researchers found that despite eating the same foods and maintaining the same levels of physical activity, the participants were significantly hungrier when they followed the late-eating schedule. A look at their hormone levels showed why: Eating later caused their levels of ghrelin, a hormone that increases appetite, to spike, while simultaneously suppressing their levels of leptin, a hormone that causes satiety. The study found that eating later caused the participants to burn less fat and fewer calories and pushed their fat cells to store more fat. “To our surprise we found that these mechanisms were all three consistently changed in the direction that would promote weight gain,” said Frank Scheer, the senior author of the study and the director of the Medical Chronobiology Program in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Other studies have had similar findings. In one randomized trial at Johns Hopkins, scientists found that healthy young adults burned less fat and had a 20 percent increase in their blood sugar levels when they ate dinner at 10 p.m. compared with when they ate the same dinner on another occasion at 6 p.m. “It’s clear that the timing of your meals does matter — not just what you eat, but when you eat it,” said Jonathan Jun, an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and an author of the study. “Eating late makes you less glucose tolerant and also makes your body burn less fat than if you had the same food earlier in the day.”

How to follow an early-eating schedule
Scientists who study meal-timing say the following strategies could help you optimize your health.

    • Don’t skip breakfast. Garaulet and her colleagues found that skipping your morning meal increases your risk of obesity. Mornings are when our bodies are primed to metabolize food. If you’re not usually hungry in the morning, have something light, then eat a large lunch. “Try to eat the majority of your calories during the morning or afternoon but not at night,” Garaulet said.
    • Morning carbs are better than late-day carbs. If you’re going to eat sweets or simple carbs like bread, pasta and pastries, it’s better to do so in the morning or early afternoon, when we are most insulin-sensitive, rather than at night, Garaulet said.
    • Try to eat dinner early in the evening. Start by moving your dinner at least one hour earlier than usual. Ideally you should aim to eat dinner at least two to three hours before going to bed.
    • Make dinner the smallest meal of the day. Even if you can’t eat an early dinner, you should try to make breakfast and lunch your biggest meals of the day and dinner your smallest. If you’re used to eating a small lunch and a big dinner, then switch the order. You can make your dinner a meal that’s heavy on vegetables to lighten it up. “Just try to shift more of your calories to breakfast and lunch,” said Courtney Peterson, an associate professor in the department of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
    • Try meal-timing at least five days a week. Sometimes it’s not practical to eat a small or early dinner, and that’s okay. In studies, Peterson found that people who ate a light dinner five days a week instead of seven still gained benefits like better blood sugar control and less daily fatigue. “Don’t think of this as all or nothing,” said Peterson. “Maybe on some days you can’t do it because you’re going out to eat with your family. But then on other days you can do it and that’s great. It’s important that you do what’s practical for you.”

The biology of meal timing
Scientists have uncovered several mechanisms that explain why an early-eating schedule is better for your health. Our bodies are better able secrete insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels, in the morning. We also tend to be more insulin-sensitive early in the day, meaning our muscles are better able to absorb and utilize glucose from our bloodstreams. But as the day progresses, we become less and less insulin sensitive. By nighttime, the beta cells in the pancreas that produce insulin become sluggish and less responsive to blood sugar elevations. Another important factor is hormone-sensitive lipase, an enzyme that releases fat from our fat cells. This enzyme is typically most active at night so it can provide our bodies with energy to keep our organs functioning as we sleep. But Garaulet has found that eating late at night suppresses this enzyme — essentially preventing your body from burning fat. “We see a big difference between people that have dinner for example four hours before going to bed,” she said, “and those that have dinner around one hour before going to bed.”
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Hot Button Issues

Subjects that are important to people and about which they have strong opinions

Climate change illustration and art

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There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear

The Last 8 Years Were the Hottest on Record
The world remained firmly in warming’s grip last year, with extreme summer temperatures in Europe, China and elsewhere contributing to 2022 being the fifth-hottest year on record, European climate researchers said on Tuesday. The eight warmest years on record have now occurred since 2014, the scientists, from the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, reported, and 2016 remains the hottest year ever. Overall, the world is now 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.1 degrees Fahrenheit) hotter than it was in the second half of the 19th century, when emissions of planet-warming carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels became widespread. Carlo Buontempo, director of the Copernicus service, said the underlying warming trend since the pre-industrial age made 2022’s ranking in the top five “neither unexpected nor unsurprising.” “The rare event now would be to see a really cold year,” he said. Last year was among the warmest despite the persistence of La Niña for the third consecutive year. La Niña is a climate pattern marked by colder-than-normal sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that tend to suppress global temperatures. “We are continuing the long-term warming trend of the planet,” said Zeke Hausfather, a researcher at Berkeley Earth, an independent organization that analyzes environmental data. “If you draw a straight line through temperatures since 1970, 2022 lands almost exactly on where you’d expect temperatures to be.” Berkeley Earth will issue its own analysis of 2022 data later this week, as will NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Copernicus scientists said Europe had its hottest summer ever in 2022, with several heat waves rolling across the continent that set temperature records in many cities. Separate research has shown that heat waves in Europe are increasing in frequency and intensity at a faster rate than almost anywhere else, fueled by warming but also, most likely, by shifts in atmospheric and oceanic circulation. The effects of such a warm year were felt elsewhere around the world as well. Eastern and Central China, Pakistan and India all experienced lengthy and extreme heat waves in 2022, and monsoon floods in Pakistan ravaged much of the country. The heat and accompanying dryness also contributed to extensive wildfires in the Western United States.
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The last eight years have been the warmest on record, researchers say
Concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane have continued to rise despite an urgent need to reduce them
Last year was the fifth hottest ever recorded on the planet, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service announced Tuesday. It was part of an unabated broader warming trend as humans continue to pump massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Extreme heat waves in Europe, Asia and the United States — which stemmed in part from more than a century of burning fossil fuels — helped drive 2022’s unusual warmth, researchers found. Europe sweltered through its hottest summer on record and its second-hottest year overall, researchers said. Pakistan experienced catastrophic flooding as a result of extreme rainfall. In February, Antarctic Sea ice reached its lowest minimum in 44 years of satellite records. The year “2022 was yet another … of climate extremes across Europe and globally. These events highlight that we are already experiencing the devastating consequences of our warming world,” Samantha Burgess, deputy director of Copernicus, said in a statement announcing the annual findings. She said data from 2022 provides “clear evidence that avoiding the worst consequences will require society to both urgently reduce carbon emissions and swiftly adapt to a changing climate.” The records show that the last eight years have been the hottest recorded in human history. Despite the urgency to halt such warming, the world’s output of carbon dioxide and other planet-warming emissions continues to rise. U.S. greenhouse gas emissions ticked up by 1.3 percent in 2022 over the previous year, according to an analysis released Tuesday by the Rhodium Group, an independent research firm. President Biden has pledged to cut U.S. emissions 50 to 52 percent by the end of the decade compared with 2005 levels, and while Congress recently passed far-reaching legislation to fund a shift toward cleaner energy, the nation is not yet on a trajectory to meet those lofty goals. Neither is the world. A U.N. report last fall found that despite high-profile promises to boost climate targets, nations have shaved just 1 percent off their projected greenhouse gas emissions for 2030. Scientists have said the world needs to cut planet-warming emissions roughly in half by the end of the decade to be on track to meet its most ambitious promises. The U.N. report found that the ongoing “emissions gap” — the gulf between national plans to reduce carbon pollution and the actual cuts needed to avert catastrophic warming currently leaves the Earth on a path to warm by a dangerous 2.4 degrees Celsius (4.3 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. And few nations have implemented the policies necessary to meet even these inadequate targets, the report said. “Global and national climate commitments are falling pitifully short,” U.N. Secretary General António Guterres said at the time. “We must close the emissions gap before climate catastrophe closes in on us all.” Tuesday’s report from European researchers documents how humans are continuing to heat the planet. Researchers found that atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide are at the highest levels in more than 2 million years. Levels of methane, a short-lived but powerful greenhouse gas, have also continued to increase and are at the highest levels in 800,000 years, according to Copernicus. “Greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide and methane, are the main drivers of climate change, and we can see from our monitoring activities that atmospheric concentrations are continuing to rise with no signs of slowing,” Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, said in Tuesday’s announcement. That continued warming has led to an increase in suffering around the globe. Scientists have detailed how a warmer atmosphere is supercharging storms, intensifying droughts and leaving places less time to prepare before the next weather-related disaster strikes. European researchers on Tuesday noted that polar regions experienced episodes of record temperatures during 2022. That includes places like Greenland, where in September virtually all of the country experienced higher temperatures than in any year since at least 1979. They noted how Pakistan and northern India endured prolonged spring heat waves, and how central and eastern China faced long-lasting heat wave conditions and subsequent drought in the summer. There was the biblical flooding that displaced millions in Pakistan, along with torrential rains that led to deadly and costly floods from Australia to South Africa to the United States. And all indications are that as long as human-caused emissions continue to warm the globe, more disasters are likely to follow. “The frequency and severity of extreme climate disasters continue to increase,” Rick Spinrad, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told reporters Tuesday in recounting the U.S. weather-related disasters over the past year. “We must adapt and become resilient to climate threats we cannot avoid.”
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Flood insurance flyer on the website

Flood Insurance Program

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National Flood Insurance Program flyer

National Flood Insurance Program: Reauthorization
Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On December 23, 2022, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to September 30, 2023.

Congress must now reauthorize the NFIP
by no later than 11:59 pm on September 30, 2023.

Genx illustration on a red background


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Homeowners Insurance Policy flyer on the website

Homeowners Insurance

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A satellite view of the dangerous hurricane

Hurricane Season

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Holden Beach Details on the website

Inlet Hazard Areas

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An ariel view of the sea with land

Lockwood Folly Inlet

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An offshore drilling machine in the ocean

Seismic Testing / Offshore Drilling

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Multiple wind turbines in the middle of ocean

Offshore Wind Farms

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 Things I Think I Think –

A person eating food with fork and knifeEating out is one of the great little joys of life.

Restaurant Review:
The Dinner Club visits a new restaurant once a month. Ratings reflect the reviewer’s reaction to food, ambience and service, with price taken into consideration.
///// January 2023
Name:            Tarantelli’s
Location:      102 South Second Street, Wilmington NC
Contact:        910.763.3806 /
Food:              Average / Very Good / Excellent / Exceptional
Service:         Efficient / Proficient / Professional / Expert
Ambience:    Drab / Plain / Distinct / Elegant
Cost:               Inexpensive <=20 / Moderate <=26 / Expensive <=35 / Exorbitant <=60
Rating:          Two Stars
Tarantelli’s is a nice local classic family run authentic Italian restaurant with a broad-based menu that offers something for everyone. The restaurant and event venue are located in the historic district of downtown Wilmington. Dining is in a warm and casual relaxed atmosphere with both inside and outside dining options. Although the entrees are a bit pricey, the portions are huge, the food is good and so it is still a pretty good value.

Editor’s note –
After our pandemic hiatus we discovered that the old price guidelines were obsolete
All of our previous restaurant reviews have been updated with current menu prices

Dining Guide – Guests

Dining Guide – Local

Restaurant Reviews – North

Restaurant Reviews – South

Dining Guide – Local
Old places, New faces
Name:            Sorella
Location:      3219 Holden Beach Road, Supply NC
Macie & Ethel’s Kitchen  has permanently closed.
Sorella is a family-style Italian restaurant that will be coming to this location.

After years of rumors, Brunswick beach town getting first fast-food restaurant
Rumors that a Hardee’s restaurant would be coming to Holden Beach have been floating around the coastal community for years. Now, it’s finally happening. Construction on a Hardee’s restaurant at the intersection of Ocean View Avenue and Holden Beach Road, across from the Food Lion and Walgreens, is officially underway. Hardee’s is an American fast-food restaurant chain that opened its first location in Greenville, North Carolina, in 1960. Today, there are more than 1,800 Hardee’s locations in the nation, largely in Southeast and Midwest states. Hardee’s also has locations in 12 other countries. Alan Holden, mayor of Holden Beach, said he’s heard positive reactions from the community regarding this long-awaited upgrade to the town. Holden added that this will be the first-ever fast-food restaurant in the town. “It’s been coming for I don’t know how many years,” Holden said. “It’s about the most exciting news we’ve got in Holden Beach right now.” Hardee’s corporate office did not respond to a StarNews request for more information as of Monday, but with construction already underway, Holden said he expects the restaurant to go up quickly. “I’m hoping I’m going to be eating a ham, egg and cheese biscuit there this spring,” Holden said. While this will be Holden Beach’s first location of the burger and breakfast sandwich spot, Hardee’s restaurants dot Brunswick County, from Leland and Northwest to Shallotte and Ocean Isle Beach. In nearby New Hanover County, there are four Hardee’s in Wilmington, one in Castle Hayne and one in Carolina Beach.
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An illustration of a man eating and dining

How the pandemic altered the restaurant industry forever
Chefs and restaurant owners are trying to figure out why it all feels so different. It’s because we’ve changed.
Pandemic restaurant-going was like a series of twists on the old Yogi Berra quip about how nobody goes there anymore because it’s too crowded. First, restaurants stood cavernously empty by mandate as we pined for them. Then we got scared to be cheek to jowl with fellow customers. As patrons surged back, a dearth of workers kept things off-balance. And as the worker shortage eased, inflation thwarted many diners from pre-pandemic levels of patronage. It’s still not normal. Looking around your favorite restaurant, assuming it’s still open, it feels different, right? The ebb and flow of service, how and when and what people order — the pandemic has meant seismic shifts for an industry defined by its resilience and adaptability, developments that will probably alter the dining landscape permanently. It’s changed because we, The Diners, have changed. Here’s how.

Where people eat
Restaurants are still seeing 16 percent fewer people dining on-premises compared to before the pandemic. Off-premises dining, however, has picked up precisely that much, according to the National Restaurant Association. But how that breaks down is telling: Delivery is up more than 5 percent while carryout is down 3. The big winner? Drive-through, up 13 percent. At this moment, 39 percent of all restaurant traffic is bumper to bumper in a drive-through lane, said Hudson Riehle, an economist for the National Restaurant Association. “Operationally, many restaurants function differently than they did three years ago, with a greater reliance on technology integration and on the off-premises market,” he said. What does this mean? The restaurant industry has been bifurcated between two types of places: ones that cater to the “hangry,” must-eat-now crowd and those who want to be nurtured and entertained. “There’s a dichotomy in what consumers want. They want value and convenience but also crave an experience,” said David Henkes, a senior analyst at market research firm Technomic. “Quick-serve restaurants are betting a lot of money that those changes are permanent.” He points to Taco Bell’s Defy, a concept that debuted in a Minneapolis suburb in June, with four drive-through lanes, a kitchen on the second floor and orders — with lanes devoted solely to delivery drivers or orders placed via Taco Bell’s mobile app — delivered downward via space-age-looking tubes to customers’ cars in about two minutes from order time. There’s no dining room. McDonald’s is doing the same this month, debuting a prototype restaurant design in Fort Worth for to-go and delivery orders. Last year, the fast-food chain added its own delivery service, and while delivery is in many cases nearly twice the price of buying it at the drive-through, customers remain enthusiastic. It’s a quest for speed and efficiency, something virtual-only restaurants and kitchens promised at the beginning of the pandemic and have been a mixed bag at delivering. Many so-called “ghost” kitchens learned the hard way that the visibility and street cred associated with brick-and-mortar operations is invaluable. “The dine-in business is going to be radically smaller than it was, with much more focus on takeout orders, a huge shift in the basis of competition to be all about technology and convenience,” Henkes said.

How people order
Accelerated by the pandemic, restaurants’ digital strategy has become key. The restaurant industry saw an 18 percent increase in eateries offering direct online ordering this year, according to BentoBox, a restaurant website company. This comes even as third-party delivery companies hold their own: Grubhub sales remained flat for the first half of this year, while DoorDash reported better-than-expected sales for the third quarter. This digital dining pivot has also prioritized delivery app menus and mobile app-based loyalty programs. McDonald’s, which launched its loyalty program about a year ago, had 25 million members as of Sept. 30 who had been active on its app in the previous 90 days. “I was talking to a client while he was trying to order food on his phone, and he was getting frustrated. I said, ‘Why don’t you call?’ and he said, ‘I shouldn’t have to talk to a person.’ Customers have come to expect digital ordering,” said Tony Smith, co-founder of Restaurant365, a restaurant management system. But a basic on-demand food delivery app costs between $30,000 and $50,000 to develop, according to software development company TekRevol. For big corporate restaurants, that cost can be amortized across units, or even passed along to franchisees. For many independent restaurants, this may be prohibitively expensive, shutting them out of this increasingly essential tool. “We are going to see a hollowing-out in the restaurant world,” said Laurie Thomas, owner of two restaurants in San Francisco and executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. “We will end up with the super expensive, bespoke opportunities that you’re paying through the nose for, and then you’re going to have the fast casual restaurants. The middle restaurants will be much fewer. It won’t be an economically viable part of the industry going forward,” she said. Independent restaurants may suffer most, but some restaurant groups that may have difficulty with culture change are in the category of sit-down family dining like the name-brand stalwarts you might find circling a suburban mall that are less about “an experience or uniqueness.”

What people order
The last big revolution in the restaurant industry was during the Great Recession between 2007 and 2009. Food trucks proliferated, fine-dining chefs threw in their crisp white coats and started crafting elevated casual fare, bringing their exacting eyes to deli sandwiches and diner food. Fast casual thrived while supply outstripped demand for highfalutin, multicourse prix-fixers. Some of the culinary changes — often described as the “casualization” of the industry — wrought by those difficult times persist today, but it’s clear that the pandemic pushed things even further. Whether or not the economy heads into a recession next year, diners are skittish and extra price conscious. Restaurant transactions dropped almost 7 percent in the third quarter of this year, according to Rabobank research, a slightly worse drop than in the second quarter, experts attributing the slide to inflation in menu prices and consumers feeling squeezed. “We’ve been steadily revising our forecast downward every time we’ve looked at the industry, particularly the real number of volume growth,” said Henkes. Because restaurants have increased their prices, the top-line number looks pretty good, he said, “but underlying that is a softness developing in the fall — inflation coupled with high level of uncertainty has begun putting a damper in restaurant traffic.” Consumers feel constrained, but restaurateurs are extra pinched: According to government data, prices for food consumed at home rose 12 percent over the past 12 months, while food consumed away from home rose 8.5 percent in the same time. This means restaurant owners are eating some of that increase in food costs and not passing it along to customers to stay competitive. One way restaurants cope with uncertainty is to scale back offerings and streamline menus, focusing more on foods that have a longer shelf life, a higher profit margin or that require less labor to prepare. (Restaurant labor costs are up 9.8 percent this year, and were up 9 percent last year, according to the National Restaurant Association.) Menus became exercises in brevity in the thick of the pandemic, and while they are no longer haiku, they remain pared down. Because chefs and owners whittled entrees from 10 options to, say, six, and they have to cover the most popular categories like chicken, beef, salmon, shrimp and something vegetarian, range has suffered, and more creative fare has gotten short shrift. Adding to that winnowing of choice, Smith said, is the decimation of small independent restaurateurs’ nest eggs during the pandemic. They aren’t as insulated against potential future economic hardship. He predicts struggles and maybe closures for some small international restaurants and restaurants that focus on regional cuisines, a future that may diminish the whole array of food options in a town.
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Previously reported – January 2022
Fancy restaurants and casual chains will thrive. The places in between won’t.
Even before the pandemic, some food industry analysts believed that we’d already seen the end of the golden age of dining out in America that rising labor and food costs, significant ground ceded to third-party delivery companies, and shifting consumer tastes were stymieing innovation and squeezing profits. Reeling from #MeToo and racial-inequity scandals, the restaurant industry was in a period of reckoning and reinvention when, in March 2020, everything screeched to a standstill. Now the industry is back-ish, but many things will never be the same. Dine-in visits to restaurants were down 49 percent in the 12 months ending in October 2021 compared with the pre-pandemic level in the year ending in October 2019, according to the market research firm NPD Group. Off-premises orders (carryout, drive-through and delivery) represented 50 percent of casual restaurants’ sales before the pandemic; now that figure is 80 percent. That’s here to stay — online ordering and window pickup dominate Brian Treitman’s restaurant, B.T.’s Smokehouse in Sturbridge, Mass., for example, leaving his dining room, for which he still pays rent, largely a vestige from another time. So far it doesn’t sound like a loss, right? Assuming sufficient to-go containers, it just means swapping out where people consume food. Not exactly. The pandemic, coupled with an inequitable distribution of federal assistance, created winners and losers. The losers — many mom-and-pop restaurants, with a substantial portion of proprietors whose first language isn’t English — are not able to compete on wages or keep their menu prices commensurate with those of deeper-pocketed peers. Many will go out of business. There’s still a customer for high-end “experiential” restaurants. And quick-serve chains will continue to flourish. But even these categories will face problems and flux. With so many restaurant jobs open, fewer kitchen workers are willing to endure the high stress and low pay of prestigious “stages” (the industry word for internships), which will diminish the pipeline of talent. And for quick-serve, labor shortages will expedite a turn toward kiosk ordering, touchless payment apps and robotics in food preparation. Rising rents will force many restaurants to operate all day, but the continued allure of remote work means they’ll keep losing breakfast and lunch business to the sandwich hastily eaten over the sink. ​​For those who believe that food is mere sustenance, this should cause little chagrin, but for those of us who view it, at its acme, as an art, signs point to creators having fewer tools and fewer venues in which to showcase their work.
Washington Post

We’ve just lived through the greatest period of restaurant growth in U.S. history. Here’s why it’s ending.
A new book explains the sudden death of the golden age of dining out in America
We’ve just been through America’s belle epoque of restaurants. What’s more, the party is over and most of us are blithely unaware. The restaurant industry is frequently the precursor for a market correction, an early harbinger of a bear market or even a recession to come. And some experts are saying that an unfortunate confluence of factors — oversaturated restaurant markets, rising labor and food costs, weak sales, changing consumer tastes and loyalties, a shrinking middle class, declines in mall traffic, bank, and investor skittishness about returns on investments — means the near future looks bleak.
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Book Review:
Read several books from The New York Times best sellers fiction list monthly
Selection represents this month’s pick of the litter
The word is murder text on a flyer

by Anthony Horowitz
A clever and inventive mystery starring a fictional version of the author himself as the Watson to a modern-day Holmes. Their first joint investigative venture concerns the strangulation of Diana Cowper in her London home, mere hours after she visited a funeral parlor and made detailed arrangements for her own funeral. Hawthorne wants Horowitz to chronicle, in real time, his cases into books, and eventually gets him to agree.

 The sentence is death flyer and illustrationTHE SENTENCE IS DEATH by Anthony Horowitz
A brilliant whodunit murder mystery, the second in the series. Horowitz’s doppelganger, Horowitz-the-author plays Horowitz-the-character, once again plays Dr. Watson to Private Investigator Daniel Hawthorne’s Sherlock Holmes. This time around the duo sets out to investigate the murder of London divorce attorney Richard Pryce, bludgeoned to death with a bottle of vintage wine in his home.


A line to kill illustration on a red background

A LINE TO KILL by Anthony Horowitz
The third book in the mystery series, a whodunit featuring intrepid detectives Hawthorne and Horowitz. A fictional version of author Anthony Horowitz serves as the narrator and the “Watson” to P.I. Daniel Hawthorne “Holmes”. This time they are invited to an exclusive literary festival on Alderney Island and find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation. Hawthorne helps the sparse local police force investigate. As the title suggests, a whole line of people are suspects and were waiting their turn to commit the murder.  

The twist of a knife flyer and illustration

THE TWIST OF A KNIFE by Anthony Horowitz
This is the fourth entry/installment in the bestselling whodunit mystery series, An Agatha Christie style murder mystery Horowitz once again plays himself: the narrator and Watson to private investigator Hawthorne’s Holmes. In his latest novel, Horowitz becomes the prime suspect in a murder investigation when an obnoxious theatre critic Harriet Throsby is murdered, hours after writing a stinging review of Horowitz’s play. Hawthorne in a Poirot like fashion, assembles the play’s company, and solves the case making for a great ending to the book.

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