Milner Makes Appearances Here
By Sara King
Special to The Pilot
For the last three decades, Sam Milner has been a familiar name in the Sandhills. A native of South Carolina, Milner grew up in western North Carolina, and as an accomplished musician and singer-songwriter, he has entertained Sandhills audiences often.
Now Milner will entertain Sandhills readers with his novel "Trouble with Treasure" (the first book in a "Trouble" series), and its enclosed CD, "Songs of the Spanish Main" (Sea Dunes Publishing, P.O. Box 510291, Melbourne Beach, FL 32951).
A current resident of the Florida Keys, Milner is familiar with the treasures found in the shipwrecked Spanish galleons in the Florida Straits and Caribbean, and he has created characters in a setting he knows well. Readers will be intrigued by the ongoing suspense, which is highlighted by the colorful cover design and chapter illustrations by his wife, Seajay Milner.
The Milners will be at The Country Bookshop, in Southern Pines, for a book signing between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., and at Neville's from 7 to 10 p.m.
In this novel, Windell Lee, also known as Windley, dives with his Keys friend Bub, one of the "partners" who explore shipwrecks, but the men find they are not alone when a trawler dumps white-fin sharks above them. Nevertheless, in the next few days Windley, Bub and other partners Shotz and Gator continue their shipwreck explorations until human and weather antagonists stop their efforts.
When Tropical Storm Hazel escalates, Windley hunkers down to wait out the hurricane. After the bad conditions abate, he plans a trip to the Pine Needles Music and Arts Festival in North Carolina, where he will perform.
Windley then talks his San Francisco artist girlfriend Sunny Saint Cloud into joining him, and it is in Pine Needles that Milner's knowledge of the Sandhills is most apparent.
From the train running along Broad Street to an upscale jewelry store, restaurant, and the country club, much of the book's action occurs in this area.
At an event on Broad Street, Windley and Sunny buy a Mercedes replica so Sunny can paint it, but when Windley takes it to his car, he is knocked down, the toy stolen, and the thief run over and killed by a service truck.
At that time, Windley and Sunny meet Police Chief Townes, a rather suspicious character himself, who takes the toy to investigate it. Moreover, Windley glimpses a woman from Florida, who is oddly out of place.
Townes soon calls Windley and Sunny in to report that he has found blood diamonds hidden in a part of the toy car. Later Sunny is kidnapped, and as Windley tries to find her, danger looms in once peaceful Pine Needles, now the site of crime.
Milner's first novel is suspenseful and chock-full of action. His characters in both Florida and North Carolina are believable, and his plot sprinkled with those twists and turns that will keep readers reading intently from first page to last.
Sandhills readers will enjoy identifying people and places Milner has included, such as a restaurant in which people find "... a raised area beyond the bar furnished with antique love seats and sofas."
Sara King is a Southern Pines resident.
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