Recent Inspiration (above)

Just to the south of Estes Park sits Twin Sisters Mountain (whose eastern peak [11,428'], with the splash of sunshine on it, is the highest), behind its northern escarpment ("The Crags"), in this picture taken near sunset. The Estes Valley began to play a role in these stories in Wet Work.

The Four Corners states—Colorado, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico—are part of a region of spectacular beauty, solitude, and a rich diversity of landforms, ecosystems, and cultures. Descendents of the region's original inhabitants, the various American Indian Nations, and their interactions with the descendents of more recent arrivals from Europe have provided fodder for stories for generations.

All but two of my Four Corners Mysteries are set in the Four Corners states. Mountains, deserts, canyons, and trout streams all play strong roles in these novels. (The two novels set in Florida serve to introduce two of the more important FCM characters.)

I began writing these novels some twenty years ago, as a sort of challenge to myself. At the time, I had been working in positions that required significant travel between Denver or Albuquerque and Washington D.C., usually to Reagan National Airport. Back then, such trips required changing planes, for reasons I’ve never understood, so the trip in either direction took six hours or so. I’ve never been able to get real work done sitting on an airplane, so I always stopped in the airport bookstores to find something to read. And because I’ve always been a mystery fan—I read The Complete Sherlock Holmes at least three times before I got my driver’s license—I gravitated toward that genre.

At first, I read books by authors whose names I recognized. Eventually, however, I ran through those and began picking out books more or less at random, based on the covers, or the synopses, or the blurbs, or some flash of (flawed) intuition. In doing so, I had decidedly mixed success. Indeed, some of those books, published by respectable, big-name houses, were just awful. Terrible. They were boring, ridiculous, overly graphic in some way, horribly written, or just dumb—or, often, some combination of these.

"I can write better than that!" I’d say to myself, frustrated with what I’d picked out.

Now, scientists are trained to be skeptical of unsupported assertions. Consequently, it didn’t take too many of those exclamations of frustration for a little voice in my head to say “Oh, yeah? Care to prove it, pal?”

It's not for me to say whether I've succeeded, over the past twenty years, at writing "better than that," but at least I can hope that these stories provide the same enjoyment and reading fun that I had when writing them.

Thank you for your interest and support.

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