Prose & Cons

Four Corners Free Press  Because it takes more than 140 characters to get to the truth

Chuck Greaves    Scott Graham

Chuck Greaves is the author of five novels, most recently Tom & Lucky, a WSJ “Best Books of 2015” selection and a finalist for the 2016 Harper Lee Prize. His novel Hard Twisted, an award winning work of historic fiction, is a long-time staff favorite.

Scott Graham is the author of nine fiction and non-fiction books, including the National Outdoor Book Award winning Extreme Kids and most recently Yosemite Fall, the fourth installment in the acclaimed National Park Mystery Series.


Behind the Bears Ears: Exploring the Cultural and Natural Histories of a Sacred Landscape By R. E. Burrillo Cover Image
ISBN: 9781948814300
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Torrey House Press - October 27th, 2020

Bears Ears illuminated

November 2, 2020
Scott Graham

Noted Four Corners archaeologist and former Cortez resident R.E. Burrillo has just released his first book, Behind the Bears Ears, a conversational, easily accessible exploration of the cultural and natural histories of the Southwest’s newest national monument...MORE.

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The Only Good Indians By Stephen Graham Jones Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781982136451
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - July 14th, 2020

Bloody Native American fun

September 11, 2020
Scott Graham

How is it I’m smiling so much as I think about The Only the Good Indians, the novel I just finished reading?

It’s a horror novel after all, and horror novels freak me out.

It’s set on the troubled Blackfeet Reservation in November, at the bleak start of...MORE

The Study of Secrets (Lila MacLean Academic Mystery #5) By Cynthia Kuhn Cover Image
ISBN: 9781635116151
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Published: Henery Press - May 26th, 2020

Three Colorado cozies offer welcome escapes

July 1, 2020
Scott Graham

Three just-released cozy mysteries by top notch Colorado authors offer a trio of exceptional reading escapes to those who like their diversions tinged with murder...MORE



The Adventurer's Son: A Memoir By Roman Dial Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062876607
Published: Mariner Books - February 18th, 2020

The risk of adventure parenting

May 5, 2020
Scott Graham

Memorials dedicated to young adults who died doing the sorts of adventure sports the Four Corners prides itself on — backcountry skiing, rock climbing, whitewater kayaking — are scattered across the region. Formal as well as informal, the memorials range from a sandstone bench along a river’s edge to a metal sculpture resembling...MORE

Long Bright River: A Novel By Liz Moore Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525540670
Published: Riverhead Books - January 7th, 2020

An effortless switch from literary to mystery

February 11, 2020
Scott Graham

It’s not uncommon for authors of literary fiction to try their hands at the mystery genre. Many bomb out, some spectacularly, incapable of switching from the introspective nature of literary novels to the fast-paced, entertainment-oriented style of storytelling appreciated by most mystery readers.

Not all who make the attempt fail, however. Acclaimed East Coast literary novelist Liz Moore, for one, makes the switch effortlessly with Long Bright River...MORE

Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War By Steve Inskeep Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735224353
Published: Penguin Press - January 14th, 2020

Manifest destitute

January 16, 2020
Chuck Greaves

Readers of this column know that we seldom review nonfiction here, but that every so often a title comes along that invites an exception. Such was the case with reporter Steve Inskeep’s Imperfect Union: How Jessie and John Frémont Mapped the West, Invented Celebrity, and Helped Cause the Civil War. Not only did the book’s subtitle promise a fresh look at one of America’s iconic frontier figures, it hinted at the sort of inclusive scholarship so often missing in the Western literary canon....MORE.

The Cactus Plot: Murder in the High Desert By Vicky Ramakka Cover Image
ISBN: 9781932926835
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Artemesia Publishing, LLC - November 5th, 2019

Getting New Mexico By Rhenna St Clair Cover Image
ISBN: 9781610353441
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pace Press - November 5th, 2019

A trio of local voices

December 5, 2019
Scott Graham

I have the pleasure in this month’s column of introducing three new books by local authors. While firmly placed in the Four Corners, all three books — by Rhenna St. Clair, Vicky Ramakka, and Erica Soon Olsen — wrestle with the universal themes of personal growth and finding one’s place in a challenging world.

St. Clair’s Getting New Mexico (Pace Press) is a humorous fish-out-of-water tale. In return for continuing to receive the financial handouts to which he has long been accustomed, lifelong moocher and dedicated laze-about Aaron Schuyler accepts his banishment to Santa Fe, New Mexico, by his wealthy Manhattanite mother. Aaron’s mother hopes her son will learn some self-reliance while he’s all alone in what she perceives as the distant, backward Southwest. Instead, Aaron meets a cast of quirky New Mexicans who teach him what it means to be a part of something larger than himself....MORE

Land of Wolves: A Longmire Mystery By Craig Johnson Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525522508
Published: Viking - September 17th, 2019

In the interests of full disclosure, I first met Craig Johnson, author of the popular Sheriff Walt Longmire mysteries on which the equally-popular Netflix TV series is based, in 2008 when he was a lecturer and I was a student at the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in Albuquerque. Anyone who’s ever met Craig knows what an engaging speaker he is, and so can imagine how effective he would be as a writing instructor (which is very.) He at the time had just published his fourth novel in the series – Another Man’s Moccasins, winner of a 2009 Spur Award from the Western Writers of America – and being impressed with his presentation, I proceeded to devour them all, losing myself in the fictitious latitudes of Absaroka County, Wyo., and its endearing cast of colorful characters. MORE... 

Scholars of Mayhem: My Father's Secret War in Nazi-Occupied France By Daniel C. Guiet, Timothy K. Smith Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735225206
Published: Penguin Press - June 4th, 2019

Durangoan Dan Guiet gave his father, Jean Claude Guiet, a computer as a birthday present 25 years ago and asked Jean Claude to record his life story on it. Jean Claude began to type, but only after giving explicit instructions that no one was to read his writings until after his death.

Jean Claude died in 2013 at age 89. Only then did Dan become privy to his father’s story, one of the most sensational true tales ever to come out of World War II. MORE...

A Prayer for Travelers: A Novel By Ruchika Tomar Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780525537014
Published: Riverhead Books - July 9th, 2019

Thank goodness New York publishing, unlike Hollywood filmmaking, hasn’t entirely succumbed to the bland congruity of blockbuster titles, series retreads, and the same old, same old. Thank goodness a trip to your local bookstore can still yield daring works by diverse new voices; quirky and beautiful novels that defy convention and expand the boundaries of traditional storytelling. MORE...

Recursion: A Novel By Blake Crouch Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524759780
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - June 11th, 2019

Ever wondered what it takes to write bestselling novels that get turned into blockbuster Hollywood films and television series?

You can find out firsthand from local author Blake Crouch, who divides his time these days between his Durango hometown and Los Angeles, where he oversees his many ongoing film and television projects. MORE...

Metropolis (A Bernie Gunther Novel #14) By Philip Kerr Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735218895
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - April 9th, 2019

Philip Kerr died young – too young – in March of 2018. He was the author of more than 40 books, works of both fiction and nonfiction that include his Children of the Lamp middle-grade novels (as P. B. Kerr) and his popular Scott Mason thrillers. But it will be for his Bernie Gunther series of historical detective novels that Kerr, a Scotsman by birth, will forever be remembered, and lionized, as one of the greats of the crime fiction genre. MORE...

Hunting Game (An Embla Nyström Investigation #1) By Helene Tursten, Paul Norlen (Translated by) Cover Image
By Helene Tursten, Paul Norlen (Translated by)
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ISBN: 9781641290975
Published: Soho Crime - November 12th, 2019

Swedish author Helene Tursten has gone against type over the last decade to create the highly praised Detective Inspector Embla Nystrom mysteries, including her latest installment in the series, Hunting Game, just released in the United States. MORE...

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The River: A novel By Peter Heller Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781984883261
Published: Random House Large Print - March 5th, 2019

Denver author Peter Heller is a master storyteller, and that talent is on full display in The River, his third novel since bursting onto the world literary scene in 2012 with his New York Times-bestselling debut, The Dog Stars.

Jack and Wynn have been best buddies since their first meeting during freshman orientation at Dartmouth. Wynn is a Vermont farm boy, hulking but sensitive, as likely lost in a book as in the hardwood forests of his native New England. Jack is a Colorado ranch kid to whom, in Wynn’s telling, “sleeping under the stars, cooking on a fire, were as natural as breathing.” Both love the outdoors – flyfishing, camping, and especially whitewater – and it’s in pursuit of these passions that we first encounter the boys on a late August canoe trip down the Maskwa River in northern Canada." ... Read MORE

The Feral Detective: A Novel By Jonathan Lethem Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062859068
Published: Ecco - November 6th, 2018

When writers and editors speak of “voice” in the context of fiction, they refer to stylistic qualities of attitude and personality an author employs to engage the reader, as conveyed through tone and word choice. A unique and powerful voice – think of Mattie Ross recounting her childhood travails in Charles Portis’ True Grit – can turn an otherwise mundane story into a riveting page-turner. A dull or flaccid voice, in contrast, can render even an international spy thriller into a soporific slog.

That brings us to Jonathan Lethem’s latest installment in an authorial oeuvre that includes The Fortress of Solitude, his 2003 New York Times bestseller, and Motherless Brooklyn, winner of the 1999 National Book Critics Circle Award, because with The Feral Detective, Lethem’s 11th novel, he demonstrates just how effectively a potent voice can combine with an engaging story to produce masterful fiction. MORE...

Who Is Vera Kelly? (A Vera Kelly Story #1) By Rosalie Knecht Cover Image
ISBN: 9781947793019
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Tin House Books - June 12th, 2018

What’s the recipe for a great summer novel? Page-turning suspense, for starters, and a plucky heroine for whom to root. Lyrical writing is a bonus, as are reversed roles and upended expectations. Mix in a Cold War setting and radical politics, garnish with an exotic locale and a dash of sexual frisson, and the result is a frosty cocktail guaranteed to quench even the most parched reader’s thirst for a satisfying dog-days diversion. MORE...