Thursday, September 1, 2011

Fall is Best By Margaret Coel, author of today's book review: The Perfect Suspect!

A special treat today!  Author Margaret Coel, The Perfect Suspect, has written a blog post for the Dew.  Please make sure to pop on over to the Book Review section and check out her book.

Fall is Best
By Margaret Coel

Hemingway captured my feelings exactly when he wrote an epitaph for a friend that began, “Best of all he loved the fall.”   I have always loved fall best.  There is a coolness in the early morning before the summer heat reasserts itself, and the leaves on the aspens outside my window look as if they might burst into golds and reds at any moment. It will be a while before the leaves actually change and fall is upon us, of course, but the days bring a delicious sense of  anticipation.   I loved September when I was a kid because it meant school was starting, and I really loved school. By late August I would be giddy with anticipation,  notebooks and pencils all lined up and ready for my new adventures, new things to learn, new people to meet.

Fall still means new things are coming.  I will be heading out soon on a short book tour for my new book, The Perfect Suspect, coming on September 6, and I’m as giddy as that kid with her notebooks and pencils all ready to go.  I can’t wait to visit again with readers who have followed my novels through the years, meet new readers, and catch up on the news with folks who run bookstores that feel like home, they are so familiar to me.

Of course I’m a little nervous about how people will like the second novel in my new series set in Denver and featuring investigative reporter, Catherine McLeod.  On her first outing, in Blood Memory, Catherine was a big hit with both reviewers and readers, which explains why she’s back for another whirl about Denver, my hometown, a city I know and love.  Denver is a major character in the novel, a role that settings always play in my novels. In my Wind River series, Father John O’Malley and Vicky Holden are challenged by the vast open expanses of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming, the burning, windy summers, the winter temperatures that plunge into scary regions and the blizzards that can blur reality and make it seem as if the world is ending.  Settings mean conflict, and conflict is the beating heart of any story. 

For Catherine, the Denver character she confronts is lullingly beautiful, a city of sunshine, art, sidewalk cafes, musicians on the 16th Street Mall and flowers everywhere.  And always the  jaw-droppingly spectacular mountains on the western horizon.  Oh, yes, there is murder, in the most unlikely and safe-seeming places, which to me makes murder even more horrific since it is so unexpected and comes when people don’t have their guard up.  Why should they?  Who would murder a popular politician sure to be Colorado’s next governor in a mansion in an upscale and always safe neighborhood? Well, usually safe.  To get to the bottom of things, Catherine must confront the city’s streets and neighborhoods that tourists don't suspect exist and probe secrets the city would prefer to keep. 

So fall means that Catherine and I are both off on new adventures. But fall means endings as well as beginnings.  It means change, and change surrounds us big time, especially in the book business.  Since last fall, bookstores where authors have signed books for years have closed. The Mystery Bookstore in LA, for example, and Murder by the Book in Denver.  Yet sometimes beginnings can be teased out of endings.  It isn’t easy to deter true lovers of books from getting books into the hands of readers, which is why Murder by the Book, like High Crimes, a Boulder mystery bookstore that closed its doors in recent years, still do business online.  And both stores host authors for signings at interesting locations.  For High Crimes, I’ll be signing books in a store that sells rare rugs, art and antiquities in Longmont, Colorado. What a perfect place!  Piles of gorgeous rugs on the floor, paintings on the walls, and sculptures and artifacts everywhere.  Many are Native American, the ideal backdrop for my series of novels on the Arapahos.

And, yes, Catherine McLeod is also Arapaho, probably because I love writing about the unique, rich culture of this Plains Indian tribe.  Unlike Vicky Holden and other Arapaho characters in my Wind River series, Catherine grew up in Denver in a white family.  She is at the beginning of finding her way into her own culture.  Off on a new adventure and, I imagine, giddy with anticipation for all that lies ahead.  

Did I mention that The Perfect Suspect is set in the fall?