(Current fiction & past quality fiction)
Albuquerque readers have a chance to meet in person the author of the ever-expanding series of novels each labeled “An Allison Coil Mystery.” So far three such books have emerged from the imagination of Mark Stevens, who had worked previously for some good representatives of that dying breed called newspapers.
“Allison is a standout protagonist,” reported The Denver Post, a former employer of Stevens, when the first of the series sprung forth in 2007, titled “Antler Dust.” Stevens conjured her into the Colorado wilderness again in 2011 with “Buried by the Roan.”
Coil is not only a standout protagonist; she’s a vivacious wilderness guide, the kind James Bond would admire. She hasn’t lost a step on black bears nor even the lightning swift cougar. In fact in the latest Allison Coil Mystery titled “Trapline,” just published by Midnight Ink, Stevens lets Allison uncoil a bit:
The fingers took a tentative dip beneath her underwear and then he flattened his hand, the palm moving in slow circles. Warm fire bloomed inside her and she let out a moan. Colin flipped the covers back. She loved the sensation of being covered and gently smothered. Protected. The weight of him, somehow, added to what little she brought to the equation and she enjoyed the additional flesh like it was her own. He kissed her and she kissed back, hard. She felt even smaller in his embrace, loved the power in his shoulders. He leaned up and tugged down on the only bit of clothing she ever wore to bed. She reached down and grabbed him, hard like granite.
Copyright © Mark Stevens
In his news career, Stevens worked as a reporter for The Christian Science Monitor, The Rocky Mountain News, The Denver Post, and The MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour (PBS). By the time he arrives in Albuquerque for a book session at Bookworks, scheduled at 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 29, he will have already signed books at the publishing launch in Denver, Nov. 21 at Tattered Cover; Barnes & Noble in Loveland and at Barbed Wire Books in Longmont. Albuquerque’s Bookworks is located at 4022 Rio Grande Blvd. NW.
As many newspaper people move into books they tend to keep writing “tight” because they were inoculated with Who, What, When, Where and Why. That helps create good narrative. At the same time, after they have learned to “show” stories rather than “tell” a story, they have a tendency to slip into the Joel Friedlander-Jeff Walker school of thought where marketing is king and the author’s content is mere fodder for promotional marketing. Mark Stevens has written a fine tight narrative worth reading. He belongs to the Colorado Authors League which featured “Trapline”and quoted a review by Kirkus:
“Colorado’s stunningly beautiful Flat Tops Wilderness hides some nasty secrets … Allison’s third adventure (Buried by the Roan, 2011, etc.) combines a loving portrait of a beautiful area with an ugly, all-too-believable conspiracy that could have been ripped from today’s headlines.” – Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus has reviewed books since 1933. In today’s rapidly expanding offshoot to publishing’s merger mania, the independent author, or self-publisher, may be tempted to ask Kirkus for a review. Kirkus will oblige for a fee of $425 or, if a writer is in a hurry, $575. “Trapline” quotes a review by Kirkus on its cover:
“Allison’s third adventure combines a loving portrait of a beautiful area with an ugly, all-too-believable conspiracy that could have been ripped from today’s headlines.”
Mark Stevens’ books have hundreds of great reviews without reaching into an ethical swamp where questions might arise about promoting a book with a purchased review.
Ex-news reporters sometimes tend to reach out at the end of their stories for some universal truism and don’t always grasp it. Stevens is no exception, but Albuquerque readers should flock to Bookworks at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29 to meet Mark Stevens. He’s an author worth following.