By Kathy Crabtree | CNA Media Team
A mystery set in a fictional national park filled with native folklore, vivid scenery and political intrigue is a perfect read for a rainy day in the Northwest.
In “Deadly Bluff,” local author Kathleen Cocannon’s heroine park ranger, Dana Madison, leads a mismatched team attempting to decipher clues of connected deaths at multiple national park sites.
Even more baffling is the fact the deaths have spanned multiple years. In a recent interview, Kathleen explained the addition of several separate chapters of historical significance by including Teddy Roosevelt’s influence on her story.
“President Roosevelt is considered the founder of the national park system. As a conservationist myself, I wanted to honor his creation and acknowledge his preservation of the sacred lands of the Northwest tribes.”
While the actions of the team lead the reader closer to solving the mystery, it is the descriptive scenes that capture the imagination. In every chapter there is evidence of Kathleen’s appreciation for the beauty of mountain trails.
As Dana hikes the footpaths, it is as if the reader is beside her, sharing her thoughts. Kathleen admits to having run a few miles of trails in her youth and continues to walk them whenever given the chance.
The book’s premise that heroine Dana was a Denver detective before becoming a national park ranger is something that Kathleen admits was not part of her wheelhouse of knowledge.
Having never been a policewoman, or a ranger, she credits a desire to emulate the strengths she admires in herself and other women. Although Dana is decisive, she is vulnerable – having endured previous struggles leading her to question her budding relationship with Dodge, one of the park carpenters.
That attraction complicates separating the good guys from the villains. Readers will commiserate with her as they, too, will question whom to trust as the story progresses.
Kathleen meets with a group of writers every couple weeks to critique and review each other’s work. She credits their support and includes them in the book’s acknowledgements.
Several years ago she had an agent marketing a previous novel and, although close to a contract, it didn’t materialize.
She self-published this book and credits the Northwest Independent Writers Association with decreasing the learning curve related to that effort.
Will there be more adventures of Dana’s team, including the attractive Dodge? She nodded. “I’m sure there will be.”
“The Deadly Bluff” is available at Amazon.com.
Kathy Crabtree lives near Fernhill Park and enjoys the constant flow of dogs happily on their way to romp off leash. In real life she is a nursing professor. In her dreams she is the creator of a series of mystery adventures of a retired female lawyer/judge of a certain age – to be named at a latter date. Contact her at KCrabtree4320@att.net.