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Addicted to Reading Mystery Series

When I first started writing, I tried a mystery series starring Sylvia Thorn and Willie Grisseljon, a sister and brother who were older. In their 60s, as a matter of fact. Their elderly parents are still alive and active as well. Writing The Prairie Grass Murders and The Desert Hedge Murders was fun, but I wanted to try a thriller, and historical fiction, and short stories, so off I went to dabble in a variety of genres.

I also read in almost every genre, including non-fiction, but when I’m looking for mysteries, I start with my go-to favorites among the authors of the Rocky Mountain states, most of them in Colorado. With all the excellent writers here, one hardly needs to search anywhere else in the country. I couldn’t begin to mention them all in one blog post, so I’m going to talk about just a few of the ones I’ve read in 2020. My want-to-read list for 2021 is is even longer.

Shannon Baker

Shannon lives in Arizona these days, but she spent lots of time in the state of Colorado and still has ties to this beautiful state. Among her fine protagonists in series and standalones, my favorite Is Michaela Sanchez of the Southwest Crime Thrillers. Book 1 in the series is Echoes in the Sand. Michaela has a husband and kids, plus siblings with whom she shares emotional ups and downs because of their conflicting ideologies. Being a Border Control Agent is not the easiest job in the world. Read more about Shannon and her books at her website. She can also be found on Facebook

Donnell Ann Bell

Donnell has published other books, but the one I want to mention here is Black Pearl, the first in a new series called Cold Case Suspense. This new release features some very fine crime-fighting characters who work awfully well together, considering their varied jobs and past experiences. Donnell can sometimes be found in Colorado, and other times in New Mexico, but she’s a member of Sisters-in-Crime-Colorado among others. For more information about Donnell and her books, please visit her website. Find her on Facebook as well.

 Sue Hinkin

Sue writes the Vega and Middleton series, the most recent called The Burn Patient. But you don’t want to start with book 3. This is a series you’ll enjoy even more if you start with book 1, Deadly Focus. I love the diversity in Sue’s characters and the thriller-worthy page-turning quality of her writing. This reporter and photographer combination of protagonists is excellent. Sue’s website says she’s a Denver resident and a member of many, many writing organizations. She can be found on Facebook (where I learned that the second book in this series won the 2020 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award). 

Jennifer Kincheloe

What can I say about the charming and often laugh-out-loud-funny adventures of Anna Blanc, Jennifer’s female police officer in 1908 Los Angeles? I love the character and the unusual cases she gets involved in. And some of the messes she gets into are priceless. This is another series I suggest you read starting with Book 1, The Secret Life of Anna Blanc. Learn more about this Denver author on her website.  Her Facebook author page will keep you up-to-date with author and book news.

Margaret Mizushima

Margaret is practically a neighbor up here in Northern Colorado and she’s one of the authors who helps keep our Sisters-in-Crime-Colorado book clubs going strong. Margaret writes the Timber Creek K9 mystery series which features Deputy Mattie Cobb and her dog Robo. There’s a handsome veterinarian with young children to help keep Mattie occupied when she’s not busy with police work, not to mention an estranged family to complicate her life with unanswered questions from her past. I always look forward to the next book in this 6-going-on-7-book series, but for your best experience, start with Book 1, Killing Trail. You can learn more about Margaret and her series at her website.  She is also on Facebook.

Barbara Nickless

Blood on the Tracks is the first book in the Sydney Rose Parnell series about a railroad cop and her K9 partner, Clyde. The plotting in Barbara’s series is especially notable because of ties to Sydney’s background in the Iraq War. I recently read book 2. Books 3 and 4 are on my must-read-soon list. Learn more about this author and series at Barbara’s website.  She can also be found on Facebook.


To find more of the amazing Rocky Mountain area mystery writers, visit the website for Sisters-in-Crime-Colorado and Rocky Mountain Mystery Writers of America.  

Pat (Patricia) Stoltey is the author of four novels published by Five Star/Cengage: two amateur sleuth, one thriller that was a finalist for a Colorado Book Award in 2015, and the historical mystery Wishing Caswell Dead (December 20, 2017), a finalist for the 2018 Colorado Book Awards. This novel is now available in a large print edition, ebook and trade paperback. Her short story, “Good Work for a Girl,” appeared in the Five Star Anthology, The Spoilt Quilt and Other Frontier Stories: Pioneering Women of the West, released in November 2019.

Pat lives in Northern Colorado with her husband Bill, Scottish Terrier Sassy, and brown tabby Katie Cat.

You can learn more about Pat at her website/blog, on Facebook, and Twitter. She was interviewed for the Colorado Sun’s SunLit feature that you can find at the Colorado Sun website.


  1. I loved reading about these authors that I'd never heard about. Even though I haven't read mysteries in years, I'm tempted to read a couple of these. Thank you for sharing, Pat. :-)

    1. I did even more reading of mysteries than usual in 2020. They're such a great escape.

  2. The one with the K-9 sounds interesting.

  3. I've read The Black Pearl and enjoyed it. In fact, I've read a number of Donnell's books, met her, and call her a friend. The others sound like I need to do some exploring.


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