Let me explain: our state already has our specific library shelf's full of truly great authors. Sherman Alexie, champion of Native American youthful voice, through novels like The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, is one of my personal favorites, and currently lives in Seattle. Others, like Frank Herbert, author of (in my personal opinion) the greatest science fiction epic of all time, Dune, hails from my own home city of Tacoma. We already know that some truly great authors are grown right here, in the best part of the PNW.
However, there's a distinct subset within that canon that stands out to me, in the mystery section of the library. Therefore, in an attempt to convince you, here are some of my favorite masters of intrigue, straight from our gorgeously green state!
TROUBLE IN TACOMA
Erik gets bonus points for his other projects, too, including the books The Little Book of Gold and The Little Book of Likes, nonfiction guides involving fundraising and social media (respectively) for small, nonprofit organizations, as well as his newest novel, The Lead Cloak, a science fiction adventure that debuts on October 15th (which is my birthday, in case anyone's forgotten).
**Also, Tacoma's elected officials get a second honorable mention of sorts with Mark Lindquist, City of Tacoma Prosecutor and part-time author, whose book The King of Methlehem (published by Simon and Schuster in 2007) is quite thrilling, but doesn't necessarily qualify as a straight-shot mystery to me. Still, he's got some serious resume: Sad Movies (1987, Atlantic Monthly Press), Carnival Desires (1990, Atlantic Monthly Press), and Never Mind Nirvana (2001, Random House) all did pretty well for themselves.
RAINY CITY SAVIOR
Mr. Emerson also writes the "Mack Fontana"series, as well as the "Fire Thrillers" series, taken from his time spent as a lieutenant with the Seattle Fire Department.
However, those aren't her only claim to mystery fame. Her "Alpine" series - starting with The Alpine Advocate in 1992, starring Emma Lord - has seen a total of 24 novels, set in the small town of Alpine, WA. Here's the catch: as of the time of her writing, the real Alpine no longer existed. She resurrected the town in her novels, and 2008, the old town itself was rediscovered... by a group who called themselves "the Alpine Advocates"! Talk about author loyalty.
She's also a University of Washington alumna, and was one of the first female editors of The Daily (the UW campus daily paper), which makes her one of the coolest people in the entire world, essentially. She was inducted into the UW Department of Communications Alumni Hall of Fame in 2008. Sounds like its time for a campus scavenger hunt, to me...
MAKE NO BONES ABOUT IT
Finally, we'll finish off the list with one of my absolute favorites: Aaron Elkins, author of one of my favorite mystery series in the whole world, starring Gideon Oliver, the Skeleton Detective, a forensic anthropologist from Washington. Technically, Elkins himself ISN'T from our lovely state, but he lives here now, in Sequim, and that's a good enough reason for me to take a moment to talk about a super awesome author.
"To Andrew - Here's to a skeleton in every closet. Aaron Elkins"
Elkins has now retired this hero with the 17th novel in the series, Dying on the Vine, released in 2012. However, that doesn't mean he's done writing: he has also produced the "Chris Nordgren" novels, as well as the "Lee Ofsted" series, and is currently working on the "Alix London" series, as well, which he writes with his wife, Charlotte. He has also produced three stand alone novels, called Loot, Turncoat, and The Worst Thing.