Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Allison Coil mystery series by Mark Stevens: A Review of Trapline

Instead of just talking about Colorado author Mark Stevens and his new release, Trapline, I want to give you a heads-up about the whole Allison Coil series. The first two books, Antler Dust and Buried by the Roan, have recently been re-released in anticipation of Trapline's publication by Midnight Ink. So that's the first good thing: You can purchase and read all of them in paperback or ebook.

The second good thing: This is a gripping mystery series set in beautiful Colorado. It's where Mark Stevens lives, and you can tell from the descriptions and plots that it's country he loves.

The third good thing:  The novels are well written, thought-provoking, and relevant to the issues of the day. In Antler Dust it's hunting regulations and animal rights. Buried by the Roan deals with drilling rights and fracking on the Roan Plateau. Trapline explores for-profit prisons, small companies that hire immigrant workers, and the evil bunch that hunts humans for sport.

Throughout the series, hunting guide Allison Coil zeroes in on a murder and is pulled into the environmental, political, and social issues as she investigates.

To focus a little more on Trapline, note that I read the novel as an advance review e-copy through Net Galley. The issues are big and the solutions complicated, so this is not a novel you'd want for a superficial fast read. We need to think about these issues as we read about them.

The presence of newspaper reporter Duncan Bloom, Allison's friend Trudy and love interest Colin, round out a cast of good guys trying to figure out the answers to a whole slew of problems. You can't help but like all of these characters and identify with their concerns.

Trapline opens with the discovery of a body in the woods. Part of the corpse is missing, but what remains appears to be chewed up. Was the man killed by a mountain lion? Allison is not sure that conclusion is supported by the evidence. When an outspoken political candidate is killed by a sniper at a campaign stop near by, the investigation becomes much more complicated.

I'm not about to spoil the rest of the story for you, so that's all you get here. I highly recommend Trapline as well as the whole Allison Coil series.

You can read more of the plot descriptions for all three books at Stevens' website. You might also enjoy reading his blog, Don't Need a Diagram, where he focuses on book reviews and occasional author interviews. Follow Mark on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

by Mark Stevens
Midnight Ink, November 8, 2014
ISBN-13:  978-0738741642
Purchase on
or Barnes & Noble

"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."  ---  Kirkus Reviews


Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I enjoy books that are more complicated than simple heat of the moment murder. Good luck to Mark.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like a really interesting series, Pat. Thanks for sharing. And the richest storylines are always complicated anyway...

Eileen Goudge said...

Sold! Just downloaded Antler's Dust based on your recommendation. The sample chapter hooked me.