Sunday, May 27, 2007

THE BLIGHT WAY & AVALANCHE by Patrick McManus (Simon & Schuster)

Stuck in a doctor's waiting room about 20 years ago, I idly leafed through a "Field and Stream" magazine trying to find something to fill the time. An article's title struck me as vaguely funny, so I began reading. In that few moments, I was hooked. I wrote the name Patrick F. McManus in my Palm Pilot and began searching for anything he had written. I devoured every book of outdoor essays and read them aloud to anyone who would listen.

Later, I drove an hour to hear him speak at a booksigning. The store was packed. He was an hour late but nobody left. We knew, from reading his books, that he'd probably gotten lost.

When I learned he'd moved on to write mysteries, I immediately ordered them from Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. Meeting Sheriff Bo Tully was much like being introduced to an old friend. Once again, I reveled in being in the wild Rocky Mountains with a competent yet self-deprecating guide. Even as I laughed aloud, I appreciated the strength of the story-telling and the skill of dropping clues and placing red herrings. Welcome to the mystery world, Mr. McManus!

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