Former Durango Police captain releases new mystery

Arts & Entertainment

Former Durango Police captain releases new mystery

Former Durango Police captain releases new mystery

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A conversation with author Micki Browning

Q: What made you decide to create a new main character after your success with “Adrift” and “Beached”?
A: I always knew I’d one day write a police procedural, but after I retired from law enforcement, I needed to decompress a bit. After I’d completed “Beached,” a third Mer Cavallo story was already percolating, but when I sat down at the computer, it was the characters of “Shadow Ridge” that demanded my attention.
Q: Why did you change most of the place names of Durango, while you used Animas for the town’s river running through it?
A: I wanted to be able to place Echo Valley on a map and reference surrounding towns and landscapes. To do so, I took a page from Sue Grafton’s playbook and replaced a real city with a fictional one. In addition to the Animas River, the Echo Valley Police Department is located in close proximity to downtown, and there is a historical avenue of Victorian homes, but the similarities end with the setting – none of my characters are based upon any real people. Besides, why would any mystery writer want to rename a waterway dubbed the River of Lost Souls?
Q: Quinn Kirkwood is a difficult character. How did she evolve?
A: I’d read an article regarding the pushback that female gamers – particularly those who participated in multiplayer games or game development – experienced from a vocal subset of mostly male gamers who weaponized the internet and targeted women who didn’t conform to their ideals of who a gamer should be. I wanted to explore those issues. Quinn – a woman with no filters, a lot of baggage and more than a few secrets – was born.
Q: The internet and video games play a large role in the plot. How difficult and how long did it take you to gain the knowledge you aptly portrayed in the book?
A: My experience with gaming is limited to the early days of Dungeons & Dragons, so I had to put in time researching the current industry. Creating a large-scale game goes far beyond coding and in many ways is similar to creating a film. Everyone has their specialty and expertise – writers, world builders, content and system designers, and more. I spent more time researching online behavior and the formation of hate mobs.
Q: Is there anything else more involving the creating of “Shadow Ridge” that you’d like to share with readers?
A: Part of the joy of reading a book is the discovery of what lies hidden between the lines – and everyone’s experiences determine how they will interpret the same event. In the end, when the last word is read and the book is closed, I hope readers believe Jo is exactly the cop they’d want to respond if they ever needed help.
Q: Are we correct in assuming there will be another book featuring Jo in the future?
A: Thank you for asking, yes! Readers will reconnect with Jo a couple of months after the close of “Shadow Ridge” when she’s called out to investigate a missing child.
Leslie Doran

If you go

What: Local author Mandy Mikulencak will interview author Micki (M.E.) Browning about her new mystery series set in Colorado.

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: Online on Zoom at

More information: Visit or call Maria’s Bookshop at 247-1438.