Former Durango Police Department Capt. Micki Browning has a new novel out that should appeal to many Durango readers. After retiring, Browning moved to Florida and wrote her first two novels featuring amateur detective Mer Cavallo. Now, with the book, “Shadow Ridge,” Browning moves the action to Echo Valley, which turns out to be Durango in disguise.
Jo Wyatt is a town native and a second-generation member of the local police force. She’s recently separated and trying to get ahead in a male-dominated field. Wyatt has a keen sense of the history of town, including who are the important people in town and the local college.
The story opens with Wyatt arriving at the scene of an apparent suicide of a college student. A classmate, Quinn, discovered the body. This death sends a ripple through the community, especially because Tye, the deceased, was a well-known video game creator. Quinn is especially hit hard because the final game design her group, including Tye, was working on is missing. She needs it so she can graduate and leave the winter weather of Echo Valley.
Complicating the case, Quinn is getting threatening emails because of her success in the gaming field. This is another predominantly male field where females are subjected to all forms of harassment. While Wyatt can commiserate with her, Quinn is hard to like, and it takes some time for Wyatt to realize that the threats are real. The emails are hard to trace and Wyatt’s internet sleuthing skills are almost nonexistent.
While Wyatt and her partner Squint follow leads, the “accidental” body count climbs. As the trail twists and turns, the final truth shakes the whole community.
Browning has created a great cast of characters and put them in a setting that will be familiar to Durangoans. The creative plot will entice all readers. There is also a lot of fascinating information about multiplayer video games, spoofing and internet safety. Winter’s coming, and this is a great book to curl up by a fire and enjoy.
Leslie Doran is a retired teacher, freelance writer and former New Mexican who claims Durango as her forever home.