“Trapline”: Get Caught Up with Allison Coil

“Trapline”: Get Caught Up with Allison Coil

Mark Stevens latest title is a finalist for the 2015 Colorado Book Award  Trapline Cover with Kirkus Quote

It’s impossible to read Trapline, Mark Stevens’ third book in the Allison Coil mystery series, and not be ensnared. Trapline is more than just a carefully wrought murder mystery—it’s also an unflinching portrayal of the New West, examining the issues of immigration and farming and hunting in a vivid tableau that is as grand and colorful as the Roan Plateau of Colorado in which the story is set.

Readers will also get caught up with the characters.

The tequila-drinking, savvy protagonist Allison Coil is a hunting outfitter and horsewoman who defies stereotyping. Duncan Bloom is the quintessential newspaper reporter, underpaid and overworked and insatiably curious. Trudy Heath is Allison’s best friend, and has evolved throughout the series from a timid housewife with a green thumb into a successful natural foods entrepreneur/activist. Author Mark Stevens , also a regular contributor to Telluride Inside… and Out, moves deftly between the perspectives of each character to weave the story, and still manages to keep the narrative pace at a gallop, making the book hard to put down—one of those delicious reads that keeps you up all night with a headlamp to finish it.

The plot revolves around two seemingly very different murders: the grisly scene of an animal attack in the wilderness and the assassination of a would-be Senator on the campaign trail in Glenwood Springs. Of course they’re related somehow, and as the story unfolds, the book moves between the natural beauty of the Roan and the urban political landscape, between Allison’s rides in the wilderness on horseback and Duncan’s investigation on the city streets and in the virtual world of the Internet. The fulcrum between these two worlds and these two murders is the issue of immigration, and the author takes a very realistic and human look at the migrant workers in Colorado and the people who prey on them. The story has a strange ring of authenticity, like it could have been an investigative piece in the actual news.

They say “truth is stranger than fiction,” but with Trapline, it feels like Mark Stevens has managed to capture the bizarre complexities of real life in the modern West. A landscape divided between the wealthy and their mansions and estates, struggling undocumented workers living in trailer parks, the naturalists and their organic farms and wilderness areas, and the socio-political implications of such diversity. Yet Trapline is more than just an accurate depiction of the New West, it’s also an engaging whodunit. And like all great mysteries, this one will have you guessing and flipping the pages until you reach the end.

Congratulations to Mark Stevens—Trapline is a finalist for the 2015 Colorado Book Award.



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