Details: Softcover, 348 pages, 5.5 x 8.5.
Publisher: People’s Press
Author: Mark Stevens
An Allison Coil Mystery
|Author signed copies available|
The spark for Buried by the Roan is a dead hunter on the shore of Oyster Lake, deep in the Flat Tops Wilderness. Josh Keating’s demise could be a case of a hunter drinking too much and stumbling late at night. Or it could be something much worse. Plenty of other strange things are going on to make hunting guide Allison Coil think the death is no accident. Someone is lurking around, leaving odd notes and maps. Hunters and guides are turning up violently ill from drinking the Flat Tops water. Four of the buffalo on Keating’s ranch are slaughtered. And there’s word that Keating and his neighbor were tangled up in a property dispute triggered by a centuries-old doctrine known as adverse possession. The future of the way of life in the rugged Colorado mountains is at stake. Allison finds the killer’s trail but doesn’t avoid being trapped in the simple but wicked device that murdered her client.
The 64th episode of the Reading and Writing podcast features an interview with Mark Stevens, author of BURIED BY THE ROAN, the latest mystery novel featuring Alison Coil and rich with the Colorado setting. Click here to download the episode.read more
Allison Coil used to be a city girl until an airplane accident helped her re-evaluate her priorities. Now she lives a completely different sort of life. She tracks game, builds fires and lives in a cabin.
Coil, whom readers met in Antler Dust, is a self-sufficient hunting guide. In the first story, she investigated two murders in the Colorado Flat Tops Wilderness and discovered, as in the plot of any good murder mystery, that things weren’t as they seemed.
Stevens will be in Loveland on Saturday to sign copies of his books.read more
Antler Dust, the first in the Allison Coil series, is an excellent debut for Mark Stevens. The writing is flawless. Stevens even-handedly handles the issues of hunting from both the pro and con viewpoints. As for Antler Dust, it is definitely in the “con” category, an example of the lengths some people will go to make a buck — or a lot of bucks. The setting is vividly described, letting the reader experience both the beauty and the danger of the wilderness in winter. Allison has her flaws, but she demonstrates the resilience of the human spirit.read more
Mark Stevens does a few things extremely well. First – he cares about his characters… And that is the other thing Mark does right – he makes you care about the Roan and the Flat Tops. He describes them in ways that make you ache to see them.read more
“Coil is sharp, and Stevens is a great story teller,” notes the Ft. Collins Coloradoan.
Mystery fans can delight in Mark Stevens who has authored Antler Dust and Buried by the Roan. Stevens is a seasoned journalist and public relations pro who has created a Colorado-based crime fiction series featuring Allison Coil, a hunting guide who works in a wilderness area north of Glenwood Springs.
Stevens used his know-how to create these two page-turners. Antler Dust opens on the first day of hunting season in the Flat Tops Wilderness area when two hunters are missing.
Buried by the Roan begins when a body of a hunter is found on the shore of Oyster Lake deep within the same wilderness. Coil is sharp, and Stevens is a great story teller. Read one, and you’ll be hooked. It is highly recommended reading. The books are available at all booksellers.read more
Drinking the water
About six months after Antler Dust hit bookshelves, Stevens’ former employer, the now-defunct Rocky, published a 13-part series called “Beyond the boom.” Its focus was the growth in natural gas drilling and exploration in western Colorado, and the controversy over the natural gas extraction method known as fracking. Stevens was intrigued by all the information and energized to begin the next book in his series.
In Buried by the Roan, fracking becomes the backdrop for a story involving a dead hunter, a character named Devo “who has moved up to the woods to prove to the rest of the world that mankind needs to devolve,” and outdoorsmen who are becoming ill as a result of drinking the Flat Tops water.
He’s a little hesitant when asked about his personal opinions on fracking — perhaps a holdover from years of mainstream news reporting. Yet once Stevens does get rolling, his voice betrays a passion. He talks about the Environmental Protection Agency and how it once said fracking was OK, and now is pursuing more thorough analysis. He touches on the process and how it’s “tearing up prime woods and prime wilderness.”
And as he does in Buried by the Roan, he considers the people.read more
The fate of Colorado’s Roan Plateau and the controversy over energy development are at the heart of the new mystery by Stevens.read more
Review by Dennis Webb
Monday, August 15, 2011
Colorado writer Mark Stevens clearly has an affinity for the leading character in his two mystery novels.
That holds true whether you consider that character to be hunting guide Allison Coil or the Flat Tops Wilderness Area where she plies her trade and solves murders on the side.
Stevens introduced Coil and her beloved hunting grounds north of Glenwood Springs in his 2006 book “Antler Dust.” Now he’s back with a sequel, “Buried by the Roan,” which is being released this month.
Once again, he’s conjured up a suspenseful tale featuring an easy-to-like protagonist and a landscape Stevens clearly knows well, and treasures.
In his sequel, this former newspaper reporter and television news producer works in a number of ripped-from-the-headlines plot drivers. Most notable among them is natural gas development, its use of hydraulic fracturing, and associated groundwater-contamination concerns in western Colorado.
Stevens weaves the controversy over federal government action regarding gas leasing on the Roan Plateau west of the Flat Tops into the narrative — not to mention the book’s title. But in truth it’s somewhat of an ancillary part of this story. The book’s strength isn’t in its handling of the nation’s debate over gas drilling, but in showing how when it comes to environmental causes, people on all sides of an issue can be driven to extremes in pursuing their agendas.
The time is around now, the place is Rio Blanco County, and the setting includes gas drilling, environmental zealotry, lust and murder. The book, “Buried By The Roan,” by Denver-based writer Mark Stevens, is a mystery, first and foremost. The protagonist, a backcountry guide named Allison Coil, finds herself with a dead client and a set of highly questionable circumstances surrounding the death. She also learns that someone is stalking her small group of clients and outfitters, for undetermined purposes…
Stevens, a former writer for the Denver Post, has visited the Roaring Fork Valley region for years.
“I just really thought that the whole changing landscape, the controversy over hydraulic fracturing, was a good backdrop for a story,” he said.
He has definitely not tried to impose his own political interpretations and ideals onto the story, as might be expected.
“I really don’t believe, when you pick up a book, you want to be lectured to,” he said.read more
In his second mystery novel, Buried by the Roan, Colorado writer Mark Stevens tells a “ripped from the headlines” story involving natural gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The story is set in and around the Roan Plateau area between Glenwood Springs and Meeker, a landscape that has seen its fair share of controversy over oil and gas development.read more
The writing is crisp, the plot is intricate, and the description of the scenery takes the reader into the beautiful mountains. Both the level of tension and the weather worsen as the stakes get higher. When Allison is struggling to survive, the reader will shiver even if he or she is sitting on the beach: it is that realistic. The characters are well-defined and three-dimensional. The release date is August 2011, and the subject matter couldn’t be more timely. If you’ve wondered what all this frenzy over natural gas and fracking is about, you’ll find your answer here. Mr. Stevens has written an excellent mystery, and I look forward to the next volume in the series.read more
A December interview with Aspen Public Radio reporter Luke Runyon: http://www.aspenpublicradio.org/news_archive_detail.php?story=8997read more
“This American Life” Reportread more
Advance commentary from writers is starting to roll in.read more
Brand new review & what it meansread more
Buried by the Roan: what is it about?read more