IMAGE/FRANK X. MULLEN: Nevada authors have been busy during the pandemic penning a variety of fiction and non-fiction books.

The pandemic hasn’t stopped authors from spinning new tales, but with book tours, most signing events and literary gatherings on hold, scribblers face a challenge when it comes to introducing readers to new works.

Even so, with social events curtailed, people are reportedly reading more books than usual during the contagion. Readers who enjoy tales of the Silver State have a long shelf of new works to choose from.

Here’s a look at some of the latest fiction and non-fiction offerings from authors who hail from – or write about – the Silver State.

Non-fiction

“Saints, Sinners, and Sovereign Citizens: The Endless War over the West’s Public Lands” by John L. Smith (2021) Veteran Nevada journalist and columnist John L. Smith  has been covering Nevada and Las Vegas for decades. His latest book centers on the grazing rights battle between Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and the federal government. The conflict resulted in a tense, armed standoff between Bundy’s supporters and federal law enforcement officers that garnered international media attention in 2014.

 “Saints, Sinners, and Sovereign Citizens” places the Bundy conflict into the larger context of the Sagebrush Rebellion and the long struggle over the use of federal public lands in the American West.  Kindle and hardcover available on Amazon.

“The Nature of Lake Tahoe “ by Peter Goin (2021). Reno author and photographer Peter Goin notes that while the Sierra Nevada contains three national parks, 20 wilderness areas, and two national monuments, Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America, is its crown jewel. A premier destination for tourists and environmentalists and the traditional home of the Washoe people, the history of Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Basin is a complex mixture of geology, conquest and resettlement, industry, adventure, and grand vistas. Preserving this rich history through an extensive collection of archival images, Goin presents a photographic history of the Tahoe Basin over a 100-year period in “The Nature of Lake Tahoe.” The volume contains more than 200 duotone and color photos that showcase Tahoe’s elemental identity, including photographs never before reproduced and large-scale panoramic landscapes that appear in visually stunning gatefolds. The hardcover available at Sundance Books and on Amazon.

 “David Toll’s Nevada: A 50-year tour of the most interesting state in America” by David Toll. (2021) The book is an  anthology of popular author David Toll’s writing about the Silver State over the last 50 years. The anthology features tales that appeared in Nevada Magazine, websites and newspapers including the Gold Hill News and from Toll’s classic, “The Complete Nevada Traveler.” It’s available online at the Nevada Bookstore.

“Abandoned Nevada” by Susan Tatterson (2020) Almost a century before Las Vegas became Nevada’s glittering jewel in the desert, the state was at the center of a history-making mining stampede: first silver and then gold, two of the Earth’s most sought-after precious metals. Tatterson documents some of the towns and sites that were established almost overnight and abandoned as quickly once the riches were exhausted. Miners and residents moved from one gold strike to the next, settling and then unsettling the state; some towns survived and remain as semi-inhabited time capsules of another era, while others have crumbled back into the desert. Paperback on Amazon.

“Nevada Times in Rhymes” by Jerry Aaron.  Explore Nevada’s history with Jerry Aaron’s new book of poetry. This volume contains 68 poems with more than 200 colorful illustrations that will augment the storyline as the readers travel across the Sagebrush State. Aaron, a Sparks resident who is retired from a career in the trucking industry, has traveled across the Great Basin for more than a half century.
​ Interacting with the people of Nevada fueled a respect for the history of those who tackled the harsh living conditions of the desert West. Aaron’s previous books include  “A Chronicle of Nevada’s Great Basin” and “Nevada’s Teamsters Truckers and Truck Stops.”  All are available on Arron’s website.

Fiction

“Dark Ride Deception” by Mark Bacon (2021). “Dark Ride” is Reno author Mark Bacon’s fourth thriller in his Nostalgia City series. The novel centers on a computer genius who developed some mind-bending technology, but has vanished before his invention is installed at a 1970’s-themed amusement park. Is the genius dead? On the run? And where is his breath-taking, billion-dollar discovery, the Perception Deception Effect?

 Cop-turned-cab-driver Lyle Deming and his partner, Kate Sorensen, search for answers from the arid West to humid Florida as Lyle goes undercover using a parade of false identities to infiltrate behind-the-scenes operations at other theme parks. “Bacon’s well-told mystery is clever, smooth, and intriguing, with a reluctant detective who has just the right touch of self-deprecating humor. The author’s wry wit and engaging voice will keep you turning the pages of “Dark Ride Deception” until the very last satisfying twist,” says Mary Adler, author of the Oliver Wright WWII mystery series.

“Death in Nostalgia City,” the first book in this series, was recommended for book clubs by the American Library Association and was an award winner at the San Francisco Book Festival. Other books in the series include  “The Marjuana Murders” and “Desert Kill Switch.”  All are available on  author’s Website and Amazon.

“Heart-Work” by Patti Doty (2021) After a long history of making bad decisions and running away from her problems, Quinn DeMello still doesn’t seem to have learned her lesson. As her beloved triplets’ twenty-first birthday approaches, she’s called them all home to Unionville, Nevada, where Quinn’s past is finally catching up with her. Something’s clearly wrong here, and her family wants answers. Her previous books include “Runaway,” “McClean’s Heart” and “Finding Home.” Sadly, “Heart-Work” is the last of the Doty’s books. The Nevada author  completed it shortly before her death this year. Paperbacks available on Amazon.

“48 Hours to Kill” by Andrew Bourelle (2021) Bourelle, a former Nevada journalist, tells the story of a  prison inmate on furlough who learns a terrible secret about his sister’s mysterious death — and descends back into the criminal underworld to uncover the truth. Author James Patterson says “48 hours to Kill” is “the best thriller I’ve read all year.” It’s available online at Penguin Random House. Kindle, audio book and print copies on Amazon.

“Tahoe Jade” by Todd Borg (2021)  “Tahoe Jade”  is the local author’s latest entry in his addictive Owen McKenna thrillers  available at Sundance Books and Music in Reno. Borg has penned 19 McKenna novels so far, all set in the beauty and mystery of the mountain lake.

Trekking the Silver State

Nevada Bucket List Adventure Guide: Explore 100 Offbeat Destinations You Must Visit!” by Alex Woods (2021). Traveling to Nevada is unlike any other adventure you crossed off your bucket list, says author Alex Woods. It’s “the ultimate dreamland for adventurous spirits whose souls crave a deep connection with nature, with picturesque landscapes that’ll leave you breathless.” The book, of interest to visitors and Nevada residents alike, features locations from Las Vegas to the Oregon-Idaho border and  the California state  line. The tour includes historical sites like the Rhyolite Ghost Town and wonders like the Lehman Caves. Available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon.

“Secret Reno: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure” by Janice Oberding (2021).  What is Reno’s connection to Mount Rushmore? How can you participate in a real-life cattle drive, see a shrunken head, or sip a glass of Picon punch in the midst of poltergeists? “Secret Reno” is a guide to some of the Biggest Little City’s secrets and lesser-known adventures. Oberding specializes in Nevada stories on ghosts and hauntings. She has written more than a dozen books about paranormal activities in places such as Tonopah, Highway 50, Lake Tahoe, Virginia City and, of course, Las Vegas and Reno. She is also the author of several novels, most with Nevada themes. Her Kindle and paperback editions are available on Amazon.

 “They Came to the West: Tales of the Migration and Settling of the American West from the Cave Man to the Industrial Revolution” by Lloyd Shanks (2021). Shanks’ latest novel is imaginative historical fiction that takes readers on a trip through time in the American West from Paleo-Indians to the Industrial Revolution. Shanks, formerly of Hidden Valley, also is the author of “Walking With Mustangs.” His latest book is  available on Amazon.

More new Nevada titles

Brian Crane – the Reno creator of the beloved syndicated comic strip, “Pickles,” Crane was an art director at a Reno advertising agency before he started drawing cartoons. Today, he is a national favorite with readers around the country for his “Pickles” syndicated series. Crane’s books, including his latest, “Volume One: The Hijinks of Muffin & Roscoe Volume One: 1990-2007″ are available at Sundance Books and Music in Reno and on Amazon.

Kathy Baldock of Reno is author, LGBTQ advocate, international speaker and educator, and executive director of CanyonWalker Connections. Baldock, author of “Walking the Bridgeless Canyon,” is a leading expert on LGBTQ issues in the United States, especially dealing with historical and current discrimination faced from the socially-conservative Christian church and political sector.

Baldock’s latest book, “Forging a Sacred Weapon:  How the Bible Became Anti-Gay,” co-authored with Ed Oxford, is the result of a four-year research project. The book is scheduled to be published in Spring 2022, with pre-orders available online. Formats include paperback, eBook, and audiobook editions followed by a discussion guide and a translation to Spanish in late 2022. An accompanying documentary  “1946” will release on as yet undetermined platforms. 

Bill Brown, a retired Reno television anchor, also is a prolific novelist and filmmaker. His thrillers and horror novels feature Nevada themes and include “Blood Mountain,” “The Alien,” “The Beast,” “Gabriel’s Horn,” “The Ghost Within,” and his latest, “It Waits.”  All are available by emailing bill.loboscoast@gmail.com.

Mark Curtis, Jr. spent more than three decades as an advertising agency owner and creative director based in Reno, handling a range of clients around the nation. In addition, he was very active in the city’s various art and cultural movements, authoring “Reno: A Fabled City Finds Its Soul.” His most recent work, “One Of A Kind,” is a coffee-table book, a compendium of stories about Northern Nevada by numerous local guest authors. It’s available online from the National Automobile Museum.

Jack Harpster is a Reno historian who has written a number of books of local interest, including biographies of IGT Founder “Si” Redd (“King of Slots”) and Lake Tahoe pioneer Duane Bliss (“Lumber Baron of the Comstock Lode”). His books, including “The Curious Life of Nevada’s Lavere Redfield: The Silver Dollar King,” are available at Sundance books and on Amazon.

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