Nevada’s rolling mountains and desert vistas have been the setting for countless novels, nonfiction books and short-story collections.
This year, the state’s authors have added a long addendum to the state’s bibliography. They’ve been busy turning out novels, memoirs and short-story collections which rolled off the presses just in time to be wrapped up and placed under Christmas trees. Whether the object of your literary gift-giving is an outdoors enthusiast, a pet lover or a city slicker, local scribblers have them covered.
Here’s a look at some new books penned by Nevada authors this year, including several that are set in the Silver State. (Some of the language here comes from the books’ publishers.)
Outback Nevada: True Stories From the Silver State by John M. Glionna (University of Nevada Press, $27.95): Join author John M. Glionna on a journey to discover the “real Nevada,” a place inhabited by diverse, spirited and sometimes quirky people who make up the fabric of the Silver State. Outback Nevada explores the far-flung corners of the seventh-largest state and introduces readers to the humanity, courage, strength and charm of these little-known Americans. Each story is part of the vast collection of published articles Glionna has written during his decades of work as a journalist for the Los Angeles Times and the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
This Here Is Devil’s Work: A Novel by Curtis Bradley Vickers (University of Nevada Press, $28.95): In this unflinching, dramatic adventure, modern-day wildland firefighters and cattle rustlers struggle for survival in a changing Western landscape. Braiding together the stories of two firefighters, Morgan and Jeremy, and an abrasive laundromat custodian-turned-cattle-rustling grandmother, Jacklynn, This Here Is Devil’s Work is a fiery ride through the small towns of Nevada and Montana, and the rugged expanse that connects them.
Carson City Century by Stephen H. Provost (Century Cities/Dragon Crown, $19.95): A former editor, reporter and columnist with more than 30 years of experience at daily newspapers, Stephen H. Provost is the author of more than 30 works of fiction and nonfiction, including 10 books in his Century Cities series and three more in his America’s Historic Highways series. Carson Century City is a short history of Nevada’s capital, home to the inventor of the Ferris wheel and (for a while) Mark Twain, and site of the state’s first heavyweight championship fight.
Close to the Land: Tales of Smith Valley, Nevada by Joyce Rowntree Phillips (independently published, $15.99): Reno author Phillips delivers tales filled with pitfalls, adventures and pure Western ingenuity. Based on her experiences and those of various relatives in Nevada’s Smith Valley, the book offers stories about farming, sheepherding, hunting, early aviation, general mischief-making and even a rooster chase. The storytellers—often children and young adults—recall their early lives. The theme of each story varies as characters face difficulties, including the Spanish flu, freezing weather, hunger, a flood and the dilemma of early aviators aiming for an unlit landing strip. Nevada Assemblywoman Robin Titus said: “From the first story to the last, this book will warm your heart.”
Going It Alone: Ramblings and Reflections From the Trail by Tim Hauserman (University of Nevada Press, $19.95): Tim Hauserman takes solo journeys throughout the Sierra Nevada, and through his writing, he shares his experiences hiking by himself through some of the most spectacular landscapes in the U.S. Some might describe wilderness as the middle of nowhere or nothingness, but for Hauserman, wilderness is everything. While his love for nature remains undaunted through his experiences, he also discovers that he has overly high expectations for his capabilities. He eventually realizes his long walks in the mountains are less about hiking and more about learning how he wants to live his life. Although not entirely set in Nevada, the narrative covers a lot of ground that’s very close to home.
Straight Flossin’ and Other Stories of the American West by Danny Nielsen (Whistling Rabbit Press, $14.95: Nielsen’s short-story collection is a desert odyssey, mixing stories of the open road, bird counts, rat research, close calls with fires and skunks, and those looking for the American Dream—or what’s left of it. Straight Flossin’ is funny, rueful and observant, with an eye for the absurd.
Dark Ride Deception by Mark S. Bacon (Archer and Clark Publishing, $14.99): In the fourth novel of his Nostalgia City mystery series, Reno novelist Mark S. Bacon sends protagonists Lyle Deming and Kate Sorensen off to solve a murder, find a missing person, and protect the future of their employer. Both work for Nostalgia City, a desert theme park that re-creates an entire small town from the 1970s. Bacon’s first book, Death in Nostalgia City, was recommended for book clubs by the American Library Association. His idea for Nostalgia City came in part from a job early in his career as copywriter for Knott’s Berry Farm.
Get Me Out Of Here! Reflections of PD the Put-Upon Pug by PD the Pug (as told to Marilee Joyce) (Mascot Books, $16.95): PD the Pug is the descendent of a breed that once was the companion of Chinese royalty, yet somehow, the noble hound found himself living with a TV broadcaster. PD leads a privileged life, but is convinced that happiness lies outside! Nevadan Marilee Joyce, the CEO of Joyce Communications, gets inside the head of her pensive pup in a way that dog lovers and their kids can relate to. The book, a rapid-fire romp of lighthearted observations and situations that flow from Joyce’s relationship with PD, is the pup’s first literary effort.
48 Hours to Kill by Andrew Bourelle (Penguin/Random House, $27.99): 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. Part of the tale takes place in Carson City and Reno. Author James Patterson says, “48 Hours to Kill is “the best thriller I’ve read all year.”
The Shadows by Bill Brown (independently published, $14.99): The Shadows is retired Reno broadcaster Bill Brown’s 10th book. It’s a collection of short stories in two parts. The first deals with ghost hunting by a television crew and the incredible things that really happened. In the second part, Brown serves up both scary and gentle stories of the paranormal. The nonfiction stories include a conversation with the late Frank Sinatra and a ghostly prediction of a future murder. Part two is fiction, populated by gentle aliens and vicious spirits.
Helmi’s Shadow: A Journey of Survival From Russia to East Asia to the American West by David Horgan (University of Nevada Press, $28) Helmi’s Shadow tells the sweeping true story of two Russian Jewish refugees, Rachel and her daughter, Helmi. With determination and courage, they survived decades of hardship in the hidden corners of war-torn Asia and then journeyed across the Pacific at the end of the World War II to become U.S. citizens, seeking safe harbor in Reno. This compelling narrative is also a memoir, told lovingly by Helmi’s son, David, of growing up under the wings of these strong women in an unusual American family.
On the Trail of the Jackalope: How a Legend Captured the World’s Imagination and Helped Us Cure Cancer by Michael P. Branch (Pegasus Books, $17.99): Reno writer Michael Branch relates a never-before-told story of the ubiquitous horned rabbit—the myths, the hoaxes, the very real scientific breakthrough it inspired—and how it became a cultural touchstone of the American West. Much of the narrative is tongue-in-cheek, but the imaginary rodent/ungulate does have a round-about connection to the development of anti-viral cancer therapies—and is literally helping scientists cure cancer.