Because I work at a public library in Arizona, readers are always looking for mysteries set in the state. I read Sinclair Browning's Trade Ellis books before I ever moved here, and I don't hesitate to pass them on. The biggest disappointment is that there are only five in the series.
The Last Song Dogs came out in 1999, and was a finalist for the 2000 Shamus Award for Best Paperback. It introduced Trade Ellis, a rancher, a "dirty-shirt cowgirl", and a part-time private eye. She's part Apache, and spends her time working her ranch, Vaca Grande, trying to supplement her income with her private investigation business. As her 25th reunion from Javelina High School approaches, she receives news of the gruesome murders of some of the cheerleaders. Trade, herself, is one of the few remaining cheerleaders, but two others hire her to stop a killer before they end up as the next victims. A class reunion is a perfect time to interview suspects, or point out the remaining cheerleaders to a killer.
The Sporting Club, the second book in the series, was a finalist for the 2001 Shamus Award for Best Paperback. Three more mysteries followed: Rode Hard, Put Away Dead; Crack Shot; and Traggedy Ann. In just five books, Sinclair Browning gave us intriguing Arizona mysteries with a hard-working rancher/detective. It's a fascinating life, when you only have to read about it. It's just too bad there were only five books in the series.
And, for other Friday "Forgotten" Books, check out Patti Abbott's website at www.pattinase.blogspot.com, where she summarizes all the suggestions for Friday.
Sinclair Browning's website is www.sinclairbrowning.com
The Last Song Dogs by Sinclair Browning. Bantam Books, ©1999. ISBN 9780553579406 (paperback), 272p.