By Robin Barefield: Alaska Wilderness Mystery Author
Author Masterminds Member
When my publisher first tagged me as an Alaska Wilderness Mystery Author, I laughed at the description. I write murder mysteries, but I never specifically considered them “wilderness mysteries.” I use a setting I know and understand in my novels, and this setting happens to be the wilderness of Kodiak Island where I live.
To understand my place in the mystery genre as a wilderness mystery author, I searched for other wilderness mystery authors to see how my books compare to theirs. I’ve located several authors who use the wilderness as the setting for their novels. While I know this list is not complete, this is what I found.
Nevada Barr: Nevada Barr ranks as the queen of the genre. Her first Anna Pigeon mystery was published in 1993, and she has since written 18 additional books in the series. Anna is a National Park Ranger.
Dana Stabenow: An award-winning mystery author from Alaska who writes a series featuring Kate Shugak, an ex-investigator for the Anchorage D.A.
Sue Henry: Another well-known, award-winning Alaskan author whose series features Alaska State Trooper Alex Jensen and dog musher Jessie Arnold.
C.J. Box: Author of the award-winning series starring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett.
Paul Doiron: His protagonist, Mike Bowditch, is a game warden in Maine.
Joseph Heywood: In his series, Grady Service is a wilderness detective with the Department of Natural Resources in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Craig Johnson: His series character, Walt Longmire, is Absaroka County’s sheriff in a remote part of Wyoming.
Keith McCafferty: His two main characters, Sherriff Martha Ettinger and fishing guide and part-time detective Sean Stranahan, have a complicated relationship throughout this series set near Montana’s Crazy Mountains.
Jessica Speart: Her series features U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent Rachel Porter, who works to uncover the poaching and smuggling of endangered wildlife species.
Pamela Beason: Her wilderness mystery series features wildlife biologist Sam Westin, whose knowledge about wildlife and wilderness survival aids her in her criminal investigations. Sam lives in Washington State, but her adventures often take her to other points around the globe.
Kimberli A. Bindschatel: Her protagonist is U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agent Poppy McVie.
Robin Barefield: (I have to include myself on this list!) My main character, Jane Marcus, is smart and resourceful, but unlike most of the other protagonists on this list, Jane is not comfortable in the wilderness. When Jane finds herself in the wilds of Alaska, she must depend on her wits to survive.
Who have I forgotten? Please send me a message to add your favorite wilderness mystery author to my list. If you’ve never read a wilderness mystery, I suggest you give one a try. You can’t go wrong with any of the authors on my list.
Wilderness Mystery Authors was first published with Readers and Writers Book Club: https://readersandwritersbookclub.com.