Wednesday, May 2, 2012

"Wicked Eddies"

Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents and Wicked Eddies).

She applied the Page 69 Test to Wicked Eddies and reported the following:
In Wicked Eddies, the Page 69 test puts the reader squarely in the typical life of my 27-year-old whitewater river ranger sleuth, Mandy Tanner. While doing laundry on her day off at her home in Salida, Colorado, accompanied by her dog Lucky, she gets a call at home from the ranger station dispatcher:
“Sorry to call you in on your day off, Mandy, but we’ve got a body search situation where we need all hands.”

Mandy stowed her laundry basket back in her closet and sat on the bed to scratch behind Lucky’s ears. “What’s going on?”

“A woman reported her husband missing last night. She said he told her he’d be camping and fishing at Ruby Mountain for a few days, but she noticed after he left that he’d forgotten his box of flies. When she drove to Ruby Mountain to deliver the box, his truck was parked there, but she saw no sign of him. He didn’t respond to her shouts either. She searched for him along the banks for a couple of hours before it got pitch black, then she called in the report.”

Damn, Mandy thought. Ruby Mountain was just upstream from Brown’s Canyon, a rushing series of Class III and IV rapids that was the most popular whitewater rafting run on the upper Arkansas River. If the man’s fishing waders filled up and he was washed into the canyon, his chances were slim to none. Worried it might be someone she knew, Mandy asked, “What’s the man’s name?”

“Arnold Crawford. You know him?”
Wicked Eddies starts off with a bang when Mandy discovers the dead body of a fly fisherman in a riverside campground days before a huge tournament. Fly fishing is dangerous? True, the Arkansas River can be a man-eater, but the rapids weren’t responsible for driving a hatchet into the neck of would-be competitor Howie Abbott―a secretive man who may have been cheating. While casting about for suspects, Mandy seeks clues from Abbott’s family members, including her best friend, bartender Cynthia Abbott.

This river search that Mandy gets called out on in page 69 will reveal a huge surprise that has a bearing on the case and will plunge Mandy even further into the swirling intrigue surrounding Howie’s murder. When her friend Cynthia becomes the prime suspect, Mandy realizes she’s wading into deeper, more hazardous waters than ever. As Kirkus Reviews says in their May 1 issue, “Once again, Groundwater, mixing mystery with outdoor adventure, comes up with an excursion that will please most comers.”
Learn more about the book and author at Beth Groundwater's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue