The best novels of women sleuths in wild places

Pamela Beason Author Of Endangered
By Pamela Beason

Who am I?

Nature is my passion. As an avid hiker, kayaker, snowshoer, and occasional scuba diver, nothing thrills me more than observing wild species in their native environments. Freedom from the constant noise of civilization helps maintain my sanity. I want to share my passion for the endless fascination and solace of nature with my readers, and I also enjoy using my ten years of experience as a private investigator to craft each mystery. And last but never least, I relish strong characters who must rely on their own ingenuity to solve problems, so using a setting where 911 cannot immediately deliver help is a key element in many of my stories. 


I wrote...

Endangered

By Pamela Beason,

Book cover of Endangered

What is my book about?

Summer "Sam" Westin's assignment to report on cougars in a Utah park goes horribly awry when a child vanishes from a campground and the TV news focuses on the local mountain lions as the likely culprits.

As days tick by with no sign of the missing boy and media coverage continues to inflame the public, pressure grows for the park administration to kill the cougars. But Sam was one of the last people to see the child, and she has good reason to suspect a man she saw as little Zachary Fischer ran away from her. Can she uncover the truth in time to save both the child and the big cats?

The books I picked & why

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Killing Trail (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery)

By Margaret Mizushima,

Book cover of Killing Trail (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery)

Why this book?

I enjoy stories about close-knit communities like the rural area and Sheriff’s Department created in these Timber Creek K-9 Mysteries by Margaret Mizushima. The main character, Deputy Mattie Cobb, is no superhero, but she is kind, gutsy, and resilient under stressful circumstances. The events that Mattie and her K-9 partner Robo are called upon to investigate take place in the rugged Rocky Mountains, with their unpredictable weather and challenging topography. Animal lovers like me especially appreciate Mattie’s special relationship with German Shepherd Robo, as well as her affection for local veterinarian Cole Walker and his daughters. Killing Trail is the first book in this series, and Mizushima’s stories get better with every subsequent mystery. 

Killing Trail (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery)

By Margaret Mizushima,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Killing Trail (A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An RT Book Review “Top Pick” and “Best First Mystery" nominee
A Library Journal “Debut of the Month”

Fans of K-9 mysteries and C.J. Box will love this debut police procedural that introduces Colorado’s best crime-fighting duo: Mattie Cobb and police dog, Robo.

While investigating the mysterious death of a young girl, Officer Mattie Cobb uncovers frightening secrets about her small Colorado hometown . . .

When a young girl is found dead in the mountains outside Timber Creek, life-long resident Officer Mattie Cobb and her partner, K-9 police dog Robo, are assigned to the case that has rocked the…


Vanishing Edge

By Claire Kells,

Book cover of Vanishing Edge

Why this book?

The descriptions of Sequoia National Park in this debut novel painted vivid pictures in my mind, and I felt like I too was hiking there on an urgent mission. This novel introduced me to the Investigative Services Bureau, which became a recognized unit of the National Park Service in 2003. Although Agent Felicity Harland is recovering from wounds she incurred in her former FBI job, she’s determined to grit her teeth and solve a crime that demands miles and days of rugged cross-country travel. Every main character deserves a good sidekick, and this role is filled by Hux, a Navy SEAL turned park ranger, who respects Felicity’s skills and supports the mission without a hint of patronizing behavior, a refreshing change from the macho characters in many romantic suspense novels.

Vanishing Edge

By Claire Kells,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Vanishing Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For fans of Christine Carbo and Scott Graham, an ex-FBI agent is on a desperate hunt for a party of vanished campers while a killer is on the loose.

The rugged landscape of Sequoia National Park is a challenge on the best of days—but when a park ranger discovers an abandoned exclusive campsite with an empty tent and high-end technical gear scattered on the shores of an alpine lake, the wilderness takes on a sinister new hue.
 
Thirty-two-year-old Felicity Harland—a former FBI agent who left the service in the wake of a personal tragedy and has taken her skills off…


Gator Aide (Rachel Porter Mysteries)

By Jessica Speart,

Book cover of Gator Aide (Rachel Porter Mysteries)

Why this book?

The Rachel Porter Mysteries by Jessica Speart are not well known, but they deserve to be. These books are available now only as Kindle ebooks and used mass-market paperbacks. Based on years of experience as an investigative journalist focusing on wildlife law enforcement and endangered species issues, the author created protagonist Rachel Porter, a new wildlife agent who is determined to protect animals wherever she is assigned, no matter what dangers and challenges may erupt from the environment, the local citizens, or her own bosses, who typically believe that she doesn’t belong in the field. Speart writes amazing scenes that are both suspenseful and funny, a trick that as an author I envy. I learned a lot about the illegal wildlife trade in each book, and I never tired of the quirky characters and Rachel’s fearless dedication to protecting wildlife at all costs

Gator Aide (Rachel Porter Mysteries)

By Jessica Speart,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gator Aide (Rachel Porter Mysteries) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Investigating the death of an alligator that was found chained near the body of a murdered prostitute, rookie Fish & Wildlife Agent Rachel Porter learns that the creature was being used to smuggle heroin. Original.


A Superior Death

By Nevada Barr,

Book cover of A Superior Death

Why this book?

Nevada Barr worked as a ranger in the National Park Service, and if you yearn to explore more national parks as much as I do, she’s definitely the mystery author to read, with 19 mysteries set in a variety of national parks. It’s difficult for me to choose a favorite, but this novel, the second in the Anna Pigeon series, features Isle Royale National Park, a little-visited treasure in the Great Lakes that I hope to explore one day. I’m also a scuba diver, so I especially appreciate the tense underwater scenes, as well as all the eccentric NPS characters that Barr portrays so well. You’ll enjoy this book even if you’re not a diver, as well as all the other national park settings in the series. Nevada Barr has a true gift for describing natural places and interesting people. 

A Superior Death

By Nevada Barr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Superior Death as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Park ranger Anna Pigeon returns, in a mystery that unfolds in and around Lake Superior, in whose chilling depths sunken treasure comes with a deadly price. In her latest mystery, Nevada Barr sends Ranger Pigeon to a new post amid the cold, deserted, and isolated beauty of Isle Royale National Park, a remote island off the coast of Michigan known for fantastic deep-water dives of wrecked sailing vessels. Leaving behind memories of the Texas high desert and the environmental scam she helped uncover, Anna is adjusting to the cool damp of Lake Superior and the spirits and lore of the…


A Solitude of Wolverines: A Novel of Suspense

By Alice Henderson,

Book cover of A Solitude of Wolverines: A Novel of Suspense

Why this book?

Alice Henderson is a new author in the environmental mystery subgenre, and this book is the first of a series. It’s clear from the novel’s start that wildlife biologist Alex Carter is not welcome in the rural Montana area, and the spooky setting of a remote lodge occupied only by the biologist seems almost reminiscent of The Shining at times. But for me, that creepiness is offset by interesting descriptions of the wild areas and the work of a wildlife biologist studying reclusive wolverines. A few details in the pursuit scene near the book’s conclusion strike me as a bit over the top, but overall, I enjoy this thrilling adventure in the wild, and I look forward to reading Henderson’s next book. 

A Solitude of Wolverines: A Novel of Suspense

By Alice Henderson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Solitude of Wolverines as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Both a mystery and a survival story, here is a novel written with a naturalist's eye for detail and an unrelenting pace. It reminded me of the best of Nevada Barr." -James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Last Odyssey

The first book in a thrilling series featuring an intrepid wildlife biologist who's dedicated to saving endangered species...and relies on her superior survival skills to thwart those who aim to stop her.


While studying wolverines on a wildlife sanctuary in Montana, biologist Alex Carter is run off the road and threatened by locals determined to force her…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in park rangers, survival, and Colorado?

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