63 books like Ill Wind

By Nevada Barr,

Here are 63 books that Ill Wind fans have personally recommended if you like Ill Wind. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of The Blessing Way

Carl and Jane Bock Author Of Day of the Jaguar: An Arizona Borderlands Mystery

From my list on mysteries about the American Southwest.

Why are we passionate about this?

Deserts are inherently mysterious places. This likely explains why so many good mystery novels have been set in them. We spent better than forty years doing field work in the American Southwest, and we have found mystery novels based in this region among the very best. All good mystery novels must have strong plots and memorable characters, but to us an equally important component is setting. Jane is a botanist with expertise in the use of plant evidence in solving murder cases. Carl is a vertebrate zoologist and conservation biologist. Upon retirement we began writing mysteries. Some are set in the desert grasslands of Arizona, and all are inspired by the southwestern authors we have selected as our favorites.     

Carl's book list on mysteries about the American Southwest

Carl and Jane Bock Why did Carl love this book?

When we first discovered Tony Hillerman’s books, we nearly lost a whole summer’s fieldwork because we couldn’t stop reading them. In our opinion, no fiction author has better captured both the haunting physical beauty and cultural traditions of the Navajo Nation. Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn of the tribal police is more pragmatic than his fellow officers Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito, who bring a more spiritual side to their work. The Blessing Way is the first of this long-running series, which is being carried on by Anne Hillerman. In this first book, the police find a corpse so far out in the desert and so wrapped in mystery as to shake even Leaphorn’s belief that everything has a rational explanation. Hillerman inspired us to try writing mystery novels of our own, although we don’t pretend to have achieved his level of mastery.  

By Tony Hillerman,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Blessing Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don’t miss the TV series, Dark Winds, based on the Leaphorn, Chee, & Manuelito novels, now on AMC and AMC+!  

“Brilliant…as fascinating as it is original.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch

From New York Times bestselling author Tony Hillerman, the first novel in his series featuring Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn & Officer Jim Chee who encounter a bizarre case that borders between the supernatural and murder

Homicide is always an abomination, but there is something exceptionally disturbing about the victim discovered in a high, lonely place—a corpse with a mouth full of sand—abandoned at a crime scene seemingly devoid of tracks or useful clues.…


Book cover of The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing

GG Collins Author Of Anasazi Medium

From my list on the American Southwest respecting the culture & land.

Why am I passionate about this?

The American Southwest never gets old. Exploring any of the Ancestral Pueblo sites is like walking back in time. Anasazi Medium takes the reader there. I love the land and the culture that has brought us to the present. My character, Santa Fe reporter Rachel Blackstone, reflects this. She is sarcastic at times, can be funny, and has her poignant moments as she copes with a “talent” she never wanted. In Anasazi Medium, I concocted a mixture of mystery, Hopi traditions and a journalist’s eye to entertain and inform. What resulted is a climate mystery in the most water-challenged state in the U.S. and a high adventure read. 

GG's book list on the American Southwest respecting the culture & land

GG Collins Why did GG love this book?

The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing (A Pot Thief Murder Mystery) is a fun, quick read. Our pot dealer (not the kind you smoke) owns a shop in Albuquerque's Old Town. "Hubie" as he is called, digs for pottery on public lands to sell in his shop. I enjoyed his university meetings and the hierarchy at the University of New Mexico. When things got heated among the profs, he dove into a book until the collegiate clashing was over. Fond of margaritas, and who isn't, I got a kick out of how much mystery solving he could do at this favorite bar. My characters share that trait by stopping by The Shed in Santa Fe with regularity.

By J. Michael Orenduff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Pot Thief Who Studied the Woman at Otowi Crossing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New Mexico pottery dealer cracks a perplexing mystery in this “winning blend of humor and character development” (Publishers Weekly).
 
Hubert Schuze is an adjunct professor at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and he has a fairly lucrative side gig digging up ancient relics and selling them. He also seems to have a talent for finding killers. When Hubie discovers a body outside his pottery shop, it appears the victim was stabbed in the back with something resembling a screwdriver. But the story gets a lot more mysterious when a video turns up showing the man collapsing with…


Book cover of Brujo: Seduced by Evil

GG Collins Author Of Anasazi Medium

From my list on the American Southwest respecting the culture & land.

Why am I passionate about this?

The American Southwest never gets old. Exploring any of the Ancestral Pueblo sites is like walking back in time. Anasazi Medium takes the reader there. I love the land and the culture that has brought us to the present. My character, Santa Fe reporter Rachel Blackstone, reflects this. She is sarcastic at times, can be funny, and has her poignant moments as she copes with a “talent” she never wanted. In Anasazi Medium, I concocted a mixture of mystery, Hopi traditions and a journalist’s eye to entertain and inform. What resulted is a climate mystery in the most water-challenged state in the U.S. and a high adventure read. 

GG's book list on the American Southwest respecting the culture & land

GG Collins Why did GG love this book?

Jann Arrington Wolcott’s Brujo: Seduced by Evil features Lee Lindsay as the intrepid reporter. The action takes place in Santa Fe, New Mexico. After a co-worker is killed in a suspicious car crash, Lee is sent to complete his assignment. The man she meets in a remote village casts a spell over her. Flashbacks to a former life begin to haunt her as the brujo (male witch) stalks her and her family. As someone who knows Santa Fe well, I liked how Wolcott used Santa Fe locations and local color to enhance the narrative. Lee’s friendship with the artist who knew something about brujos was the best part for me; a true friend who risked it all.

By Jann Arrington Wolcott,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Book by Wolcott, Jann Arrington


Book cover of Parrot Blues: A Neil Hamel Mystery

GG Collins Author Of Anasazi Medium

From my list on the American Southwest respecting the culture & land.

Why am I passionate about this?

The American Southwest never gets old. Exploring any of the Ancestral Pueblo sites is like walking back in time. Anasazi Medium takes the reader there. I love the land and the culture that has brought us to the present. My character, Santa Fe reporter Rachel Blackstone, reflects this. She is sarcastic at times, can be funny, and has her poignant moments as she copes with a “talent” she never wanted. In Anasazi Medium, I concocted a mixture of mystery, Hopi traditions and a journalist’s eye to entertain and inform. What resulted is a climate mystery in the most water-challenged state in the U.S. and a high adventure read. 

GG's book list on the American Southwest respecting the culture & land

GG Collins Why did GG love this book?

Divorce lawyer Neil Hamel always seems to do more PI work than law. In Parrot Blues (A Neil Hamel Mystery) by Judith Van Gieson, she tries to locate a missing woman—and an indigo parrot. Oddly, the husband seems more concerned about the bird than his wife, who may be on her way out of the marriage anyway. But with the parrot as the only witness, it’s a tough case to crack. There’s plenty of New Mexico history and vistas to satisfy, but I found the information about birds and smuggling to be eye-opening. Her relationship with the “Kid” adds to Neil’s character. She’s her own woman, doing things her way. That alone gained my respect.

By Judith Van Gieson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

She may be a divorce lawyer, but Neil Hamel uses her PI's instincts when a millionaire's rare indigo macaw and newly endangered wife are kidnapped together. The unusual search puts her right in the heart of New Mexico's breathtaking Plains of San Agustin, for a dangerous game of bird smuggling and one-upmanship. Armed with high-tech surveillance equipment and a backpack full of her client's money, Neil treks to a remote exchange point. Alas, she returns with the indigo, but no wife, and she's beginning to get ideas. When she learns that one of her chief suspects has suspiciously expired in…


Book cover of Theft

Catherine Ryan Hyde Author Of Seven Perfect Things

From my list on animals by people who actually understand them.

Why am I passionate about this?

In addition to being the author of lots of books, I am a wrangler of lots of pets. I live with a dog, two cats, a Belgian warmblood horse who I rode in dressage for many years, and his pasture pal who is a miniature horse. I’m known for writing books with animals in which the animal is a character, not a caricature. So many authors don’t seem to know animals deeply, and so just insert them in a scene like a placeholder. But every animal is an individual, and I try to reflect that in my work.

Catherine Ryan's book list on animals by people who actually understand them

Catherine Ryan Hyde Why did Catherine Ryan love this book?

This is a stunning debut novel about a woman who is a master wildlife tracker out to help save the Mexican wolf from extinction. There’s a lot more to the plot than that, but her relationship to animals and to the natural world is deeply satisfying. She allows them to “people” each scene, not only the wolf but her ranch animals, and her respect for other species shines through. This is a far cry from my pet peeve, which is a book with a dog, but the dog is a cardboard cutout who just holds up the end of the leash and makes us think his owner is nice. This is the opposite of that stereotype.

By BK Loren,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A master wildlife tracker's life is thrown into upheaval when she is tapped to hunt not the animals of America's Southwestern terrain, but her own troubled brother. 

Willa Robbins is a master tracker working to reintroduce the Mexican wolf, North America's most endangered mammal, to the American Southwest. But when Colorado police recruit her to find her own brother, Zeb, a confessed murderer, she knows skill alone will not sustain her. Willa is thrown back into the past, surfacing memories of a childhood full of intense love, desperate mistakes, and gentle remorse. Trekking through exquisite New Mexico and Colorado landscapes,…


Book cover of Desert Heat, Volcanic Fire: The Geologic History of the Tucson Mountains and Southern Arizona

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 


Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

Wayne Ranney Why did Wayne love this book?

I used to teach Topics in Regional Geology at Yavapai College (Prescott) and when preparing for field trips in the Santa Catalina and Tucson Mountains, I leaned heavily on this clearly written and engaging book with a fascinating storyline. Dr. Kring brings readers of all levels on a wondrous journey through time in the desert southwest. I think one of the most amazing aspects of the book is that none of the main parts of the story are readily obvious to anyone. Only geologic sleuthing has unearthed them.

By David A. Kring,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Desert Heat, Volcanic Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

softcover


Book cover of Geology of the Canyons of the San Juan River

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 


Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

Wayne Ranney Why did Wayne love this book?

I’ve been fortunate to have “stumbled” into a geologic writing career and if I had to put my finger on a single book that has the greatest effect on me choosing this path, it would be this little river guidebook. Maybe you will not run the San Juan River (but you should!). Nevertheless, the introductory chapters to the rocks and landscape of Monument Valley and the San Juan River will have you planning a trip there in no time. The chapter called “Permianland” was especially enlightening to me - I have read the first two paragraphs in it innumerable times. Great book!

By Four Corners Geological Society,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Geology of the Canyons of the San Juan River as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Four Corners Geological Society Staple-bound Pamphlet 1973. 94 pp. Size 8" by 5" by about 0.25". Binding intact; no loose pages. Covers and pages clean and unmarked EXCEPT a red upside-down "PAID" stamp on front cover and an occasional dirt spot. All text pages are unmarked. Numerous B&W photos, charts, maps, and drawings. Articles by D.L. Baars and Jack A. Ellingsen (both of Ft. Lewis College, Durango) and Gary C. Huber (of Colorado School of Mines, Golden) discuss the geology and canyon structures of the river from around Aneth westward to about Big Bend. The last chapter is the "River…


Book cover of Geology of the American Southwest: A Journey Through Two Billion Years of Plate-Tectonic History

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 


Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

Wayne Ranney Why did Wayne love this book?

Of all the books I am recommending, this might the one that may be a bit more technical for the average reader. But after reading the other four, I think you will be ready for this comprehensive look at the evolution and development of the Southwestern landscape. Baldridge has written the complete reference to how the very ancient rocks play a role in how the modern landscape looks. Most folks I talk to who have read this were very happy they did so.

By W. Scott Baldridge,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Geology of the American Southwest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two billion years of Earth history are represented in the rocks and landscape of the Southwest USA, creating natural wonders such as the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Death Valley. This region is considered a geologist's 'dream', since its rocks provide a slice through a huge range of Earth history, and provide examples of many of the geologic processes shaping the Earth. For this reason, the region attracts a large number of undergraduate field classes, and amateur geologists. Geology of the American Southwest, first published in 2004, provides a concise and accessible account of the geology of the region, and…


Book cover of Volcanoes of Northern Arizona

Why am I passionate about this?

Since my earliest memories, I have been fascinated with rocks, landscapes, and the movement of time. It was perhaps only fitting then, that I should have landed in the bottom of the Grand Canyon in the 1970s working as a backcountry ranger where I discovered GEOLOGY! Since then, my world view has been shaped by the record of earth history that is held in sedimentary rocks, mountain belts, and the colorful and varied landscapes of the Desert Southwest and Colorado Plateau. I am in love with these landscapes and know them well. This love affair causes me to visit other landscapes around the world and ponder their development. 


Wayne's book list on the geology and magic of the landscapes of the American Southwest and Colorado Plateau

Wayne Ranney Why did Wayne love this book?

Who knew there were volcanoes in northern Arizona? Wendell Duffield takes readers on a visual and literary tour de force of this amazing region. The San Francisco Volcanic Field contains over 600 vents and cones with one large stratovolcano, a half a dozen or more silicic dome volcanoes, and hundreds of basalt cinder cones. All are explained in clear, concise prose. And who knew the Grand Canyon had volcanoes too, some of which spilled cascading lava flows into the canyon, damming the river at least 17 times. It’s all here in this little book that has a big impact.

By Wendell A. Duffield, Michael Collier (photographer),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Volcanoes of Northern Arizona as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book provides a popular look at the fiery origin of Northern Arizona’s landscape. With magnificent aerial photographs, original geologic illustrations, and detailed road logs to many of the key features, this book is an indispensable tool for the traveler, the educator, and all who are interested in the remarkable landscape of northern Arizona.


Book cover of Making a Real Killing: Rocky Flats and the Nuclear West

Kari Lydersen Author Of Revolt on Goose Island: The Chicago Factory Takeover and What It Says About the Economic Crisis

From my list on labour and workers fighting against all odds.

Why am I passionate about this?

Fresh out of journalism school I stumbled on a strike at a machine shop in Pilsen, a neighborhood once home to Chicago’s most famous labor struggles, by then becoming a hip gentrified enclave. Drinking steaming atole with Polish, Mexican, and Puerto Rican workers in a frigid Chicago winter, I was captivated by the solidarity and determination to fight for their jobs and rights, in what appeared to be a losing battle. After covering labor struggles by Puerto Rican teachers, Mexican miners, Colombian bottlers, Chicago warehouse workers, and many others, my enthusiasm for such stories is constantly reignited -- by the workers fighting against all odds and the writers telling their stories, including those featured here.

Kari's book list on labour and workers fighting against all odds

Kari Lydersen Why did Kari love this book?

In the nondescript yet fortified facility on dusty ranchland at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, workers toiled in strange conditions making a mysterious product, unknown even to them. Turns out they were manufacturing plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons, and terrifying radioactive fires eventually laid bare the dire toll of the Cold War arms race on Colorado’s people and land. Chemical companies and the government conspired to avoid scrutiny, ensure obedience and keep illegally dumping toxic waste. Yet solidarity was born among workers caught between their need for a job and their fear and outrage at being used as throw-away cogs in a doomed war machine.

By Len Ackland,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Making a Real Killing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book examines the sobering realities associated with the participation of ordinary Americans in the development of the nation's nuclear weapons arsenal. A former Chicago Tribune reporter and one-time editor of 'The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists', Len Ackland explores the fascinating story of Rocky Flats, Colorado for the first time. He skilfully weaves together the experiences of individuals with clear explanations of nuclear weapons technology , the dangers posed by plutonium and radiation, and the bitter fight between government agencies over environmental degradation.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Colorado, park rangers, and Southwestern United States?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Colorado, park rangers, and Southwestern United States.

Colorado Explore 77 books about Colorado
Park Rangers Explore 23 books about park rangers
Southwestern United States Explore 46 books about Southwestern United States