July 30, 2012
Two years ago, I was lucky enough to receive an advance reader copy of Sandra Brannan’s (or Sam, as she’s known to many of us in the aggregate industry) first published novel, In the Belly of Jonah. The book features Liv Bergen, a mining division president running a Colorado limestone mine. In that book, Bergen uses her amateur detective skills to help solve the murder case of a young employee whose body was found at the mine site. It was the first in a series of books featuring the enterprising mine manager (learn more about the book and author here).
Throughout her books, Brannan not only entertains, she also educates readers about mining. “The primary interest I had was to make it a very fast and easy read that got the reader interested in the protagonist while subtly — very, very subtly — teaching them about our industry,” she said before In the Belly of Jonah was published.
Her first book was soon followed by Lot’s Return to Sodom, which revolves around the infamous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. That book, which includes a great scene with Bergen defending herself from an armed opponent from the cab of her wheel loader, rose to the top 100 mysteries list of e-books.
On Aug. 7, Brannan’s new book, Widow’s Might, will be released. Once again, I’m enjoying an advance look at the story. This book is set in South Dakota, with Bergen on the trail of a long-inactive killer known as the Crooked Man. “The premise is simply what happens when a well-intentioned concept becomes so powerful that it buckles under the weight of itself, crushing to death the very life it was designed to save,” Brannan says. “My goal with every book is to either change a reader’s plans or make him or her lose a night of sleep.”
So while I’m on vacation at the beach this week trying to catch up on some zzz’s, it looks as though that may be a losing battle. When it comes to a choice between sleep and another chapter of Brannan’s unique blend of mining and mystery, I suspect another chapter will win out.