As the precautions related to COVID are extending into 2021, it looks like we’ll be hunkering down at home for a little while longer. But if you’ve already watched your entire Netflix queue twice and have run out of board games to play, you might be looking for something new to do. Luckily, Colorado authors are here to save the day with several amazing backlists that will keep you occupied for weeks on end.
That’s why we rounded up a few must-reads from Colorado authors and compiled them all in a list. There’s something on here for the thrill-seeker, the poetry-enthusiast, the sci-fi obsessed and more. Wherever your adventures take you, these books are sure to enhance your experience!
Author photo courtesy of NAJ CO, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Stephen Graham Jones is a Blackfeet Native American author of experimental fiction, horror fiction, crime fiction and science fiction currently living and teaching in Boulder! While his more recent work is often classified as horror, Jones is celebrated for applying “literary” stylings to speculative genres, as well as productiveness, having published 22 books in just 50 years.
While picking just one of his 22 books is hard, we highly recommend The Only Good Indians, his most recent novel. This 2020 horror novel follows four Native American men as they are haunted by a hunting trip from their past.
Andrea Gibson is an American poet and activist from Calais, Maine, who has lived in Boulder since 1999. They first got into poetry after attending an open mic night in Denver, where Gibson was inspired to become a spoken word poet. The majority of their work focuses on gender identity, gender norms, politics, social reform and the struggles of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Gibson’s most recent book, Lord of the Butterflies, was a Goodreads Choice Finalist of 2019, a Gold Medal Winner in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and a winner in The Eric Hoffer Book Award 2019 Poetry Category. The book itself is a collection of masterful poems, offering artful and nuanced looks at gender, romance, loss and family.
Author photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Currently residing in Monument, Colorado with his wife and author Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J. Anderson is a well-known science fiction author. He has written spin-off novels for Star Wars, StarCraft, Titan A.E. and the X-Files. He is also the co-author of the Dune prequel series. To date, he has published more than 140 books, 50 of which have been on U.S. and international bestseller lists, and has more than 23 million books in print worldwide.
For sci-fi lovers and music lovers alike, Clockwork Angels is a novel based on the album by Rush, a popular rock band—the drummer and lyricist of which has been friends with Anderson for more than two decades. In this unique novel, Anderson takes the themes of Rush’s songs and turns them into a very entertaining, elegantly written story of a boy on the cusp of manhood, living in a seemingly perfect society, who discovers that some dark truths lurk just beneath his world’s perfect surface.
Boulder resident, Margaret Coel, is the New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Wind River mystery novels set among the Arapahos on Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation. They are so popular, in fact, that Coel even has her own official day here in Colorado—December 8th! In addition to her mystery novels, Coel also writes short stories, history books and articles for publications such as the New York Times and American Heritage.
The Eagle Catcher is the first in the Wind River Series, following Father John O’Malley and lawyer Vicky Holden as they try to clear the name of a young man who was arrested for a murder they don’t believe he committed. Their journey takes them across the high plains of the Wind River Reservation to Arapaho homes and community centers, eventually taking them to the past, when the Arapahos were first forced from their homes and sent to the reservation.
Alexa Martin is a writer and stay-at-home mom, currently living in Colorado with her husband and their four children. Over the past few years of her career, Martin has focused on romance novels, particularly the Playbook Series, a series of four football-inspired modern romances based on the eight years her husband was an NFL player.
Author photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
While Blake Crouch was born in Statesville, North Carolina, he currently resides in Colorado, where he writes very popular science fiction and speculative fiction. He is best known for his Wayward Pines trilogy, which was adapted into the 2015 television series Wayward Pines. Another of his books, Good Behavior also premiered as a television series in November of 2016. Currently, Crouch is working on a screenplay of another one of his wildly successful novels, Dark Matter, for Sony Pictures.
Currently living in the foggy mountains of Colorado with her adorable cat and dog, Sandhya Menon is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels with “lots of kissing, girl power and swoony boys.” She writes mostly YA contemporary fiction but has recently branched out into adult romance with her most recent novel, Make Up, Break Up, published under her pseudonym, Lily Menon.
The first book in her very successful Dimpleverse series is When Dimple Met Rishi, which was released in 2017. This young adult rom-com follows two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.
Manuel Ramos is a retired lawyer and the author of 10 published novels and one short story collection. Throughout his time living in Colorado, he received the Colorado Bar Association’s Jacob V. Schaetzel Award, the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association’s Chris Miranda Award, the Spirit of Tlatelolco Award, and many others. His fiction has also garnered awards, including the Colorado Book Award, the Chicano/Latino Literary Award, the Top Hand Award from the Colorado Authors League, and have even been Edgar finalists. While he mainly focuses on Chicano noir crime fiction, his books are also love stories, political dramas and mordant cautionary tales.
My Bad: A Mile High Noir is one of Ramos’ most popular works, following ex-con Gus Corral who is fresh out of jail and intent on keeping his nose clean. That is, until he starts working as an investigator for his attorney, Luis Montez. Thrown into a mystery involving fake business partners, suspicious characters, shadowy figures, money laundering and drug smuggling—Corral must successfully navigate all the clues, and a Rocky Mountain blizzard, to keep himself and Montez alive.
What books by local authors are on your bookshelf? Let us know in the comments below!