As usual, the state’s readers are blessed with an abundance of literary riches. This fall, the writing community in Colorado brings the following offerings: A comics series that travels back in time in an attempt to kill Christopher Columbus, a poignant novel about family secrets, two bookish murder mysteries, an investigation into if aliens are real, and more. Here are six books to look for this season.
‘Is There Anybody Out There? : The Search for Extraterrestrial Life, from Amoebas to Aliens’ by Laura Krantz
Out Oct. 3 via Abrams Books for Young Readers | $20
Take me to your leader, please. Drawing on the popularity of her Wild Thing podcast about science and society, Denver author Laura Krantz uses her investigative journalism chops to see if we’re really alone in the universe. Krantz cites research from astrobiologists, astronomers, and astrophysicists to determine the likelihood of life on other planets. Maybe aliens have already visited. If they did, how did they get here? And is there any room on the ship back to their planet? This one’s a disaster.
‘Long Past Dues’ by James J. Butcher
Out Oct. 10 via Ace | $27
In the newest installment of the Unorthodox Chronicles, Denver author James J. Butcher depicts a character with the unforgettable name of Grimshaw Griswald Grimsby. Bored with the grind of his daily duties as an auditor enforcing laws about magic for Boston’s Department of Unorthodox Affairs, Grimsby gets his hands on a file that’s about to make his job a whole lot more interesting. He teams up with huntsman Leslie Mayflower to crack the case of a strange ritual, encountering werewolves, cursed artifacts and an underground city along the way.
‘The Wind Will Catch You: A Novel’ by Michelle Theall
Out Sept. 19 via Alcove Press | $20
Boulder author Michelle Theall is back with a novel about a college student who is a product of the foster system and lives in a halfway house. As protagonist Sky juggles the stresses of university life, she’s blindsided by a phone call asking her to make medical decisions for a brother who died more than 10 years ago. Sky’s caseworker helps her figure out what’s going on with the mystery man in the hospital as long-kept family secrets unravel.
‘Last Word to the Wise: A Christie Bookshop Mystery’ by Ann Claire
Out Oct. 3 via Bantam | $17
In a new mystery by Colorado author Ann Clair, bookworm sisters Ellie and Meg Christie have recently started new jobs taking care of their family’s bookshop on a Colorado mountain. But they’re not great at relationships. So when their cousin signs them up for her new matchmaking business that pairs people based on their tastes in books, the sisters aren’t exactly overly excited. Despite that, Meg’s first date goes great. The man’s a charmer, well-read, and romantic. Then he ends up dead. Meg was the last one to see him alive, so naturally she’s the police’s prime suspect. To get to the truth, the sisters take matters into their own hands and start their own investigation.
‘Earthdivers, Vol. 1: Kill Columbus’ by Stephen Graham Jones
Out Sept. 19 via IDW Publishing | $18
This guy doesn’t sleep, probably because much of what he writes about is nightmare-inducing. Uber-prolific Boulder-based author Stephen Graham Jones makes his foray into comics with a time travel tale about Indigenous outcasts on a mission to kill Christopher Columbus. Set in 2112, the world is devastated by climate change. Looking for a way to save the world, the group of misfits stumble upon a time travel portal in a cave in the desert and send a linguist named Tad back to 1492 to murder Columbus before he reaches the “New World.” Of course, anyone who’s read a time-travel story knows it won’t be that simple, and Tad’s actions could have unintended consequences for the future planet he’s trying to save.
‘Jane and the Final Mystery’ by Stephanie Barron
Out Oct. 24 via Soho Crime | $28
For the conclusion of the long-running Being a Jane Austen Mystery series, Denver writer Stephanie Barron sets the story in 1817 as Austen’s health is waning. The celebrated author is having trouble writing, but when her nephew tells her of a death at his former school, even her poor condition can’t keep her from investigating. Can she clear the name of the wrongly accused before her sickness puts her down for the count? Over the past 14 novels, Barron has mastered writing in Austen’s voice as well as crafting page-turning mystery plots. Pick up a copy to find out if she sticks the landing.