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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FICTION: Don Crockett's 'Buried in Stone'

Occasionally I read a novel that hasn't spent any time on the New York Times Best Seller list. While I'm certainly a fan of big time authors who write big time thrillers, it's nice to sometimes come back down to earth and check out something different. In the case of Buried in Stone author Don Crockett, it boils down to an author chasing his dream of being published and writing about the region that I live in.
I met Don Crockett in 2005 at a local book signing in Roseburg, Oregon, where I featured him in a local television news feature about local authors. A genial fellow, Crockett had written three novels up to that point and tirelessly devoted his time to promoting them at any venue he could find through touring and networking with local book stores and clubs. The gimmick of his fiction is basing it in the northwest, and more specifically, in the Oregon towns he's lived and grown up in.

Buried in Stone was his first novel, published in 2001 by AuthorHouse (formerly 1st Books Library). The mystery novel is set in Ashland, Oregon, and documents the first adventure of Diana Carry, a private investigator who seems to specialize in everything. Traveling with her pet wolf, Donjue, she's called to the Southern Oregon town to help out with an investigation into some mysterious tunnels that are discovered underneath a residence after an earthquake rumbles through. Diana uses her athletic skill to explore the tunnels that appear to have no end. Dealing with darkness and even contending with water filled shafts, she makes her way through with the help of the local police department and discovers the decades-old murders of young children.

This sets up most of the action as Diana uses her unconventional methods to sidestep local and federal authorities on a quest to uncover the secret behind the murders. Over the course of the action, she befriends Chief Ben Hollis of the Ashland Police Department and even becomes the acting Chief when Hollis is injured during the investigation.

The story weaves in a varied cast of characters before solving the mystery in the end, which brings together the entire ensemble in a rather violent and bloody finale that features stabbings, shootings and explosions. The blossoming romance between Chief Hollis and Diana underlies the more serious drama.

Since Buried in Stone, Crockett has written three more novels in the Diana series, all of which can be purchased at Amazon.com and other retailers. The novel is not one you will see on the Best Seller lists, but if you are native to Oregon and want a breezy, easy-to-read story, then Buried in Stone may be just what you are looking for.

How many books do you own?


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