Southern Utah News Articles
Skeleton Picnic - a novel not far from home
(Excerpt from Michael Norman’s Skeleton Picnic)
A third-generation Kane County resident and lifelong pot hunter, Rogers grew up in a family that collected ancient artifacts from anyplace it could find them-usually that meant public or tribal lands. It was illegal for sure, but everybody did it. As a kid growing up in the fifties and sixties, he recalled outings with family and friends where everybody collected whatever they could find-pot shards, arrowheads, ceremonial blankets, beads, clay pots, baskets, even human bones. His grandfather referred to these weekend adventures as “skeleton picnics. “
Skeleton Picnic is Utah author Michael Norman’s second book in the J.D. Books Mystery series. (the first is “On Deadly Ground”). The Books series follows the adventures of Bureau of Land Management Law Enforcement Ranger J.D. Books in the unique trials and tribulations he faces enforcing laws on public lands.
Skeleton Picnic follows the investigation into the disappearance of Kanab, Utah, residents Rolly and Abigail Rogers. The Rogers’ truck and trailer are found at an abandoned campsite near a recently excavated Anasazi ruin. Searching for clues, Books discovers the couple’s house has been burglarized and a valuable collection of ancient Anasazi and Fremont Indian antiquities stolen.
J.D. Books and County Sheriff’s Deputy Beth Tanner investigate. Books’ own survival skills are tested. The hunter becomes the hunted, and only one person gets to go home alive.
The mystery, set primarily on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, has numerous references to familiar local culture and landmarks. There is also an implied undercurrent between federal agencies, and local authorities and residents. Skeleton Picnic is an interesting read with well-developed character J. D. Books involved in numerous plot twists.
Norman is also the author of Silent Witness and The Commission, one of the Publishers Weekly’s Best Books of 2007.
Skeleton Picnic was published earlier this year by Poisoned Pen Press, Copyright by Michael Norman. The books are available at all major retailers, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc... or they can be ordered directly by calling 1-800-421-3976 ext12 or www.poisonedpenpress.com.