Book Review: Tahoe Chase by Todd Borg

Borg, Todd. Tahoe Chase. South Lake Tahoe, CA: Thriller Press, 2013. 351 pages, $16.95 (paperback)—Todd Borg’s Tahoe Chase is the eleventh novel in the award-winning Owen McKenna Mystery Series, and like the others before it, it cannot help but capture a reader’s full attention and admiration.  Like its predecessors, Tahoe Chase is thrilling and heartening at the same time, allowing readers to believe in the power of good even, when surrounded by the evil that Borg creates on his pages. While balancing these emotional responses is probably the greatest strength of Borg’s books, his ability to tell a compelling and unique story is a close second.

In almost every way, Tahoe Chase carries on in the rich traditions established by the Owen McKenna Mystery Series.  It continues in many of the same themes and personalities as developed in the previous books, while also offering many unique and interesting differences.  Most important, it combines both for another successful thriller about a man and his dog solving mysteries against the backdrop of beautiful Lake Tahoe.

Tahoe Chase tells its story through Borg’s usual characters.  There is Owen McKenna, the former San Francisco police detective turned “gumshoe,” a description we learn he appreciates as much as “private detective” in this latest novel.  There is McKenna’s girlfriend, Street, a scientist and sympathetic teammate, and Sergeant Diamond Martinez of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, who also assists his friend as much as he can, and often more than he would be allowed to do legally. And finally, of course, is Spot, McKenna’s beloved Great Dane, who is a calming force, his constant focus, his comic relief, and a necessary ally for the detective throughout the many highs and the lows of his equally exciting and depressing work. Read the rest of this entry »

Does Nevada need a Poet Laureate?

Nevada’s literary credibility has been rising (again) in recent years with writers like Don Waters, Lee Barnes, Claire Vaye Watkins, and so many others making their state a central element to their fiction. Sean Whaley from the Las Vegas Review-Journal writes about the troubled history of the state’s formal poet laureate program, implying the question, does Nevada need a Poet Laureate?

Don Waters Reading at Sundance

Don Waters, one of the greats of new Nevada literature, will be reading from his latest novel, Sunland, at Sundance Bookstore on November 4, 2013, at 6:30PM.  More info here.

Alicia Barber’s Informative Blog

Dr. Alicia Barber is the author of the excellent history, Reno’s Big Gamble, which we reviewed in our first issue.  For years she helmed the University of Nevada, Reno’s Oral History Program, and has since moved on other work in the area.  You should follow her blog, which details her work, Reno history, and more.  Take a look here.

News from Richmond Fontaine

The great Reno band, R‪ichmond Fontaine, fronted by great Nevada author Willy Vlautin, has been quiet for some time now but recently released an update to fans.  Included:

  • Their amazing album, “Winnemucca” is being released on vinyl. This is one of their greatest albums, if not their best.  Take a listen to “Winner’s Casino” here.
  • The band will soon be inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame.
  • The movie adaptation of Willy’s excellent novel, The Motel Life, will be released on ‬November 8th.
  • And, his new novel, The Free, is coming out next February
  • There is plenty more news, so go to their Website to learn more.

Don Waters’ _Sunland_

I have been eagerly awaiting my review copy of the great Don Waters‘ forthcoming novel, Sunland.  I’ve known Don since I was in high school, and think that his short story collection, Desert Gothic, is not only an extraordinary work, but also one of the books that will one day be seen as contributing to the rebirth of Nevada literature–along with Willy Vlautin’ The Motel Life, Claire Vaye Watkins’ Battleborn, H. Lee Barnes’ Car Tag, and a handful of others.  Speaking of Watkins, this is what she says about Sunland:

“I deeply envy the readers about to embark on their first trip to Sunland. Don Waters’s novel is a zany adventure, a borderland thrill ride through the super-saturated Sonoran desert led by a rakish tour guide. A witty riot from first page to last!”

A pretty decent endorsement from one of the state’s best writers.  That certainly won’t be the last of its kind for this excellent writer.  Anyway, like I said I’ve been excited about this book for a long time now, at least since Don told me a little bit about it a few years back.  Based on that conversation, I couldn’t faithfully recount the plot of the book, but the publisher’s copy language is now floating around the web.  Here’s the description:

Sid Dulaney, in his mid-thirties, between jobs and short on funds, has moved back to Tucson to take care of his beloved grandmother. To hold down the cost of her prescriptions, he reluctantly starts smuggling medications over the border. His picaresque misadventures involve the lovable eccentrics at her retirement village, Mexican gang threats, a voluptuous former babysitter, midnight voicemails from his exasperated ex-girlfriend, and, perplexingly, a giraffe. This first novel by the winner of the Iowa Short Fiction Award proves Waters is an important new voice in American fiction. A big, rollicking, character-filled novel, Sunland is an entertaining and humane view at life on the margins in America today.

Waters is an important new voice in American fiction.  Check out his story, “With the Saints on Battle Mountain,” in the Fall 2010 issue of The Nevada Review, or his story, “Española,” which can be read online here.  Or check out this Nevada-centric interview with him here.

This is going to be a great book.  I can’t wait to read it.

New Issue of The Nevada Review

The latest issue of The Nevada Review is available.  Take a look at the contents and cover below:


  • “Nothing New or Novel”: Women in Nevada Politics Before 1919 by Dana R. Bennett
  • Excerpts from Rants from the Hill Michael P. Branch
  • World War II Homefront In Nevada: Excerpts from the University of Nevada Oral History Collection
  • Excerpt from Everyday Las Vegas: Local Life in a Tourist Town by Rex J. Rowley
  • Poetry: “Ten Poems” by Delinda Braun
  • Fiction: “The Midweek Trainer” by Matthew Reed
  • Fiction: “New Days of the Wolf” by Josh Woods
  • Fiction: An excerpt from The Woodsman Gary T. Cage
  • Interview: Susan Skorupa Mullen, Reno Gazette-Journal
  • New and Noteworthy: Recently Published from the University of Nevada Press
  • Writer’s Essay: “The Ethics of the Book Review” by Caleb S. Cage
  • Book Reviews
  • Tahoe Trap by Todd Borg
  • You Came Back by Christopher Coake
  • The Gold Rush Letters of E. Allen Grosh and Hosea B. Grosh by Ronald M. James and Robert E. Stewart
  • Rethinking Public Sector Compensation: What Ever Happened to the Public Interest? By Thom Reilly
  • Base Camp Las Vegas: Hiking the Southwestern States by Deborah Wall
  • Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins

Nevada’s Longest-Serving Governor Publishes Autobiography

Former Nevada Governor Bob Miller, Nevada’s longest-serving governor in history, has published his autobiography, Son of a Gambling Man, with Thomas Dunne books, a division of St. Martin’s Press. Miller’s memoirs span from his childhood in Chicago through his years in the U.S. Air Force, as deputy district attorney in Clark County, as Nevada’s lieutenant governor, to his notable ten-year tenure as our state’s governor.

Through those years and posts, Miller battled the ghosts of his father’s legacy in Las Vegas and the myriad twists, turns, challenges, and pitfalls of a life in politics — particularly those unique to a life in Nevada politics.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Chicago native Miller was just 10 years old when his illegal bookmaker father got the opportunity to run “a legal (but posh) gambling resort in…Las Vegas.” The Sin City of the 1950s bore no resemblance to the sprawling metropolis it would become: “Las Vegas spread out like boiling water on a flat surface, the streets almost swallowed by the desert.”

Son of a Gambling Man is on sale now at bookstores and online. Miller will be signing the book at Barnes and Noble in Reno on March 25 at 7pm.

The Wizard of Oz in Nevada

The Reno Gazette-Journal has a great piece up on their Website about the great-grandson of the famous Wizard of Oz author, who lives in North Las Vegas, and his efforts to keep the legacy alive.  Here is an interesting part:

Since 1989, Roger Baum has carried on his great-grandfather’s legacy, publishing 15 of his own Oz books, with a 16th — “The Oz Enigma” — expected to arrive in March. His first book, “Dorothy of Oz,” also is in production to become an animated film starring Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd and Kelsey Grammer, among others.

Read the whole article here.

Nevada Roundup

Carson City author wins awards for his book.

Sierra Nevada College Presents Tracy Ross for a reading and a workshop.  The free reading is open to the public and will be held from 7-9pm on Friday, February 8.  Visit here to register.

Why do cowboy poets have mustaches?

Bookmark: Signings and events in Las Vegas.

Las Vegas Book Briefs for Feb. 5-11.

Clark County resident “Rudy” writes a book.

The Squaw Valley Institute will host farmer and writer Joel Salatin on Feb. 13.  Go here to learn more Mr. Salatin, who was featured in the documentary Food, Inc.

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