Colorado author Scott Graham visits The Bookworm Tuesday |

Colorado author Scott Graham visits The Bookworm Tuesday

Scott Graham
Courtesy photo
  • What: Saguaro Sanction with Scott Graham
  • When: Tuesday, March 14th, 6:00 PM
  • Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., unit C101 Edwards, CO 81632
  • Cost: $10

As spring approaches, and the weather warms up, many of us are already planning our visits to national and state parks. Luckily, Colorado author, Scott Graham, just published the eighth book in his “National Park Mystery” series so you can visit Saguaro National Park on the page before you visit in person.

Graham will visit The Bookworm on Tuesday, March 14 at 6 p.m. to celebrate the new release of the eighth page-turning installment of his series, which follows Janelle Ortega and Chuck Bender as they are drawn deep into a threatening web of hostility and deceit. Graham’s newest novel, “Saguaro Sanction,” introduces readers to the landscapes and cultural histories of Saguaro National Park in southern Arizona, providing an inside look at the wonders of the wildly popular national park and its archaeological and cultural complexities.

“Saguaro Sanction” is the eighth book in the series, and Graham says you can read his books in any order. “My eight National Park Mysteries are written to be read separately. That way, folks can choose the books set in the parks that most interest them, rather than needing to start at the beginning and read their way through to those particular parks,” Graham says. “That said, Carmelita and Rosie, the daughters of protagonists Chuck Bender and Janelle Ortega, are a year older in each book, so reading the series in order provides the opportunity to watch the girls grow up over the course of the series.”

The cover of “Saguaro Sanction” by Colorado author, Scott Graham. Graham, like his two main characters, grew up exploring the outdoors.
Courtesy photo

Graham, like Carmelita and Rosie, grew up exploring the outdoors. “I was fortunate to be raised by parents who took me camping and backpacking all across the West as a child,” Graham recalls. “I ventured farther afield with my wife when I grew older, backpacking and mountaineering in the Andes, Himalayas and Canadian Rockies. My love of the outdoors continues today, with whitewater rafting and backcountry skiing among my current favored pursuits.”

In order to make his books as authentic as possible, Graham visits each park that he features in his books. “I’ve found that this makes me best prepared to share with readers the sights and sounds and smells, that is, the true sense of place, of the park I’m writing about,” Graham said.

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Graham takes these sights and sounds and infuses them into his mystery novels. “I can’t imagine a more evocative way to share my love of the outdoors than by setting the stories I write in the most iconic landscapes America has to offer,” Graham says. “In addition, I weave an environmental or social justice issue specific to each book’s particular park setting.”

In “Saguaro Sanction” Graham highlights social justice issues from Saguaro National Park through certain archeological and cultural aspects of the park. “The archaeological complexities, and the plot of ‘Saguaro Sanction’, revolve around the incredible array of petroglyphs, etchings on stone, created by the peoples who lived in the Sonoran Desert hundreds and even thousands of years ago,” Graham said. “The cultural complexities explored through the storyline involve the realities of migrant passage across the forbidding Sonoran Desert today.”

Graham learned much about these realities of migrant passage from his son. “When I wrote ‘Saguaro Sanction’, my son was employed as a paralegal on the U.S.-Mexico border, representing child asylum seekers who had risked their lives to cross the border through the desert and present themselves to authorities,” Graham said. “Through the book’s plot, I want to share with readers, as evenhandedly as I possibly could, a sense of that heartrending experience, and what drives children to that level of desperation.”

Not only does Graham want his book to shed some light on the realities of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, but also the rich history and vulnerability of this part of the country. “I’d love for readers to gain an appreciation for the beauty and fragility of the Sonoran Desert, including an awareness of the ongoing human habitation of the desert in southern Arizona over thousands of years,” Graham said. “I hope readers will come to understand the need to protect and preserve the region for future generations, both within the boundaries of Saguaro National Park and all across southern Arizona.”

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