The Best Reviews

"Strong mid-nineteenth century western thriller"

- Harriet Klausner

Leadville, Colorado is booming in 1879 as people arrive hoping to get rich by finding the silver mother lode. Inez Stennert is becoming rich as the owner of the Silver Queen Saloon but her personal life is very unsettled because her wandering man walked out one day and never came back. Inez doesn't know if her husband is alive or dead; she waits for him while her sister raises her sickly son back east.

Fights and brawls are frequent occurrences but everyone is shocked when upright family man Joe Rose is found murdered behind Inez's saloon. Inez starts investigating the assayer's homicide because his widow and son are very dear to her and she would like to be one to bring his killer to justice. She learns that Joe was not as law abiding as she believed and her questions are making some people very uneasy, individuals who will not hesitate to kill her if she gets too close to the truth.

Ann Parker captures the ambiance of a mid-nineteenth century western boomtown so colorfully that readers will imagine they are there. The heroine is an independent woman who lives by her own rules at a time when females were expected to stay in their place. Inez is bossy and stubborn but she is also the kind of person one wants to have in your corner when life turns rough. Let's hope there are more stories starring this one of a kind protagonist.


"Great mystery set in the Old West."

- Lynnae Hornbarger (Courtesy Old Book Barn Gazette)

Parker has done her research, and it shows in the way she tells this tale set in 1879 Leadville, Colorado. She's definitely a wordsmith - you feel the cold hit you when the door opens, you trudge through the wind and snow, and you appreciate the nice room where you are reading when Inez, the main character, chips the ice from her pitcher on an icy cold morning.

Inez owns Silver Queen Saloon with her partner, Abe. She's had a very rough year - her husband left and never returned, plus she's sent her baby son to live with her sister while she sorts out her life. A life that gets much more complicated when Joe Rose, one of her best customers, is found dead behind her saloon, and she becomes involved in straightening out his affairs for his widow, Emma, and their small son.

Joe turns out to be involved in more schemes than Inez could ever have imagined, including counterfeiting and lying. This story includes components of the old west - houses of prostitution, gambling, silver mining (this is Leadville, after all) and religion. Yes, there's a church and a new reverend, whom Inez finds very interesting. Even Bat Masterson turns up. There are some surprises and twists to this plot, and many of the characters turn out not to be what you

Don't ignore this debut novel because it's set in the old west. It's a really good mystery.


Additional Reviews

Reviews for Leaden Skies:

Publisher's Weekly
The Mystery Gazette
Reader Views
International Thriller Writers: The Big Thrill

Midwest Book Review
Oakland Tribune
The Leadville Herald Democrat

Reviews for Iron Ties:

Publisher's Weekly
Midwest Book Review
Crime Watch - Chicago Tribune
I love a Mystery
The BookBitch

The Cozy Library
Historical Novels Review

for Silver Lies:

Crime Watch
Publisher's Weekly
The Daily Camera
The Drood Review of Mystery
The Leadville Herald Democrat
I love a Mystery
Quincy Public Library
January Magazine
The Best Reviews
The Independent
Broomfield Enterprise

Women in World History Curriculum