New York Times best-selling author Michael McGarrity will make an appearance in Ruidoso at 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Books Etcetera, 2340 Sudderth Drive.
He will be signing copies and reading from the final book in his American West trilogy, “The Last Ranch.”
This is McGarrity’s 15th novel. His first 12 books were crime novels set in New Mexico featuring detective Kevin Kerney. This year marks the 20th anniversary of McGarrity’s first book about Kerney, titled “Tularosa.”
The trilogy is a prequel to the crime series and fleshes out the history of four generations of Kerney ancestors, spanning 100 years of their life in the Tularosa Basin. The series pulls from the history of the area to create a rich tapestry in each of the books.
“It’s just a sweeping family saga told from the standpoint of four generations of family and their friends and allies and some of their enemies,” McGarrity said.
The series began as just one book, but McGarrity and his editor decided to expand the story into a trilogy.
The first book, “Hard Country” tells the story of Kerney’s great-great-grandfather as he arrives in the area in the late 1870s.
“It incorporates a lot of the history and historical characters that lived in that time,” McGarrity said.
“The second book, “Backlands,” begins during World War I and focuses on the family’s struggle to survive in the Tularosa Basin.
In the final book, “The Last Ranch,” McGarrity carries the family saga into the mid-twentieth-century of the new American West.
With the trilogy complete, McGarrity said there is yet another Kerney story in him. The next book will be a contemporary crime novel that explains how Kerney decides to pursue his career as a detective.
McGarrity, who lived in the area at one time, said the richness of life in New Mexico inspired him to write the books.
“It comes from a love of the land, and the knowledge of the people, and a lifetime of being here, and just not not wanting to be any other place and understanding that I am just one of many people who have come here and been enchanted,” he said.
That history and the love of the land is what captivates McGarrity. He laughs about the phrase calling New Mexico “The land of enchantment. He instead calls it “the land of entrapment.”
“It’s the land of enchantment that entraps you and I think that’s a great way of phrasing it if you will,” McGarrity said.