Fresh out of law school, Owen didn’t expect that his first case in the territory of Arizona would be a murder trial, where he would be called to defend a Mexican national accused of killing a respected townsperson. Nor did he expect to have such intense feelings for the victim’s wife. Owen’s new neighbors in this new town don’t have much love for their Mexican neighbors, so he’s on his own to prove his client’s innocence. Who really did murder Stephen Downing?
Stephen Downing is Dead is a “whodunit” mystery set in 1905, the final days of the wild western frontier, but the national tensions between Anglos and Mexicans in the border areas will feel familiar to readers today. An early reviewer called it “…an engrossing historical fiction set in Arizona territory beginning in the rough and tumble days of the early 1900’s.”
Dan Goss Anderson is a man of the desert. He grew up mostly in the southwest, and completed a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing at the University of Arizona. In his forties, he enrolled in law school and became a public defender. He now lives in southern Arizona, where he writes fiction and practices law. He is available for guest columns and interviews (I’ve included potential topics and questions at the end of the email.)
Peer Publishing is a small, independent press owned by Anderson and distributed through Ingram Book Distributors.
Book Title: Stephen Downing Is Dead
Author: Dan Goss Anderson
Dan Goss Anderson grew up mostly in the desert southwest. After a stint in the military, he worked odd jobs until finally returning to school to study creative writing. After completing a Master of Fine Arts in fiction writing, Dan went on to teach college writing courses while freelancing for various magazines. In his forties, he once again returned to school, this time to study law, and became a public defender. He now lives in southern Arizona, where he divides his time between fiction writing and the practice of law.
Territorial Court, Arizona, 1905
Fledgling defense attorney Owen Bartlett understands that this murder trial, against a seasoned prosecutor, is way over his head. Having come west to leave his past behind, he planned to build a new life in this wild, open land. But with only a law degree from the Boston YMCA and no courtroom experience, he has been roped into defending a man accused of murder. Now he faces a jury of ranchers, storekeepers, miners—men with little love for Mexicans like Owen’s client, Miguel Cordero. If he fails, Miguel will hang.
Behind Owen is Miguel’s wife, Gabby, her future too in Owen’s hands. In the rear of the courtroom, the widow Eva Downing listens, her heart in her throat with the secret knowledge that the wrong person has been accused of murdering her husband. She does not yet know, or care, that this young defense attorney from Boston has already fallen for her.
Stephen Downing is Dead follows the trajectory of three intertwined lives, each shaped by the killing of Stephen Downing and by the trial of his accused murderer. It’s the story of the search for a redemption that seems always just out of reach, a tale of cowardice, ambition, and real love at the dawn of the modern American west.
Publish Date: February, 2014 (hardcover); June, 2013 (trade paper and ebook)
Publisher: Peer Publishing
Genre: Historical Mystery/Fiction
Number of pages: 278
Book Price: Trade Paper $14.95, Hardcover $23.99