Spokane's thriving community of local writers produces works in many genres of fiction, nonfiction and poetry but for some reason many published authors in the area are drawn to tales of crime and revenge. Everyone from award winning literary fiction author Jess Walter, to the popular outdoor humorist Patrick F. McManus, to local book publisher Steve Oliver have tackled mysteries and other types of crime stories.
Spokane has all the crime and drama of a big city, but people in the Lilac City often live in denial because their own neighborhoods are relatively safe. Property crimes, violent incidents and just about every illegal act ever imagined short of slavery happens in the region, but unless people follow the right Twitter feeds they may not even hear about most of the incidents other than the crimes that have some quirky and unusual twist that makes them memorable enough to get featured in local television news reports.
Maybe that helps explain why local authors find it so fascinating to take looks at Spokane's partially hidden dark underbelly. Oliver has written several novels and published two short story anthologies dedicated to capturing the odd flavors of Spokane crimes. Former police officer Frank Zafiro has spent much of his writing career focusing on slightly strange crimes that could only happen in the Lilac City. Even Jess Walter, who is just as likely to write poignant stories about the struggles of homeless people or sad tales of love and loss, was motivated to write "Over Tumbled Graves", a brilliant novel about chasing a serial killer that also perfectly captures the ambivalence a lot of people felt about living in the area during the Nineties and the desire many young people had back then to move to a bigger city.
Many local authors have works available from Amazon as Kindle ebooks. People in the greater Spokane area who own Kindles, or download the free app from Amazon onto their smart phones, laptops, or other devices can support writers from the community while also saving some money and using fewer natural resources. The eight books featured in this list are intended to serve as a starting point for people who may not be aware of all the great mystery and crime fiction writers living and working in and around Spokane County.