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Mesa Verde Victim FrontCover

Cover art by Stu Leonard

E-book now available:

by Scott Graham

In a fast-paced tale of deadly intrigue, archaeologist Chuck Bender and his brother-in-law, Clarence Ortega, are falsely accused of murder when Chuck’s files are ransacked and the bullet-riddled body of a longtime archaeologist friend, Barney Keller, is found in Chuck’s back alley. In a quest to clear their names, Chuck and Clarence team with Chuck’s paramedic wife, Janelle Ortega, and their young daughters, tracking the unknown killer first to the hidden reinterment site of a legendary North American mummy north of the mountain town of Durango, Colorado, then to the site of a secretive archaeological dig in rugged Gunnel Canyon on the edge of Mesa Verde National Park. There, they learn of the rumored existence of spiritually significant burial vessels, known as canopic jars, reputedly made by the Ancestral Puebloan people who thrived in the cliff-walled canyons of Mesa Verde a thousand years ago. If the canopic jars exist, the vessels would radically alter the contemporary understanding of Ancestral Puebloan culture, making them invaluable—and perhaps worth killing over. 

August 2020 | Mystery | 978-1-948814-23-2| 200 pp | $15.95 



SCOTT GRAHAM is the author of the acclaimed National Park Mystery series, featuring archaeologist Chuck Bender and Chuck’s spouse Janelle Ortega. In addition to the National Park Mystery series, Scott is the author of five nonfiction books, including Extreme Kids, winner of the National Outdoor Book Award. Scott is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys backpacking, river rafting, skiing, and mountaineering. He has made a living as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, radio disk jockey, and coal-shoveling fireman on the steam-powered Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. He lives with his spouse, who is an emergency physician, in Durango, Colorado. 

Author Website

Cover art by David Jonason

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“Graham educates while he entertains, writing with contagious enthusiasm . . . Evocative prose conjures vivid images of the tale’s breathtaking backdrop.”


“An expert look at the great outdoors seamlessly incorporated with a focus on the hero’s family.”


 “Agreeable characters are enhanced by beautiful landscape descriptions and intriguing local lore. Fans will be rewarded.”


“For readers who appreciate history mixed with natural wonders in a fast-paced book. Fans of Mary Anna Evans’s archaeological mysteries will enjoy this series.”


"Not only will readers be treated to a tense, convoluted plot populated by colorful characters, but to a treasure trove of information about the archaeological wealth to be found in Durango and Mesa Verde."


“An absorbing archaeological mystery, rich in historical detail and local atmosphere. With its colorful characters and fast-paced plot, Mesa Verde Victim is a fascinating find.”

AUSMA ZEHANAT KHAN, author of A Deadly Divide


“A stunning national park, enchanting local lore, and fascinating archaeology—it’s all there in Mesa Verde Victim. Scott Graham’s latest standout thriller is as full of twists and turns as a mountain road.”

C. C. HARRISON, author of Death by G-String: A Coyote Canyon Mystery


 “In Mesa Verde Victim, long-buried secrets are unearthed in a timeless and riveting tale of greed and plundered history set amid the majesty of one of the Southwest’s most beautiful national parks.”

ROGER JOHNS, award-winning author of River of Secrets

"An entertaining read; a satisfying page-turner that will not be easy to set aside."


“Masterfully plotted in confident prose, Arches Enemy is not only an adventurous and fascinating mystery you can’t put down, it delivers important insight on ancestral cultures and their sacred lands. Only a truly gifted novelist is able to keep a reader turning pages while imparting extensive knowledge about the people, the landscape, and the park system.”
CHRISTINE CARBO, author of A Sharp Solitude 


”A glorious portrait of one of the most compelling landscapes on earth. Graham clearly knows the territory. A topnotch read.”
WILLIAM KENT KRUEGER, New York Times bestselling author of Sulfur Springs


“Filled with murder and mayhem, jealousy and good detective work—an exciting, nonstop read.”

ANNE HILLERMAN, New York Times bestselling author of Cave of Bones


“One part mystery, one part mysticism, one part mayhem—and all parts thrilling.”

CRAIG JOHNSON, New York Times bestselling author of Depth of Winter


“A winning blend of archaeology and intrigue, Graham’s series turns our national parks into places of equal parts beauty, mystery, and danger.”
EMILY LITTLEJOHN, author of Lost Lake 


“This zippy tale uses lush descriptions of natural beauty and twisted false leads to create an exciting, rewarding puzzle.”



“As always, the highlight of Graham’s National Park Mystery Series is his extensive knowledge of the parks system, its lands, and its people.” 


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