Fall in Denver (Em Hansen Series #2)

Fall in Denver (Em Hansen Series #2)

by Sarah Andrews

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The first Em Hansen novel, Tensleep, represented a winning combination of technical expertise, ecology and crime. In A Fall in Denver, geologist Em Hansen swaps her blue jeans for corporate attire as she enters the world of upper management--where things are not quite what they appear to be.


The first Em Hansen novel, Tensleep, represented a winning combination of technical expertise, ecology and crime. In A Fall in Denver, geologist Em Hansen swaps her blue jeans for corporate attire as she enters the world of upper management--where things are not quite what they appear to be.

Editorial Reviews

Edward Neuert

In the mystery genre, where the usual suspects, flatfoots, and set-pieces have been mixed and matched for more than a century, a reader (still) welcomes any chance to get away from the private eye's office with its bottle of Jim Beam aging in the filing cabinet. So perhaps it's not surprising that Sarah Andrews earned a fair amount of attention for Tensleep, her first novel, which introduced sleuthing to the oil fields of wide-open Wyoming -- in the person of one Emily "Em" Hansen, geologist-in-training and mud slogger (which is a slim notch above roustabout). It was a case of The Big Sleep meets The Big Sky, and a charming combination.

In her new book, A Fall in Denver, Andrews has shifted the scene, and promoted Em to a full-fledged geologist's job where the real oil business takes place -- at the home office in a slim glass-and-steel Denver skyscraper. It's late September, and quickly apparent that fall in this western city is no autumn in New York. There's a disturbing series of suspicious suicides, for one thing; oilmen in Em's building are crashing through the plate glass and falling thicker than aspen leaves on the sidewalks below. Is this just a mixture of despair and unoriginality, or a resurgence of that deliciously medieval murder method, defenestration?

The answer to that question is a very long time coming; Andrew's general pacing here gives you perhaps too much insight into the term geological time. It may take several million years to turn a forest into a puddle of light sweet crude, but it needn't have taken Andrews more than half this book before making it clear that murder has occurred, and the game is afoot. That slow drift into action, and the excessively detailed first-person narrative that accompanies it, make A Fall in Denver fairly laborious. Time for this self-professed cowgirl from Chungwater, Wyoming to light out for the territory. Home, Em, is where the suspense is. -- Salon

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Geologist/amateur detective Em Hansen, a lowly mudlogger in Tensleep, is struggling up the professional ladder in her second appearance. On her first day at Denver's Blackfeet Oil, where she's just been hired as a geologist, a body falls past the 12th-floor office window of CEO Josiah Carberry Menken-who's only momentarily distracted from the saccharine welcome spiel he's flinging at Em. For Em, who's more comfortable on a horse than at a desk, this is a fitting introduction to corporate culture, which continues to baffle her. She wonders why she's been assigned to evaluate the pros and cons of drilling a particular field when colleague Pete Tutaraitis is clearly more qualified; and she wonders what drove Gerald Luftweiller to throw himself through some very thick glass on the 16th floor. Then, after awkwardly trying to alert Em to some danger, a co-worker hurtles to his death from the same building. The author's scientific explanations make geology come to life; Em's first-person narrative gives the prose added punch. With this clich-free plot and memorable supporting players-notably foul-tongued colleague Maddy McNutt; gnomic detective Ortega; and the wily Mencken-Andrews solidly establishes her series. (Dec.)
Library Journal
Emily "Em" Hansen, Tensleep's (LJ 5/1/94) Wyoming oil-rig "mudlogger," goes to work in the main office of Blackfeet Oil in Denver. Strange things begin to happen immediately: at least two men leap to "suicidal" deaths from her high-rise office building; most of Em's co-workers ignore her; and a particularly successful oil field is shrouded in mystery. Em gathers information, falls for a hunky but secretive senior geologist, and yearns for the tomboy life of Wyoming. Andrews has honed her narrative skills to concoct a nicely complicated plot with an appealing heroine. Recommended.
Emily Melton
Em Hansen, former oil-field roustabout, has a new job as a geologist for the prestigious Denver firm of Blackfeet Oil. Scarcely able to believe her good fortune in securing a well-paying job where her talents and education will be put to good use, Em quickly finds things turning sour when she's given nothing to do, the rest of the staff treats her coldly, and in her first week on the job, two men leap to their death from the sixteenth floor of the Blackfeet Oil building. The only bright spot in Em's unsettling life is Pete Tutaraitis, one of the higher-ups at Blackfeet, who seems to be reciprocating Em's strong attraction to him. Unfortunately, Pete is married--and his wife is an old school friend of Em's. When Em finds a connection between the two "suicides," some missing oil-field maps, and Pete Tutaraitis, she decides to investigate. Andrews has written a gripping, original mystery, and Em Hansen is an intelligent, appealing heroine. A fine choice for all collections.

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Em Hansen Series , #2
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.84(h) x 0.72(d)

Meet the Author

Sarah Andrews is an American author and geologist known for her mystery novels. Her background in geology has informed much of her work as a mystery novelist. Andrew’s most famous series features forensic geologist Em Hansen. She began writing the Em Hansen mysteries in 1994 with her book Tensleep. In 2005 she was awarded a grant by the National Science Foundation to study glaciers in Antarctica.

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