Synopses & Reviews
“We are taught that our middle class came from the heroic lives and deaths of ordinary workers. Most authors ignore that historical fact. Stoner’s Sage Adair mystery gives us back our history in a hard-to-put-down deeply satisfying and entertaining adventure.” –Ross K. Rieder, President, Pacific NW Labor History Association
“Stoner has created a fast-paced western tale of murder, corruption and its exposure by an engaging hero. All strata of society come to life from the rich to day laborers.” --Joel Rosenblit, Union Lawyer and Labor Educator
“A delightful and entertaining mystery that is fast-paced, realistic and serves as a lesson that money and power corrupted men a century ago as it does today. I found myself eager to read the next page, the next chapter.” -- Jason Reynolds, Executive Director, Consumer Justice Alliance
“Stoner knowingly evokes early 20th century Portland through a detective story of murder, skillfully developed against a gripping (and true) background of class war and the Oregon Timber Fraud Ring.” –Michael Munk, author of The Portland Red Guide: Sites and Stories from Our Radical Past
A secret operative in America’s 1902 labor movement, leading a double life that balances precariously on the knife-edge of discovery, finds his mission entangled with the fate of a young man accused of murder.
The U.S. economy is in shambles. The ordinary citizen is slipping in his battle for family survival. The incoming president denounces the financial shenanigans of speculators and vows to regulate the greed of those who have precipitated the disaster. Vast acres of national forest and a plethora of small businesses are in a life and death struggle against corporate powerhouses skilled at making and exploiting the law. In ballot boxes across the country, the progressive vision has been ratified, promising a counter-offensive against decades of corporate control. The year is 1902.
Within an historical context eerily reflective of the current day, John Sagacity Adair, Sage to his friends, is determined to expose the chicanery of the financial establishment. He works secretly on behalf of the growing labor movement, pursuing his mission into hobo jungles, lumber camps, seedy saloons and the drawing rooms of the rich. Fighting beside him are a parlor house madam, a leader in the local Chinese tong, an Appalachian coal-miner's daughter and an Afro-American maitre d who shows more class than the people he serves.
On the night Sage uncovers a potential timber fraud, he is also faced with a cry for help. A brutal railroad guard has been murdered and his friend's young nephew must be cleared of the crime. Faced with the choice between pursuing the personal or the political, Sage chooses the personal only to find himself led straight back to the political. Events cause Sage to question how he will maintain his humanity and hope over the course of what promises to be a life long struggle.
Winner of the 2010 Indie Book Award for Best Mystery
About the Author
Susan Stoner, writing as S.L. Stoner, is a native Oregonian who works full time as a labor union lawyer. Like that of her series hero, Sage Adair, her life has tended toward the adventurous. She has worked in skid road bars, Las Vegas casinos, free clinics and as a prisoners' advocate, psychology center videographer and federal judge's intern. Besides living in Portland, Oregon, Susan has also lived in a forest lean-to, a Sikh home in Singapore, alongside an alligator-infested Louisiana bayou, inside a sweltering Las Vegas tent, in a camper atop a 65 International pick-up truck as well as in a variety of more traditional abodes. She was a participant in Portland's original neighborhood movement and has since been involved in citizen activism, most recently by filing and winning a lawsuit to preserve Portland' s soon-to-be destroyed historical open reservoirs (one of those win the battle, lose the war experiences). She lives with her husband and dogs in Southeast Portland when they are not traveling or hanging out in the great Cascade forests. One of her passions is historical research, particularly that involving original source material. The third book in the Sage Adair series, Dry Rot
, will be released in June 2013. The fourth book, Black Drop
, awaits final editing and a fifth, Dead Line,
is well on its way. All are based on true events in Pacific Northwest history.