One of the best things about discovering a writer you like early in that writer’s career is to watch him mature as a writer from good (he must have been good because you liked him from the get-go) to very good. Dennis Koller has followed exactly that trajectory. I discovered Dennis when I got hold of a copy of his first book, The Oath (Tom McGuire Mystery), a remarkably prescient book that he published in 2000. When I reviewed it in 2014, I couldn’t get over how closely the book paralleled some issues that appeared during the Obama presidency.
As a courtesy, I sent a link to my review to Dennis, who is a Bay Area native and placed parts of the book quite near the area in which I grew up. He wrote back, I responded, and before I knew it, I’d made a wonderful new friend. He is everything I like in a man and an author: well-informed, upbeat, enthusiastic, highly principled, funny (on purpose), and married to a wonderful, beautiful woman whom he adores. He is also endlessly imaginative. For him, everything is fodder for a book.
It was therefore no surprise to me that I also enjoyed Dennis’s imaginative second book, Kissed By The Snow, which I reviewed here. It should that Dennis’s ability to come up with a really clever, often thought-provoking MacGuffin, and then carry a strong plot around it, wasn’t an accident in his first book — all with a little history on the side.
Dennis is now on the verge of publishing his third book — The Custer Conspiracy — and I was fortunate enough to get a review copy. I’m sure it won’t surprise any of you if I say that I liked the third book every bit as much as I liked the first two, and for precisely the same reasons: deft, uncomplicated writing; easy, natural dialog; clever plotting; likeable characters (if they’re on the side of truth, justice, and the American way); a strong narrative flow with an exciting conclusion; and some fun nods to current news that will probably intrigue and delight informed conservative readers.