“Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire”

By Margaret Regan

(Beacon Press. $25.95)

Tucson journalist Margaret Regan puts a human face on the plight of the undocumented in this riveting account of human suffering on our doorstep. Regan, who writes for the Tucson Weekly, relates the stories of the real people behind the government statistics and describes in heartbreaking detail what it looks like when you lose it all. Splintered families, lost livelihoods, children swallowed up in the CPS maze, and ineffectual government agencies working at cross purposes are common themes, but perhaps most disturbing is the fact that incarceration is a growth industry in the Southwest. The greater the number of detainees in detention centers, the fatter the profits of the privately-owned prisons housing them. Their prosperity comes at a price measured in anguish, and Regan posits that it’s a price we should not pay.

— Helene Woodhams

“The Daughters”

By Adrienne Celt

(Liveright Publishing, $24.95)

Lu is cursed, as the women before her, through her great-grandmother Greta who traded her soul for a daughter — nourishing the girl in her belly with song and stories. Raised on family fables by her nana, Lu learns the importance of female voices and musical narrative and how loss accompanies desires fulfilled. She gains renown as an opera singer, but is unable to sing when the difficult birth of her daughter and death of her grandmother coincide. There is a price for all gifts received, after all. Filled with lyricism and imagery, this stunning debut novel by the Tucsonan is sure to delight fans of magical realism.

— Vicki Ann Duraine

“Cowboy Jose and Pinteroo”

By Ann Anovitz; illustrated by Dave Grimm

(Richer Press, $10.87)

Ridiculed by the horse herd for his spots, Pinteroo, a lonely pinto pony meets Wigga Poo — a friendly green lizard — and Cowboy Jose. Recognizing Pinteroo’s potential, Cowboy Jose teaches the pony rodeo events. After winning with the fastest times, Pinteroo prances around the arena to thunderous applause, no longer feeling alone. The bilingual tale by Anovitz, a Tucson real estate agent, includes charming illustrations and coloring pages of Pinteroo and all of his new friends.

— Vicki Ann Duraine

“Lim Couch: Arizona Cowboy”

By Jerry Harris

(Arena Publishing, $15.49)

After 5-year-old Lim’s mother leaves for Las Vegas, his father takes the boy and moves to the Circle S Ranch in Sonoita. So begins Lim’s education and passion for the land and the livestock that travel it. This novel reads like a pair of well-worn boots—steeped in the cowboy and ranching vernacular. Harris, a lawyer who retired to Tucson several years ago, knows his way around a horse.

— Vicki Ann Duraine


By Susan Cummins Miller

(Texas Tech University Press. $29.95)

A murderous stalker, a psychotic polygamist and a group of monkey-wrenchers bent on eco-terrorism are on the loose in the Grand Canyon, and they’re making Frankie McFarlane’s Colorado River rafting trip a turbulent affair. It’s exactly the wild and rocky ride we’ve come to expect from Tucson author and former field geologist Miller, who sets her compulsively-readable mysteries against the background of the Southwest’s natural wonders. This is her sixth outing featuring geologist and amateur sleuth Frankie McFarlane, and it’s a smart, savvy read.

— Helene Woodhams

“Grey Beginning”

By L. J. Boles

(Archway Publishing; $12.99)

Grey is an adolescent dreamer, disinclined to learn survival skills from her clan’s elders. Instead, she has to acquire them the hard way on her “journey of learning,” a coming-of-age trek through the threatening landscape that is her dystopian world. An omniscient narrator relays Grey’s wilderness escapades; the book’s characters themselves do not converse, which renders them curiously flat and one-dimensional. Author Boles is a poet and artist who lives in Arizona; this is her first novel.

— Helene Woodhams

“Kona, Hawaii: Walking Alii Drive”

By Stuart Watkins

(CreateSpace. $10.98)

Tucson author Stuart Watkins delights in spending time on the Hawaiian Island of Kona, meandering along Alii Drive. And as much as he enjoys the spectacular ocean view, Watkins takes particular pleasure in the oddities and artwork with which the residents of Alii Drive decorate their homes, gates and mailboxes. With this self-published book of charmingly-captioned photos taken while strolling along his favorite street, Watkins hopes to make visitors to Kona aware of the unique and idiosyncratic displays they’ll miss along Alii Drive if they spend too much time watching the surf.

— Helene Woodhams

“Solving Problems in Manufacturing”

By Greg Ferguson

(Death Angel Press. $24.95 hardcover; $9.95 Kindle)

During his 30 years as a systems engineer, Tucsonan Ferguson realized he was more successful as a trainer when he used illustrative case studies, rather than dry, theoretical lectures. With “Solving Problems in Manufacturing,” Ferguson employs this coaching approach, using case studies to show how his tools can be applied in a sequential way to solve problems. As promised, the narrative is not dry. Ferguson’s style is conversational — even folksy — and there’s an element of reminiscence to it (he’s not afraid to recall his own mistakes, or to describe how a pair of Faraday cans put him in “hog heaven”). This is the first of three volumes.

— Helene Woodhams

If you are a Southern Arizona author and would like your book to be included in this column, please send a copy to: Inger Sandal, 4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714. Give the price and a contact name.