Recommended Reads: Set in Anchorage, Hemlock Needle an icy thriller

Hemlock Needle by Keenan Powell

The most recent book in the Maeve Malloy Legal Thriller series finds the adroit attorney under investigation herself in Anchorage, Alaska. She’s been advised not to take on any cases until her own is settled. And depending on how it’s settled, she may not be allowed to take on cases ever again.

While under pressure to prove her own innocence she makes a pro bono exception that tugs at her heart, to help find a missing Yup’ik Eskimo chief financial officer who is a single mother. Is this a partying woman who’s wandered off with the wrong crowd? Or did danger lurk in her business life, or personal history?

Maeve Malloy and her strong-willed investigator Tom are driven to solve this case on behalf of the dear 7-year-old son Evan, whom the mother has left behind. And as the mystery grows, it looks like young Evan’s life is in danger. Maeve’s strong desire to help is admirable, but the unexpected leaves her skating on thin Alaskan ice, and it’s cracking under the weight of legal entanglements and dangerous murderers.

Keenan Powell has authored an action thriller that incorporates poignant descriptions of Alaskan scenery, its extreme conditions, and residents’ lifestyles. This loving, illustrative account is vivid, crisp, clear, and a fascinating glimpse into what life is like in Anchorage, including the positive and the difficult. The action builds quickly and this book is truly an exciting read. The clues discovered during the investigation are presented for the reader to attempt solving the mystery before Maeve Malloy. The very diverse array of characters driving the story, their actions, and motives are artistically molded by this author, showing compelling insights into human nature.

Keenan Powell writes murder mysteries because, as she says, “I love mystery best. Only in mystery do you have the puzzle, the game played between writer and reader. The writer plants clues and red herrings in what she hopes is an enjoyable story. The reader pits herself against the writer to figure out whodunit.” Keenan Powell lives in Anchorage, and has practiced in many areas of law in private practice — civil, criminal, administrative and appeals. Earlier in her career, she defended criminal cases including murder charges. She still maintains a practice in Anchorage.

In addition to this series, she authors other published works including short stories and a blog. Find out more on her website at

And if you want to hear more from the author during her interview about the first book in this series, Deadly Solution, listen at Kendall & Cooper Talk Mysteries with Keenan Powell.

— By Wendy Kendall

Wendy Kendall is a writer, project manager and volunteer at the Edmonds Library. She’s enjoyed living in Edmonds for over 20 years. Follow her via her blog here or on Twitter @wendywrites1.

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