Readers following the exploits of Archer MacClehan had a to wait nine years, but author Sandy Compton of Heron says it won’t be as long for the third and fourth installments, both have already been started.
Compton published the first novel of the series in 2005. That tale, Archer MacClehan and the Hungry Now relates an adventure through the wilds of Montana and encounters with Number Seven, a grizzly bear known as the Hungry Now and the bruin is constantly trying to satisfy his insatiable appetite.
MacClehan is a pilot and former smoke jumper and as the lead in a hiking trip, he sometimes takes his followers into dangerous circumstances.
An exciting read, it ends with readers wanting more. Volume 2 of the series, released in 2014 by Compton’s Blue Creek Press, tells the story of a pair of recently wealthy but estranged techies whose life changes drastically when their daughter is kidnapped for ransom while on a hike in the southwest.
Archer is called to help due to a relationship with the grandfather of the missing girl. The impending search brings him back to Sara, a woman he met and befriended in the first book.
The Girl Who Wouldn’t Stop Running, brings the tales of Archer into the modern age, as cell phones and texting play into the mystery of how the kidnappers seem to know the team’s strategy in solving the caper.
And like the first book, there’s no shortage of suspense. Opal Skladany, the kidnapped girl, is an avid runner and athlete and sharp in her wits as she deals with her predicament. Compton’s prose hits its stride in the book as he combines a style of short chapters with illustrative maps and well composed descriptions.
“Two dark shapes appeared in the south and Archer recognized them as birds rowing their way through the air,…”
As Archer searches for clues and a solution to the mystery, he has a vision that includes a coral snake, vultures, arrows and a vision from a wise elder. All of the images come into play as Archer quest and the mystery unfold.
As in most goodmysteries, the story takes some unexpected twists and despite a reader’s expectation that everything turns out well, the conclusion is not exactly as one would expect.
To the reader’s delight, Archer and Sara come closer together, continuing a friendship that started in the first book. And with that relationship blossoming, and their friends Tom and Jesse at the ready, the stage is set for the next adventure.
Compton says books three and four of the Archer MacClehan series are under way and he promises his fans it won’t be another nine years for the next installment.
Asked how he comes up with his story plots, just as in the story, Compton said he had a dream much like Archer’s vision. He was on a trip in the southwest with his mom and in a journal he kept, a scene came to mind of a woman trying to get a man to an airport. In that vision, he said the woman became Sara and the man became Archer. But instead of Sara becoming the central character, an extension of the vision put Archer into the lead.
“I try not to push my characters around,” he said, “I put them in a situation and see what they do. I’m not sure if that’s a gift or a curse,” he quipped.
His system works and we found the latest edition of Archer’s adventure hard to put down and eagerly await the sequel.
“My characters actually present themselves to me,” he said, in true story telling mode, he relates. “I seem to have a very good imagination.”
In the meantime, he’s published several other books, including Side Trips From Cowboy: Addiction, Recovery and the Western American Myth (non-fiction), Jason’s Passage, The Friction of Desire and Caleb’s Miracle.(all fiction.)
He also recently released The Scenic Route, a compilation of columns he wrote over the years for the River Journal.
Compton’s books are available on Amazon and at Blue Creek Press.