Recent books published by alumni authors
Murder of a Mafia Daughter
Connected directly to the ongoing news coverage of the death of Susan Berman, Murder of a Mafia Daughter, written by Cathy Scott ’90, is a true-crime story about a path to murder that begins in old Las Vegas with gangsters and the boys from the Jewish mob. It moves to San Francisco with the movers and shakers, to New York City with its literati and ends in Beverly Hills with the glitterati.
The slaying of Susan Berman in the winter of 2000 had all the earmarks of a professional hit aimed at a person born into the Mafia. Or was that just what the killer intended everyone to think, to lead investigators to the assumption that it was a mob hit when it was not? Or was it her best friend Robert Durst who wanted her dead? If it was not a Mafia hit, then who else could have done it? And why? These are the questions Scott pursued in the many years she covered Susan Berman’s murder, looking for evidence, clues, and the who, what and whys of the case. The book also looks into who had motive, means and opportunity. It invariably comes back to one person: Susan’s old friend Robert Durst.
Birding Hot Spots of Santa Fe, Taos and Northern New Mexico
In their second guide to birding in New Mexico, Judy Brodie Liddell ’63 and Barbara Hussey share their experiences and intimate knowledge of the best places to find birds in and around Santa Fe and northern New Mexico.
The authors describe 32 sites organized by geographic regions. Along with a general description of each area, the authors list target birds; explain where and when to look for them; give driving directions; provide information about public transportation, parking, fees, restrooms, food and lodging; and give tips on availability of water, picnic facilities and the presence of hazards such as poison ivy, rattlesnakes and bears. Maps and photographs provide trail diagrams and images of some of the target birds and their environments.
A “helpful information” section covering weather, altitude, safety, transportation and other local birding resources is included along with an annotated checklist of 276 bird species seen with some regularity in and around Santa Fe.
Liddell is a freelance writer, teacher, blogger and board member of Audubon New Mexico and the Central New Mexico Audubon Society as well as president of the New Mexico Audubon Council. Hussey is former president, board member, birding field trip leader and newsletter editor for the Central New Mexico Audubon Society. Liddell and Hussey live in Albuquerque and are coauthors of Birding Hot Spots of Central New Mexico.
Head Case: My Brain and Other Wonders
A spirited, wry and utterly original memoir about one woman’s struggle to make her way and set up a life after doctors discover a hole the size of a lemon in her brain. The summer before she was set to pursue a master’s degree, Cole Cohen ’03 submitted herself to a battery of tests. For as long as she could remember, she’d struggled with a series of learning disabilities that made it nearly impossible to judge time and space—standing at a cross walk, she couldn’t tell you if an oncoming car would arrive in 10 seconds or 30; if you asked her to let you know when 10 minutes passed, she might notify you in a minute or an hour. The tests resulted in a shocking diagnosis: Doctors had found a large hole in her brain responsible for her life-long struggles.
Because there were no established tools to rely on in the wake of this unprecedented and mysterious diagnosis, Cohen and her doctors and family created them and discovered firsthand how best to navigate the unique world Cohen lives in. She tells her story without an ounce of self-pity and plenty of charm and wit, making Head Case a story of triumph.
Mojave Desert Sanctuary
Gary George ’65 recently released the third book, Mojave Desert Sanctuary, in his self-published Smoke Tree series. Lt. Carols Caballo, Aeden Snow and Chemehuevi Joe, characters from the first two Smoke Tree novels, return in Mojave Desert Sanctuary, a fictional tale of desert deception.
Kiko Yoshida works as a keno runner at the Serengeti Casino in Las Vegas while dreaming of a career as a singer and dancer. She catches the eye of a big-time mobster who demands to have her sent to his room. The casino manager promises her a part in “The Flower Drum Song” when it comes to Las Vegas if she will be the mobster’s escort for one evening. Kiko agrees, and within minutes, she realizes she has made a terrible mistake. Soon, she is running for her life with more than half a million dollars of mob money. Where can she go to escape the nationwide reach of Mafia family influence and control? A chance encounter with a desert rancher gives her hope
George’s first book in this series, The House of Three Murders, was a quarterfinalist in the Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Awards (top 100 out of 10,000 entries) and was also a finalist in the Red City Review Fiction contest in 2013.