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Em Hansen Books In Order

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Publication Order of Em Hansen Mystery Books

Focusing on mystery novels the American writer Sarah Andrews has approached the format from a purely science based stance. Being a geologist by trade she incorporates a lot of her learning and ideas into her work, taking it to another level and giving it a keen sense of accuracy it wouldn’t otherwise have had. Understanding the art-form, she has also become highly adept at creating engaging and entertaining stories with characters that resonate with her readers. One such series that exemplifies this is that of her ongoing Em Hansen series, which has been running for a number of years now. Charting the case-files of one Em Hansen, it tells of her various investigations as a forensic geologist working and operating throughout the state of Wyoming in America. It also manages to build her as a character over the course of novels, creating a strong and resourceful individual who is both intelligent and human, something which her many readers have come to appreciate over the years.

Running for a total of eleven books so far, the last one being published back in 2011, this has proven to be a highly successful series so far. Starting back in 1994, the books were brought out at a fairly regular and consistent pace, each title offering a stand-alone mystery for Hansen to solve. This allowed the series to build a sense of momentum with its readers throughout the years, as they became familiar with the character and her world.


Originally published in 1994 through the Signet publishing label, this was to be the first in the ongoing series of Em Hansen novels. Setting up the premise and the main character, it establishes a lot of the key themes of the novel, as well as the world. With its own distinct mystery for the forensic geologist Em Hansen to solve, it sees her in action for the first time and shows the reader what it’s all about.

The main function of this particular book is to set the overall series up, with it’s many overarching themes and ideas. Not just introducing the main character, it also introduces the world that it’s set within, giving it the foundations to work itself up from. It also manages to create a strong sense of style as well, allowing it to flourish, giving an idea of what’s to follow in the books to come. The character of Em Hansen herself is a resourceful and iconic one, as she is a strong and single-minded individual who will do whatever it takes to crack the case. Coming from an extremely specialized field working in geology, she understands and has expertise unlike any other working on the force. This allows her to be a highly unique and distinctive leading protagonist, as Andrews puts some of her own expertise into the character as well. With a strong rural feel to it as well, this manages to create a feel for what it’s like living in the great expanses of America. Setting it in Wyoming Andrews really gets the tone right, as she conjures up a sense of isolation to the place and all its dwellers. Obviously having a keen eye for this sort of town it manages to provide the reader with a good visual of the area, something which she explores through her detailed descriptions.

Taking place in Wyoming, specifically in the quiet town of Meeteetse, there doesn’t seem to be much going on on the surface. Getting their income from the oil fields nearby they all make a modest income, which is where Em Hansen comes in as she works tracking the oil’s progress. Working on the oil rig there she usually blends into the background, that is until she notices that some of the drilling files are missing, and someone will do whatever it takes to prevent her from finding out more. Will she be able to discover the truth? Why does the chief engineer Ed Meyer keep harassing her? What will she find in Tensleep?

A Fall in Denver

Once again brought out through the Signet publishing house, this was released in 1995 just one year after the first. Following on directly from the previous novel, this manages to continue the action in much the same vein as before. With the character of Em Hansen already having been introduced as well, it manages to further develop her story and her world.

Within this book are the many themes and ideas that were set-up and made so prevalent in the first title of the series. Working as a direct follow-up to the previous book it manages to provide another case-file for the eponymous investigator, as well as building up her character. Allowing the big ideas to come through once again as well, Andrews is definitely not a writer who is nervous about giving it her own voice. Returning once more having already made her initial impact in the previous title, Em Hansen goes back to doing what she does best; solving cases. This time she has another case-file that will really test her skills to the limit, giving her a challenge unlike any that she’s had before. Still the strong and quick witted individual that she ever was, she manages to meet the demands of the challenge placed upon her. This time set in the city of Denver, Andrews manages to take action up a level, as she broadens its sense of overall scope. Almost becoming a character in of itself, she never falters once again in her descriptions of the city and how it works. Giving it a sense of excitement as well, she really brings the story to life through her evocative descriptions and stylish writing.

Heading to the corporate headquarters of Blackfeet Oil in Denver this time, Em Hansen finds herself rising up the ranks. Everything there seems larger than life with all the high-flyers, and she feels a little in over her head at first there. Not only that, but there are strange goings on there, including a twenty-seven year old accountant plummeting to his death. Why is everyone acting so oddly there? Is there a ruthless killer on the loose and was the death really a suicide? What will become of a fall in Denver?

The Em Hansen Series

Not only understanding her field of expertise in geology extremely well, Sarah Andrews has managed to create a highly entertaining series overall. The character of Em Hansen is very well realised and resonates on a human level with her readers, making none of her knowledge arcane or inaccessible for them to follow. With more and more readers discovering this character everyday, it looks like the legacy of the character will live on, as it is a series that is showing no signs of stopping any time soon.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Em Hansen

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