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S.L. Stoner Books In Order

Publication Order of Sage Adair Mysteries Books

Timber Beasts (2009)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Land Sharks (2011)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dry Rot (2013)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Black Drop (2014)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Line (2015)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Mangle (2016)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Slow Burn (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bitter Cry (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Unseen (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

S.L. Stoner
S.L. Stoner is a historical fiction author who has been actively involved in the fight for economic justice. She has teamed up with labor organizations, volunteered in free clinics and prisons in her work, and the FBI has honored her efforts with many pages detailing her activities. Stoner is a firm believer that sometimes, history needs to be repeated for the sake of humanity. This possibly explains why her mysteries come with a good dose of historical information. Stoner’s stories are characterized by ordinary people who refuse to conform and are willing to make sacrifices in order to make a difference.

Timber Beasts
Timber Beasts is the first book in the Sage Adair Mysteries. Set in Portland, Oregon, in 1902, this book introduces John Sagacity Adair, also known as Sage, to his friends. Sage is a restaurateur to the world, but he also works for an anti-capitalist ground undercover. He is determined to expose the financial establishments for trickery on its customers and causing many small businesses to struggle financially. Given the state of the economy, it is unfortunate that the bank chooses to oppress the U.S. citizens. This has been the norm for far too long. However, the president wants to stop the greedy corporations that exploit the law to their advantage, and Sage supports this agenda.

The country is also going through an election. Across the country, the citizens have made it clear that they want to stop the greed and the incoming president promises to make this dream come true. However, Portland is controlled by the wealthy and elites, and there is minimal hope for the poor. You are going to follow Sage through seedy saloons, hobo jungles, and lumber camps where he relentlessly pursues his mission. Sage doesn’t work alone. He has a parlor house madam, a coal miner’s daughter, a local Chinese leader, and Afro-American maître d’ working alongside him. One night in the course of duty, Sage uncovers a timber fraud. On the same night, he is faced with a desperate cry for help. Which of these two cases will Sage pursue?

Sage chooses to settle for the personal case. A friend’s young nephew had been accused of killing a mean railroad guard, so Sage stepped in to help clear that young man’s name. However, while he thought he had avoided the political case, Sage found himself drawn back into its murky waters. The dead railroad guard was connected to the swindles in the timberlands, meaning that Sage has to resolve this mystery to clear this cook’s nephew’s name. The events that follow make Sage question his actions and ability to maintain his humanity in challenging circumstances.

Timber Beasts is a decent mystery that takes you all the way back to the early 1900s. The author has included just the right amount of historical detail without deviating from the main story. All characters are well developed, and it is fun seeing how they interact with corrupt politicians, bankers, and other elites. If you have lived in the Pacific Northwest, this book will feel like a walk down memory lane. There is something satisfying about reading a story where you know all the locations the author talks about. The author’s writing style is remarkable, and the rising tension and fast pace will keep you turning the page—definitely a perfect choice for a historical fiction fan.

Dry Rot
Dry Rot is the third book in the Sage Adair Mysteries. Sage has a lot on his hands and mind. A union leader has been framed for murder, a dead construction boss, collapsing city bridges, and a labor strike that flopped so badly the man starts doubting himself. While dealing with all these, Sage knows that he has to act quickly to resolve the mystery and avoid further killings. He has to slough through the rain and mud in the Pacific Northwest in search of answers with his sidekicks Fong and Mae in tow. How long will it take for him and his team to make headways in this case? Can more deaths be prevented?

This is an intriguing story that will hold your attention from the first page. The writing is smooth, and it is good how the author introduces new details about the different characters in every book. It is also hard to predict what happens next, which adds to the excitement. As Sage continues with his mission, issues about workers and their rights continue to emerge, and it is sad how the bosses treat the workforce. All is not grim as the unions are rising, and their efforts have begun bearing fruits. Sure, there is a lot of resistance, but the rich and elites are noticing that the general population is getting tired, and changes are inevitable for peaceful coexistence.

It is incredible how the author takes real historical events and crafts murder mysteries around them. Reading through this book, you will be amazed at how far the labor has come in about 100 years. The 8-hour workday was a myth a few years back and the workforce today has the worker unions to thank for the current working conditions. Away from history, the murder mystery unfolds well, and it is hard to predict the perpetrators until the last few pages.
Dry Rot is an intriguing book characterized by a solid mystery, great characters, and an exciting storyline. It is surprising how a story about the early 1900s resonates so much with the current political climate. Roy’s writing is clear and straightforward, so it is easy to follow the characters as they try to solve different cases at once. The Portland setting gives the book quite an edge, and the historical details add to the fun and will keep you reading the story to the end. At the end of this book, the author also includes historical notes that give more information on the incidents highlighted in the story. If you love murder mysteries with a hint of history, you should consider getting this book.

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