Veteran journalist Michael Virtanen has published his second suspense novel set in the Adirondacks, a prequel to his award-winning "Within a Forest Dark."
In "The River's Tale," Alison Reade flees to the Adirondacks to escape an obsessive boyfriend. She moves into her aunt's cabin on an isolated stretch of the Hudson River, lands a job as a rafting guide, and starts to fall in love with her charismatic boss. Life is good-until she discovers that the Adirondacks are not the safe haven she thought they were.
Jack Kirkland, the main character in "Within a Forest Dark," reappears in the new novel as an insurance examiner investigating a drowning in the Hudson Gorge. "Within a Forest Dark" won the Adirondack Center for Writing's award for best fiction of 2007.
Both novels are infused with Virtanen's knowledge and love of the Adirondacks. As he notes in "The River's Tale:" "This is a work of fiction. The extraordinary places are there. The characters, while inspired by extraordinary people in those places, are not."
Published by Lost Pond Press, "The River's Tale" was launched with a book signing at Schenectady County Community College on May 1. English teachers at the college have used Virtanen's first novel in their reading and writing classes.
Virtanen usually reports on state politics and courts in Albany, but he also has written numerous articles about the Adirondacks that have appeared in newspapers throughout the country as well as in Adirondack Life and Adirondack Explorer. On one memorable assignment, he got frostbite while skiing through the High Peaks Wilderness, but he has lost none of his zest for outdoor adventure.
"The River's Tale" ($14.95) and "Within a Forest Dark" ($11.95) can be purchased on the Lost Pond Press website: lostpondpress.wordpress.com. Both are softcover.
Lost Pond Press is owned by Saranac Lake resident Phil Brown. The book was designed by Susan Bibeau, also of Saranac Lake. The book's cover photo, of the Hudson Gorge, was taken by Carl Heilman II.