As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. >> Click here for more SunLit

This week’s bookstore: Poor Richard’s Books & Gifts, 320 N. Tejon St., Colorado Springs

The Colony

By  Sally Denton
 Liveright Publishing Corporation
June 2022

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From the publisher: On the morning of November 4, 2019, an unassuming caravan of women and children was ambushed by masked gunmen on a desolate stretch of road in northern Mexico controlled by the Sinaloa drug cartel. Firing semi-automatic weapons, the attackers killed nine people and gravely injured five more. The victims were members of the LeBaron and La Mora communities—fundamentalist Mormons whose forebears broke from the LDS Church and settled in Mexico when their religion outlawed polygamy in the late 19th century. In “The Colony,” bestselling investigative journalist Sally Denton picks up where the initial, incomplete reporting on the attacks ended, and delves into the complex story of the LeBaron clan. A mesmerizing feat of investigative journalism, the book doubles as an unforgettable account of sisterhood that can flourish in polygamist communities, against the odds

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator:  Sally Denton does a remarkable job sorting through vast, overwhelming and endless events to present a true-life telling and, the unsettling back story, of the horrific deaths of nine members of a Mormon sect in Mexico. With vivid attention to details, the reader learns of the complicated and long history of the LeBaron clan. We witness how the tenuous uneasy relationship between the residents of Colonia LeBaron, the surrounding Mexican drug cartels and the local population unravels which results in mistrust and more death. The pure ungodly violence that the members of the community put upon one another in the name of grace is astounding. This is a crime family hidden behind the cloak of “godliness.”

This book gives us insight into the harsh realities of fundamental Mormons and their treatment of women. We get just a glimpse of the complexities and workings of plural marriages and for this reason we admire the strength and courage of these people. It’s a complicated story, there are heroes and villains, sometimes they are the same person.

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The House in the Cerulean Sea

By TJ Klune
Tor Books

December 2022

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From the publisher: Linus Baker is a by-the-book caseworker in the Department in Charge of Magical Youth. He’s tasked with determining whether six dangerous magical children are likely to bring about the end of the world. Arthur Parnassus is the master of the orphanage. He would do anything to keep the children safe, even if it means the world will burn. And his secrets will come to light. “The House in the Cerulean Sea” is an enchanting love story, masterfully told, about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator:  Linus Baker isn’t one to take chances with things, particularly his humdrum life. He is good at his job at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, great at keeping his head down and just plainly existing. When Linus is dispatched to a remote island orphanage for a highly secret mission, his world completely upends. There he finds six rather dangerous and mysterious wards, each one with special gifts that are so vexing it’s understandable why they are sequestered.

Over the course of time he spends on the island, Linus grows into “living”…and loving. This is a story of growth, questioning and becoming who one is. The characters that author TJ Klune created are amusing, fabulous and quirky. Each one of them has a message for us, it’s up to us to listen and hear it.

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By  Michael McGarrity
W. W. Norton & Company
November 2019

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From the publisher: A long-unsolved missing person’s case becomes a homicide investigation when the bones of the girlfriend of now retired Santa Fe Police Chief Kevin Kerney are unearthed forty-five years after her disappearance. And he is now the main suspect.

From Jeffery Payne, Book Department Coordinator:  In this book, the 13th in the Kevin Kerney series, the focus is on Kerney and his first true love who went missing decades ago. When the body is found, clues point to Kerney and he does his mightiest to find the actual killer. The tenacity and love for his family drives him for the truth.

Michael McGarrity’s writing wonderfully captures the true mood and essence of northern New Mexico and those who live there. His experience as a psychotherapist and law officer shine through as we are taken through complicated motives and clues. The slow build and pacing allow us to fully understand and appreciate all the characters inside and out. The conclusion is surprising and leaves us ready to read the next book in this great series.

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This byline is used for articles and guides written collaboratively by The Colorado Sun reporters, editors and producers.