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Books: Murder on the Arkansas

Saturday, local author Beth Groundwater appears at The Next Page Bookstore in Frisco for a book signing event for her new title “Deadly Currents.”

As an avid “river rat” in the 1980s, running whitewater rivers in the eastern U.S. in an open canoe, she’s enjoying reacquainting herself with the boating subculture and its updated boating equipment while researching the Rocky Mountain Adventures mystery series.

The story is based in Salida, where the Arkansas River pumps life into the local economy. It’s also in the blood of 27-year-old Mandy Tanner, a river ranger. The plot unfolds with a whitewater rafting accident in which Tanner attempts a rescue, but the victim dies anyway.

Turns out it wasn’t the rapids that killed rich landowner Tom King. It was poison. King’s character is one with bitter business rivals, cheats on his wife, refuses to support his kayak-obsessed son and infuriates environmentalists.

As she helps the local sheriff’s department solve the murder, something happens closer to home involving her Uncle Bill, an owner of a known and liked outfitting business and the person out of whose raft Tom King fell. The story follows Tanner as she follows the mysterious and dangerous trail.

This is the first in the series, released on March 8. Groundwater is also the author of “A Real Basketcase,” released in 2011.

She recently appeared as the honored guest in the parade for FIBArk (First in Boating on the Arkansas) whitewater festival in Salida, because she features the town and its event in her new book.

Each time she holds a book signing, Groundwater aims to have a portion of proceeds benefit a water-related nonprofit. When she was in Washington, D.C., she opted for American Rivers. In Frisco, the beneficiary is the Gore Range chapter of Trout Unlimited.

“Maybe I’ll even gain them some new members, since they seem to be struggling,” she said.

Groundwater lives in Breckenridge with her husband part-time, though they’ve been looking to sell their Colorado Springs house for about two years.

Learn more about the book and its author at http://bethgroundwater.com or bethgroundwater.blogspot.com.