Nelson Riis, author of the crime-fiction Foothills Justice, is ReadersMagnet’s Author of the Week. Let’s get to know more about him.
My name is Nelson Riis. Both of my parents were from Norway, and I grew up in the small town of Longview in SW Alberta, Canada. It was an idyllic childhood of unlimited freedom. Here was my first introduction to Indigenous People since an Indian Reserve was situated near the town. Each Saturday, they would arrive to shop, riding their ponies and riding in horse-drawn buggies. As a kid, I would ride my bike to meet them and ride back into town, either with one of them on their horse or with a family in their buggy.
Eventually, I left Longview to study at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C., where I graduated with a degree in Education and taught elementary, junior high, and senior high school. After a few years of teaching, I returned for a Master’s Degree at UBC. I became a charter faculty member at today’s Thompson Rivers University, teaching geography and serving as Chair of the Social Sciences Department. I was elected to City Council and later as a school trustee during this time. Five years later, I was elected to the Parliament of Canada, where I served for twenty years. During this time, I visited and spent time in all parts of Canada and the United States, as well as in South America, Europe, North Africa, Russia, China, India, Australia, New Zealand, and throughout South and East Asia.
During these years, I had a varied and rather eclectic part-time work experience holding down such jobs as deckhand, cowboy, timber cruiser, farmhand, refinery worker, plywood mill worker, cedar mill worker, insurance salesman, lobbyist, sawmill worker, fur trapper, grocery store clerk, funeral home employee, commercial fisherman, author, weekly TV host, newspaper columnist, cocktail waiter, beekeeper, forest firefighter, businessman and co-founder of a housing company and a mining exploration venture. These working experiences were valuable in my career as a politician and writer.
During these years, the challenges facing ordinary people became amplified to me. I wanted to bring them and their solutions to the general public’s attention, but how to do that was unclear. Simply writing a book would have limited appeal, and then it hit me. Write about these issues in a novel using an interesting human story. That will be how to relate with a wide audience, and that is precisely what FOOTHILLS JUSTICE attempts to do. Using a summer in the life of Game Warden Luke Dutton and his ranching family, they are confronted with many issues of the day, such as domestic violence, racism, dramatic climate change, various Indigenous issues, dishonest politicians, gangs and drugs, animal cruelty, renewable energy issues, fracking problems, homelessness, misuse of firearms, militias, sexism, drug abuse, as well as many wonderful family experiences. Throughout the story, the work of a serial killer keeps everyone on their toes. It’s a mystery crime thriller that will keep your rapt attention while addressing many of the critical issues confronting our society today.
When game warden Luke Dutton hears a gunshot while he’s out repairing fencing on his ranch in Alberta’s foothills, he has no idea that a single shot is going to set into motion events that will turn his world upside down. The more he discovers, the less he knows about what’s going on in the Highwood River Valley, and the more he realizes things don’t add up. Between the revelation that there’s a serial killer living in their midst, the Dutton family’s discovery of the long-lost Lemon Gold Mine, and the damage that Black Eagle Gas will do to the Duttons’ ranch when they begin fracking, Luke has his hands full. Add water problems caused by climate change, drug-related problems on the local First Nations reserve, and dealing with numerous violations of hunting and fishing laws to the Duttons’ challenges in an ever-changing world. As things come to a head and Luke works to keep the ranch solvent and his family safe, will the RCMP catch the killer before he kills again?
You can check out Foothills Justice by Nelson Riis at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and https://books.friesenpress.com/