Susan Cummins Miller was born and raised in southern California and now resides in Tucson. She received degrees in history, anthropology and geology. Prior to writing fiction, nonfiction and poetry, she worked for the U. S. Government (primarily with the U. S. Geological Survey) for nine years, conducting fieldwork in California, Nevada, Idaho, and Utah. Subsequently, she taught introductory geology and oceanography courses at the college level and offered short courses in writing, geology, paleontology, and oceanography in Tucson area schools.
Detachment Fault was a finalist for the 2004 Mountains and Plains Book Award and received Honorable Mention in ForeWord Magazine's 2005 Mystery Book Awards. Susan edited A Sweet, Separate Intimacy: Women Writers of the American Frontier, 1800-1922 (University of Utah Press), a finalist for the 2000 Longan Award (nonfiction). Her poems have been published in regional journals and anthologies.
Now reunited, Frankie MacFarlane and Philo Dain attempt to recover the Dain coin collection stolen by Philo's murdered aunt. As they follow the trail, Frankie and Philo unearth secrets from Philo's past and discover a treasure hidden from the world for nearly two hundred years.
Southeastern Arizona is a tinderbox. Down Under Coppers mineral exploration plans pit landowners, worried about their water supply and land values, against those hoping to profit from the mining venture. Someone snaps.
Geologist Frankie MacFarlane is drawn into a police investigation when the remains of her former fiance are found in the desert. After a student and several of her colleagues are attacked, Frankie realizes she may be the killer's next target.
Jorge was the brother of the MacFarlane family's longtime fishing guide; Carla, the girlfriend of Frankie's brother, Jamie. But when the Tucson murder victims turn out to be Frankie's colleague and a favorite student, Frankie joins the hunt for the killers, bringing her geologist's eye and analytical skills to aid two old friends--sheriff's detective Toni Navarro and private investigator Philo Dane. As the search unfolds, Frankie ventures into an elite fringe world where the antiquities trade slips too easily into international money-laundering and far higher stakes. Skidding through so many twists and turns that even her "scars have scars," Frankie leads her readers on a heart-stopping and unforgettable chase.
The mountains west of Pair-a-Dice, Nevada, hold mysteries geological, historical, and personal. Geologist Frankie MacFarlane has mapped the Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks of the range for the past three summers. In the final week of her dissertation fieldwork, she searches for an elusive final key to her research: a limestone marker bed--a death assemblage of fossil ammonoids--hidden by dangerous, shifting talus. But as Frankie strives to piece together her geologic jigsaw puzzle, the denizens of Pair-a-Dice, her base of operations, embroil her in a web of ancient and recent murders, a manhunt, kidnappings, and blackmail. A thirty-truck town, fifty miles from anywhere, Pair-a-Dice boasts two restaurants, three bars, seven pool tables, twenty-one slot machines, and a motley assemblage of misfits, including Diane Laterans, a punk school-teacher who wears her Phi Beta Kappa key from her ear; Isabel Elorrio, crusty ex-marine and motel proprietor; Lon Bovey, rancher and would-be congressman; Walker, a mute handyman; the Anderson brothers, hooligans claiming kinship to infamous Bloody Bill; and a stranger, E. J. Killeen, U.S. Army, retired. Two bodies are discovered near Interstate 80, disrupting Frankie's research. Are the killings linked to Killeen, to the new waitress in town, to Frankie's ex-fiance, who disappeared four months ago, or to older violence, the clues of which Frankie discovers in the mountains? Frankie's environmental sensibilities and her grasp of geologic and human continuums make her truly a woman and sleuth of the new millennium.