M. M. Gornell
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About M. M. Gornell
Madeline (M.M.) Gornell has eight published mystery novels—PSWA awarding winners Uncle Si’s Secret and Lies of Convenience (also a Hollywood Book Festival honorable Mention), Death of a Perfect Man, Reticence of Ravens (a finalist for the Eric Hoffer 2011 fiction Prize, the da Vinci Eye for cover art, and the Montaigne Medal for most thought provoking book), Counsel of Ravens (a London Book Festival Honorary Mention and LA Book Festival Runner-Up), Rhodes The Mojave-Stone (Honorable Mention in the San Francisco Book Festival), and Rhodes The Movie-Maker received Honorable Mention in The Great Midwest Book Festival. She continues to be inspired by historic Route 66 and is a lifetime lover of mysteries. She lives with her husband and assorted canines in the Mojave High Desert near the internationally revered Route 66. Just released – Rhodes The Caretakers.
Titles By M. M. Gornell
All these images commingled to tickle my imagination.
There are many events and stories hidden underneath shifting desert sands, and quite possibly many of these tales are doomed to ride ad infinitum on relentless desert winds—ghosts trapped on a plane-of-existence they can never escape. The town of Shiné (Shy-knee) is a fictional concatenation of several of these magical places, fanciful thoughts, and hidden dramas. A place where provocative and unanswered questions actually escape the entrapment of Mojave winds and take center stage.
Hopefully, the small fact Shiné does not exist will not dissuade you from visiting…
For example—heavy spring rains bring back to life a dry windblown-riverbed producing a mass of water powerful enough to snatch and carry away everything in its path.
Less dramatic, but no less spectacular—lighter spring rains turn broad expanses of Mojave Desert flatlands into multicolored and picture-perfect wildflower carpets.
And even the human hand—admittedly, via time-controlled irrigation boom operations, performs magical dust-to-beauty happenings. Indeed, with the flip of a well-switch, swatches of desert are brought alive with what seems like a flood of purple-to-blue flowering alfalfa.
But most amazingly—if you look widely, without preconception, in the right place, and at the appropriate point in time, you will find people who were swept up in the flood of human events, and did the most unexpected and exceptional things.
One such flood of human events plays out in The Movie-Maker. This tale is not a murder mystery, though there are in fact several murders—but there is little-to-no mystery surrounding who the perpetrators are. Neither is this tale meant to be a literary treatise addressing age-old philosophical questions or current day conundrums. This tale’s primary goal is fun and escapism. Nor is The Movie-Maker a police procedural, though happenings do occur that require police activities. Nor is this tale an action drama even though dramatic actions do unfold. A romance? Not exactly, though several love stories—past and present—flavor happenings and decisions.
Rhodes—The Movie-Maker is simply one of many human event stories playing themselves out in the Mojave Desert along historic Route 66.
The last stretch of highway heading northeast out of Barstow towards Las Vegas is mind-expanding—and capable of tickling the imagination in hundreds of ways. The sparse but curiously compelling terrain leads one to imagine numerous tales of human optimism, fortitude, endurance—and murder.
In addition, there are troubling mysteries of the personal kind still tucked away in the recesses of Hugh’s subconscious. He may be still “hiding out” in the desert, but East Coast ties continue to haunt and thwart his building hopes for the future.
Fortunately, he has his ravens to counsel him, and through it all—the Mojave winds continue to blow…
Indeed, Margot quickly realizes she is ill-prepared for Graham’s actual news, Camille’s medical world, and the Mojave—including its inhabitants. And before she can deal with her brother and unpleasant family secrets, murder rears its ugly head in wind-battered Mojave County, putting her niece’s safety and future in peril. Margot needs to think and act fast. But a monumental sand storm, a cave-like Quonset hut, repercussions from past events, and a torrential rain storm conspire against her. All the while, Graham's horrible secret hangs over all their futures.
And though Margot’s enviable panorama of Lake Michigan’s waterfront is worlds apart from her niece’s kitchen-window desert view, the two women are inexorably bound by genealogy, medical connections, and most importantly—love. Nonetheless, so much of their worlds, relationships, and what Margot must do, is based upon Lies of Convenience…