Discussion Questions for Deadly Currents

Discussion Questions for Deadly Currents:

1. This is the first book in the RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series, which the publisher is calling soft-boiled, as distinguished from hard-boiled mysteries, usually featuring private investigators and professional cops, and cozy mysteries, usually featuring amateur sleuths and of which Beth’s other series, the Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery series, is an example. How do you define a soft-boiled mystery, and does the tone of Deadly Currents match that definition? What other soft-boiled series can you name that are similar to this one? How is the tone of this series different from Beth’s other series?

2. Mandy Tanner is a semi-professional sleuth. As a seasonal river ranger, she is a law enforcement officer, though she is not certified to carry a weapon or conduct an investigation. However, since she was the first officer on the scene when Tom King died, she becomes an official member of the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Department investigative team formed to solve the murder. How does this semi-professional role help Mandy solve the crime and how does it hinder her?

3. Mandy lost both of her parents in a car accident when she was in high school. How does this loss impact her other relationships, especially with her uncle, her brother, and her boyfriend, Rob Juarez? How is loss and grief addressed as a theme throughout the book? What does Mandy learn that helps her deal with these issues?

4. Deadly Currents is set in the actual small town of Salida, Colorado, at the epicenter of the whitewater rafting industry along the upper Arkansas River, and during the First in Boating along the Arkansas (FIBArk) festival. How does this setting flavor the characters and events portrayed in the book? What do you think of the “river rat” culture? What are its pluses and minuses?

5. Deadly Currents touches on the political issue of water rights. The scarcity of fresh water is a global political problem, and the politics of water usage and sharing in the Western United States is a small example of the issues to be solved. In fact, World Bank Vice President Ismail Serageldin predicted, "Many of the wars of the 20th century were about oil, but wars of the 21st century will be over water". Has water politics touched your life, your community? How?