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David and Aimée Thurlo have, together and separately, written more than 70 novels in a variety of genres. At 7 p.m. June 28 in the upstairs rotunda of Mesa Public Library, the couple will give a presentation as part of the Authors Speak Series.
The Thurlos’ writing career began when Aimée was inspired to write a novel, while David was teaching middle school. She sat down with a legal pad and pencil, began a romantic intrigue, and soon found David looking over her shoulder whenever class was out. They quickly discovered that they could write with one voice, and their combined efforts resulted in books characterized by the unique stamp that defined their partnership in life and work.
In addition to many romantic suspense novels, the Thurlos have written three different mystery series, each featuring a very different primary investigator. In the Sister Agatha series, mysteries are solved by a nun; the Lee Nez series features a partnership between a Navajo vampire and an FBI agent. Their flagship series of Ella Clah police procedurals is set on the Navajo Reservation; Ella Clah is a special investigator for the Navajo police department.
The Thurlos’ novels have been translated into many different languages and are available around the world. Their books have been widely praised by reviewers and critics and have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist. The Thurlos have received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, a Willa Cather Award for Contemporary Fiction, and the New Mexico Book Award for Mystery and Suspense. They’ve made the Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders national bestseller lists. In addition, their vampire series has been optioned by a Hollywood production company.
David was raised on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock. His father worked for the Bureau of Mines at the Navajo Helium Plant, where helium was extracted from natural gas, and the family lived near the Kerr-McGee uranium mill. Later, David’s home and entire neighborhood were found to be hot beds of radioactive contamination and were subsequently demolished and buried.
He is a graduate of Shiprock High School and the University of New Mexico, where he received a master’s degree in teaching science. During David’s senior year of college, Aimée Salcedo Berndes moved in next door. Born in Havana, Cuba, she’d been living for some time in New Orleans before relocating to New Mexico. She is a naturalized citizen of the United States.
David and Aimée fell in love at first sight and were married less than three weeks later. Theirs is a partnership, both personal and professional. The Thurlos continue to live in New Mexico. They currently have three standard poodles.
For a list of all the Thurlos’ titles, visit aimeeanddavidthurlo.com/books/php.
The Authors Speak Series is a monthly event featuring local and statewide authors speaking about their writing on a variety of subjects such as local and state history, travel, outdoor activities, New Mexico fiction, Native American history and culture, poetry and more. The series is funded by the Friends of Mesa Public Library. The talks are free and begin at 7 p.m., followed by the opportunity to meet the authors and enjoy refreshments. Some authors may participate with book sales and signings.
Reviews for Black Thunder
“Satisfying . . . (an) insightful portrait of a native culture still evolving between tradition and modernity.” — Publishers Weekly
“Always action-packed and full of intimate family moments, Black Thunder is well-worth adding to your collection of Southwestern mysteries.” — New Mexico magazine
“Does anybody understand the Navajo better than the Thurlos? Their keen understanding and attention to detail is what makes Black Thunder a first-rate mystery.” — RT Book Reviews (4 stars)
“An excellent, page-turning and suspenseful read. The authors’ intimate knowledge of the ways of life, culture, and mores of the Navajos shows in their writing and makes their mystery series a unique reading experience. Including views into Ella’s personal life, to me, adds a three-dimensionality to her character and makes you care for what happens to her and her family, drawing you deeper into the plots of the Clah novels. It can be read as a stand-alone, though I highly recommend you also check out the entire series. Black Thunder is a Must Read for fans of the Ella Clah mysteries, and is a novel anyone who loves great mysteries will enjoy reading.” — Mysteries Galore
“Without ever reading any of the previous books, I was able to enjoy Ella’s adventures and not feel at all lost. The mystery builds slowly, which I like. It’s a very pleasant, readable mystery and I wouldn’t mind at all picking up more in the series.”—When Falls the Coliseum blog