A Death in Durango

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add kindle@netgalley.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 23 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 30 Sep 2022
Greenleaf Book Group, River Grove Books

Talking about this book? Use #ADeathinDurango #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


A Death in Durango is an epic novel telling the story of the Vanderhorns and Stricklands, two family dynasties whose battles helped shape the history of southwest Colorado. The investigation into a mysterious death leads to a rich journey through the truth, legends, and lies of the Old West. This fast-paced romp through the events that shaped the West after the Civil War and up to the present day includes shoot outs, train robberies, archaeological discoveries, range wars, captive rescues, runaways, and gold.

Along the way, the story encounters real people out of the pages of history like Charles Goodnight, Chief Ouray, Butch Cassidy, and Teddy Roosevelt. A Death in Durango is a love letter to the people and spirit of the Animas Valley, where the history is still being made and the Wild West remains.

All author profits from book sales will be donated to the Community Foundation of Southwest Colorado.

A Death in Durango is an epic novel telling the story of the Vanderhorns and Stricklands, two family dynasties whose battles helped shape the history of southwest Colorado. The investigation into a...

Available Editions

EDITION Paperback
ISBN 9781632995582
PRICE $15.95 (USD)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (EPUB)
Send to Kindle (EPUB)
Download (EPUB)

Average rating from 25 members

Featured Reviews

this was a great western novel, it was what I was hoping it would be based on the cover. The cover is beautifully done and was what drew me in, I'm glad I was able to read this as I really enjoyed going on this journey. Doug Twohill has a great writing style and I loved the historical element. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Twohill and really enjoyed this book.

"There was no particular reason one lived and one died, just chance and luck. Such was life in the West. He still couldn’t believe that he had been alone for over twenty years. As his seventy-sixth year drew to a close, the loneliness grew harder every day. He had the satisfaction of a sprawling enterprise with various business interests all over the valley and beyond. The general store and stable had provided enough profits to buy and build the ZVH ranch."

Was this review helpful?

A really exciting western novel with a host of intriguing characters. The 220 pages breeze by and the writing style is highly engaging. The book cover is excellent and I would highly recommend this book to any reader.

Was this review helpful?

A Death in Durango
By Doug Twohill

This is not the type of book I would normally pick up to read – but I am glad I did. Mr. Twohill begins his tale with a New York police detective arriving in Durango, Colorado to solve what he thinks is his daughter's murder. But this is only the frame on which his tale of the history of Durango hangs.

As Jim Barlow tries to investigate, he is stymied at every turn, but in the process he learns much about the history of the area: from the Stricklands and Vanderhorns to Pedro Flores; Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid; the cliff people known as "Our People"; bank robbers and gold miners and many more interesting characters who shaped the American west. He also learns that payback comes in many forms.

This is a book about reality – but reality is shaped by perspective. As the chapters go back and forth in time, it becomes clear that, in the words of Emmett Strickland, "Out here in the West we all have the freedom to choose whose lies we want to believe." For Mr. Twohill, his truth lies in a great love of the Old West, and he does a great job of convincing the reader.

Was this review helpful?

A Death in Durango by Doug Twohill

This delightful book was fun from start to finish. The chapters are short and each one is a story about the history of Durango. Most circle back to tie in to a previous chapter.

There are prospectors, wranglers, families, sheriffs, outlaws, Indigenous Americans and Mormons. There is lust, greed, success, failure, and,oh,yes, killing. Intrigued, you’ll be planning a trip to Durango and Mesa Verde just to see this historical area of America’s west.

Author Doug Twohill has a tremendous gift for writing and telling tales. I’ll be first in line to read his next book. I won the lottery when I received this ARC from #NetGalleyand #RiverGroveBooks. What a prize! My thanks to both.

Was this review helpful?

A father heads out west to find out what really happened to his daughter. The local police say she committed suicide but he doesn’t think so. What follows is a look back on two families influence on Durango. One good and one really evil.
Each chapter tells a different story and all were really interesting. I’m not a big fan of westerns but this was more of a mystery taking place out west. I thought it was good
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy

Was this review helpful?

A DEATH IN DURANGO is a wonderfully gritty, down to earth western. The writing style flows well, the characters felt very realistic, It's an easy read because the writing style has good flow and the chapters are short. If you like stories set in the old west, you'll enjoy this.

Was this review helpful?

When Jim Barlow‘s only child Patty is found dead and it’s called a suicide he flies in to Colorado to find out the truth. He learns that she was dating the man she worked for Buck Strickland and he also learns that all Brooke wasn’t a Boy Scout. As a matter of a fact he is from a long line of bad guys who somehow for all intensive purposes like legitimate business owners. On the other side of the spectrum there’s the Vanderhorn‘s and McAllister‘s who make Durango look respectful. Throughout the book we learned how the families intertwined for good or bad and the stories where they stood on their own but all of that was so very interesting. If you think the Hatfields and McCoys was a great tale you need to read about the Vander horns in the Stricklands they even have a female serial killer in one of the families. this is a true five star read and if you love historical True Crime and otherwise you will love this book. There’s even a bar in town we’re Hop Along Cassidy and the Sundance kid like to spend their spoils. It is rich with history and interesting stories and once I started reading it I couldn’t stop. I truly enjoyed this book. I received this book from NetGalley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.

Was this review helpful?

A Death in Durango by Doug Twohill shows his love of and affection for the Old West. The book is set around a plot of the death of the protagonist's (Jim Barlow) daughter, and then the author adds all the pieces of a good western: families, both evil and sympathetic; Natives; law enforcement; outlaws; and Mormons. Two families, the Vanderhorns and the Stricklands, fictional characters, are intertwined with the history of the area that is obviously important to Twohill. A Death in Durango is an excellent source of local history for anyone who is not familiar with the discovery of Mesa Verde, with the town of present-day Durango in Southwestern Colorado, and with the Native presence, past and present, in the area. There is plenty of violence, greed, lust, and killing that was part of the original invasion of the Rocky Mountain West, but Twohill obviously has an affection for the area and its history and wants his readers to know about it.

Was this review helpful?

An enjoyable quick read about the wild, wild west from today, back to the beginning, and then back to today. I loved the mixture of fiction and nonfiction. If you enjoy learning about the early days of the west, this book will not disappoint. I am adding Durango, Colorado to my bucket list of places to visit. Thank you Doug Twohill!

Was this review helpful?

Interesting story filled with a lot of history and characters. Enjoyed the writing style. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book

Was this review helpful?

Reading Death in Durango, by Doug Twohill, I felt like I was reading the script for an old John Wayne movie. Twohill takes a modern day setting to learn the tales surrounding the settling and development of Durango, Colorado. Each chapter is like a short story that weaves another story from the old west. These stories are filled with just enough real characters and facts, to make you want to believe they really happened.

I was able to read this on #NetGalley.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book. A Western with a twist! It told the story of the forming of Colorado and mentioned Western legends. It was a page turner as there was much history of the area with a story-line of solving a murder mystery. The book covered many years and expertly wove the past with the present. A page turner and hard to put down.

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this book. I don't typically read westerns but I like picking different types of books for my book discussion group. I've been watching the tv show Yellowstone and if you like that show you'll like this book. It starts out in modern day Durango but then it takes you back to the old west and the feud between two families. The feud helps carry the story back to modern day and the mystery of a young woman's death. It also gives some history of the old west. I think the men and women in my group will enjoy reading this and will make a great discussion. Fans of westerns and mysteries will enjoy it.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this story of the Old West. It starts out with a grief stricken dad trying to find answers in Durango. What he learns is how the town came to be and the eternal fight between good and evil.

Was this review helpful?


Thanks to NetGalley.com and Greenleaf Book Group, LLC.

Doug Twohill's "Death In Durango" is a love letter to Durango and the American West. Through that scope we read about the death in Durango. We meet Jim Barlow, 25 years experience in the FBI. He's coming to Durango to investigate his daughters, Patti, death. Her death has been ruled a suicide, but Barlow doesn't believe that. That's how the book starts and then after that the author covers the history of Durango. Twohill covers the history of Durango basically through two families, the Vanderhorns and the Stricklands.

The death in Durango is Patty, she's a free spirit living on her own in Durango. A potential suspect in her death is a Strickland, Buck. It seems the low character and mean spiritedness moves from generation to generation just like health concerns.

To understand Durango you need to understand the Vanderhorn and Strickland families. They've been on the opposite sides of nearly every issue for the last 100 years. Their disputations started all over a woman, isn't it always a woman? That would be Miss Charlotte McClintok. Zane Vanderhorn rescued Charlotte from being raped by Bart Strickland.

To simplify it to a great extent the Vanderhorns are the "good" people and the Stricklands are the "bad" of Durango.. The Vanderhorns are fighting in the army, serving as sheriff and coming to the rescue of the less fortunate many times. Meanwhile the Stricklands are doing the exact opposite. They are the criminals, they deal in drugs, prostitution and at the end even work with cartels. That's how they make their money. There are many memorable characters. The book focuses very much on the ruggedness of the men and the women. These are the tough gold minors and the prostitutes that service them. There's a great gold rush, but the people that have the most success are the people that make money off the influx of miners.

Cliff Palace, which is Mesa Verde National Monument, history is covered in this book. Where did the people of Cliff Palace go? Reading this book we find out from a descendent of Our People. Of course the Vanderhorns and the Stricklands are drawn into this.

Butch Cassidy and Teddy Roosevelt are real people that show up in Twohill's narrative. As I mentioned previously the book is a love letter to the Western US and the rugged people that did their best to tame it.

Overall I enjoyed the book and the story. The characters are memorable, both likable and not so likable. These feel like very real people that have real lives. We empathize with these people. For a lot of the book I thought it was a collection of vignettes loosely held together rather than one complete story. Although at the end Twohill ties all the stories together well. It's a fast and easy read, the kind you can read at work or flying on an airplane. That's not a knock on the book at all.

The book is not too long or too short, it's just the right length. So much of modern entertainment is a story that has too many endings, I'm so glad this book was just about the right length of 220 pages. Sadly Barlow never gets the justice he deserved in the conventional way. However Western justice does prevail to his benefit. It feels like a near perfect ending to what was a very enjoyable novel. This is Twohill's first novel and I look forward to his second book.

All author profits from book sales will be donated to the Community Foundation of Southwest Colorado.


Was this review helpful?

Fiction and History and the Four Corners Region
I so enjoyed this book! I read the Preface and wondered what I was about to read. As a native of Colorado and of the same era as the author, I understood all of his references. The story is tight and believable with a good dose of fictionalized history. He presents the old west as we like to believe it was, and the new west how we wish it were. Durango, the cliff dwellings, and the entire Four Corners are as presented. The story had humor and not too much blood and gore. I hope this author continues to write books about the region. I received this book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.

Was this review helpful?

A Death in Durango is fast paced, full of interesting characters, and a great read. It's always interesting for me to read stories that include ranches, cowboys, family drama, and the Old West, so I truly enjoyed this one.

Was this review helpful?

What if one day you are notified of your daughter's death by suicide, how would you handle it if you are a former NYPD detective? Well Jim Barlow didn't believe that is how his daughter died. He starts a quest to find out who murdered his daughter. As Jim works to uncover her death, he also uncovers the history of Durango and the families that " run" the town. He learns about the feud between the Vanderhorns and Strickland's.
Twohill uses his own travels to Durango, to vividly paint a picture to the readers of his book. You can see yourself there as a bystander in 19th century Colorado. This is the first book written by Twohill. This read has adventure thrills tension and suspense. Twohill writes of good versus evil, betrayer, greed, envy, gold miners, deception, Native Americans, cowboys, rustlers, looters, ranchers and war along with vengeance. This reader will find themselves empathizing with the many characters of this book. If you want to read a love letter of the history along with the spirit of the Wild West then pick up A Death In Durango by Doug Twohill.
My interest of history and true crime made this book very easy to read and hard to stop. I received A Death In Durango from NetGallery and the Greenleaf Book Group. I am voluntarily leaving a review of this book in my own words. #NetGalley, #ADeathinDurango.

Was this review helpful?

I loved this book. I enjoyed the old west time fictional and nonfictional aspects so much that when I got to the end of the book I had forgotten about how it started! The history, adventure, fighting, love stories in the book makes you keep turning the page and I read the book in 5 days.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: