Alex Barclay on big crime in a small place

Colorado is where people go to disappear.

It was a throwaway remark from a detective friend, but as soon as I heard it, I knew I wanted to hide a killer there. I planned to give Colorado a special guest appearance in a New York-based novel. Instead, I created a whole new series, with a new heroine, FBI Special Agent Ren Bryce, working for a violent crime squad based in Denver. Colorado deserved a starring role. What I needed next was a small-town crime scene. And it was then that I discovered what came to be one of my favourite places in the world: Breckenridge, a small and beautiful resort town ninety miles west of Denver.

I love a big crime in a small place, and with Blood Runs Cold, the first Ren Bryce novel, the body of an FBI agent is found close to Breckenridge on a snow-covered mountain called Quandary Peak.

I hiked the mountain on my first visit to Breckenridge – in the breezy August heat when the town was filled with hikers and bikers. The atmosphere was friendly, upbeat; the perfect place to showcase a shocking crime… with such pretty cracks in which to hide secrets.

But Breckenridge is more than just pretty; it’s interesting, it’s rich.  It’s got a history filled with gold and nuggets of all kind. It became a mining star when its Blue River turned to gold in the mid-1800s, and it welcomed a parade of lively characters that left their mark around town. And when its gold ran out, Breckenridge’s loyal residents rescued their town. Keeping a fierce grip on its charm, they worked hard over the years to turn it into the world-class ski resort it is today: a functioning, sporting, dazzling winter wonderland.

And it was when I visited Breckenridge in winter that I really fell in love with it.  It was a dark night, brightened by fairy lights and falling snow. It was a magical sight, a spectacular blend of warmth and cold. I knew I would always come back.

But not right away. For the sequel to Blood Runs Cold, Time of Death, the plot was suited to Denver and Texas. But I was drawn to Breckenridge again for the latest novel, Blood Loss. Two young girls disappear from a hotel room in Breckenridge, and Ren’s team is called in to investigate. No matter where I was when I was writing Blood Loss, no matter what the weather, I was in Breckenridge in the snow, looking for killers.

Colorado is where people go to disappear…


Bestselling author Alex Barclay’s latest explosive novel is out…today! To get your hands on the ebook of Blood Loss then visit here.

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