Local author, wildlife researcher writes 3rd book in thriller series | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local author, wildlife researcher writes 3rd book in thriller series

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The third book in the Alex Carter series, a thriller/ action series that follows a wildlife biologist, written by South Lake Tahoe author and wildlife researcher, Alice Henderson, is hitting the stands Nov. 15. 

Each book in the series places Carter in a remote location, working with endangered species. In the first two books, Carter worked with wolverines and polar bears. While studying these animals, Carter has been stalked by humans, fought off a group hunters, hunting illegal prey and battled evil corporations. 

The third in the series, A Ghost of Caribou, finds Carter in the Selkirk mountains of northeastern Washington, where, while searching for the elusive caribou, she stumbles upon a murdered forest ranger. 

Henderson, herself is a wildlife researcher who specializes in wildlife presence surveys. 

“That means that I’ll go out to a parcel of land and use a combination of remote cameras, bioacoustic recorders, and walking transects while looking for spoor like scat and tracks. It’s a great non-invasive way to study wildlife,” Henderson said. “I can place out the cameras and recorders and then withdraw, allowing wildlife to take up its usual routine.”

Similar to the work her protagonist does, Henderson will return later to retrieve the cameras and examine the data. In fact, while doing one such project, she became inspired to write these novels. 

“I was in Montana, placing out bioacoustic recorders and cameras in the hopes of recording grizzlies, wolverines, and wolves. At that point, I’d been writing novels for years, but I had never thought to bring my two worlds together — wildlife and writing,” Henderson said. 

“It struck me then — I could create a thriller series where each book focused on a different endangered species,” she continued. “And I wanted to write thrillers because that’s what I love to read the most, and the isolated settings of these remote wild places would lend themselves to suspense.”

Henderson has written several sci-fi novels in which she always uses actual scientific research and data to write about realistic future scenarios. 

She’s passionate about wildlife and the impacts of climate change and wanted to tell people about the plight of these animals in a way that would be interesting and approachable. 

“If I wrote a non-fiction book about, say, wolverines, the only people who would likely pick it up would be a small group of people who were probably already aware of their plight. But if I wrote a thriller, then people could pick the book up for the action and suspense, and then learn about wolverines or mountain caribou on the side. I hoped to reach a wider audience this way, to shed light on what is facing these animals,” Henderson said. 

She added that the genre allows her to, “weave interesting wildlife facts into the suspenseful narrative, making them part of the story itself, rather than just listing dry facts in a non-fiction setting.”

Each one of the three animals she’s focused on so far are in dire straits. According to Henderson, there are now less than 300 wolverines in the lower 48 and she said research has shown polar bears may be extinct by 2080 because of the melting sea ice. 

“My latest novel, A Ghost of Caribou, focuses on the mountain caribou. We lost our last mountain caribou in the lower 48 in 2019. Clear-cutting of old growth forests, the reduction of snowpack due to climate change, habitat fragmentation, and other factors caused the mountain caribou population to dwindle away,” Henderson said. “Finally, when only two caribou remained, both females, Canada took them up to British Columbia. So now we have none.”

At the end of each of her novels, Henderson lists resources for people to learn more about the animals and ways they can volunteer to help.

“With all three of these species, I wanted people to know about their struggles and what steps can be done to protect these animals,” Henderson said. 

Henderson has already started on the fourth book in the Alex Carter series which will focus on jaguars in New Mexico. She also hopes to bring Carter to Lake Tahoe, where Henderson herself is from. 

A Ghost Caribou hits stands on Nov. 15 and can be found anywhere books are sold. To learn more about the other Alex Carter books and Henderson’s other works, visit http://www.alicehenderson.com

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