LaVonne Griffin-Valade

Maggie Blackthorne Series

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Dead Point

Introducing LaVonne Griffin-Valade’s debut novel, and the first in the gripping Maggie Blackthorne series.

Fans of Sheriff Walt Longmire will fall in love with Sergeant Maggie Blackthorne, the spirited protagonist with a tragic past and an acid wit.

" engrossing neo-Western thriller in which justice and morality clash." —Foreword Reviews

When Maggie Blackthorne returns to her hometown after nearly twenty years to serve as an Oregon State Police Sergeant, she expects to deal with the usual suspects—drunk drivers, oxy slingers, and the occasional rural scofflaw.

But after she stumbles upon the bullet-ridden bodies of twin brothers, she realizes she’s stepped into something much more sinister. With little homicide experience, Maggie and her partner, Trooper Hollis Jones, find themselves thrust into the murder investigation.

And when a third man turns up dead, Maggie fears it’s only a matter of time before the killer strikes again. As they race to piece together what happened, Maggie and Hollis discover a tangled web of theft, deceit and deals gone bad.

Faced with multiple motives and several persons of interest, Maggie and Hollis finally catch a break—but are they willing to risk everything to put the murderer behind bars?

Praise for LaVonne Griffin-Valade and the Maggie Blackthorne series:

“Lush descriptions, wonderful characters, and plenty of twists will have readers enthralled by Griffin-Valade’s stellar debut.” —LynDee Walker, Amazon Charts bestselling author of No Sin Unpunished

"...a sure-footed, beautifully written debut novel...a strong, smart, lead, a setting that is almost a character itself...and a twisty plot that drives to an exciting, satisfying conclusion. I loved this book." —Susan Hunter, author of Dangerous Habits

"... will have you seeing the rimrock, smelling the sage and greasewood, and feeling the dry cold of the eastern Oregon desert. An excellent read that will leave you wanting more." —James Chandler, author of Misjudged

“Trash-talking, tough as leather, determined, and smart Maggie Blackthorne is just the kind of hero I want to follow in adventure after adventure. I'm looking forward to more of Maggie!” —Shannon Baker, author of the Kate Fox series

Murderers Creek

Sergeant Maggie Blackthorne's latest case gets personal as she risks everything to prove her innocence and bring a killer to justice.

The highly anticipated second novel in the compelling Maggie Blackthorne series.

After an unexpected and unpleasant visit from her ex-husband, Oregon State Police Sergeant Maggie Blackthorne is called to a grisly crime scene. Her ex has been found dead—the victim of a vicious attack.

Her earlier confrontation with the deceased places Maggie squarely on the list of suspects, and she is soon the subject of an internal investigation. Desperate to clear her name and uncover the truth, Maggie and her partner, Trooper Hollis Jones, have no time to waste.

With a couple of townspeople acting suspiciously, reports of missing or stolen property, and evidence of drug deals gone bad, the case is proving to be a difficult one to crack. And just when Maggie and Hollis think they’ve finally caught a break, the lone eyewitness turns up dead.

As the personal and professional pressure mounts, Maggie struggles to catch a remorseless killer who has nothing to lose. And one wrong move could cost Maggie her career... or her life.

Murderers Creek is a can’t-miss read that will keep you captivated until the very last page.

What readers are saying about Murderers Creek:

★★★★★ "...riveting..."

★★★★★ "Extraordinary characters..."

★★★★★ "...dynamic, and thrilling story."

★★★★★ "...I just found a new exciting author to follow!"

★★★★★ " can smell the sage and picture the high desert."

Desolation Ridge

When a small town in the Pacific Northwest is rocked by a shocking murder, Maggie Blackthorne hunts a killer still lurking in the surrounding forest.

After a state trooper is killed under mysterious circumstances, Oregon State Police sergeant Maggie Blackthorne is assigned to the case. The investigation takes her to Desolation Ridge in the Umatilla National Forest, where the suspect is reported to be hiding out with a possible hostage.

It’s late fall. Daylight is scarce, and there is a fierce chill in the air. To make matters worse, a deadly cougar has been spotted nearby.

But as Maggie and her partner Hollis trudge on, uncovering clues and dealing with their own tense past, one thing is clear:

Somewhere amongst these towering pines, a murderer is watching them.

Poison Spring

When the murder of a beloved ranch owner shocks the entire county, Maggie Blackthorne must unmask a killer hiding in plain sight…

Ranch owner Mike Drake is a fixture in Grant County, beloved and respected by friends and neighbors alike. So everyone is shocked when his prize bull is found mutilated on his property near Poison Spring, just outside the village of Kimberly.

Police Sergeant Maggie Blackthorne and her partner Hollis Jones are called out to Poison Spring Ranch to investigate the slaughter—but they discover an even greater crime when they find Mike Drake himself, shot to death not far from his bull’s carcass.

Residents throughout the county demand answers as Maggie and Hollis get to work on the case, but there are hardly any leads and too many contradictions. Almost everyone around had loved Mike Drake—but he seems to have been killed by a local with a grudge.

Maggie and Hollis must watch their step as they dig up dark secrets about one of the county’s most upstanding residents. Particularly when their search takes them into the craggy, luminous fossil beds surrounding Poison Spring Ranch—it’s dangerous terrain to wander around in…and the perfect place for a killer to hide.

About LaVonne Griffin-Valade

LaVonne Griffin-Valade was born and raised in the high desert country along the John Day River of eastern Oregon. It’s a vast and luminous landscape made up of wind-sculpted fossil beds, pine and juniper forests, grasslands, indigo mountains, and river-fed valleys—a place that stoked her imagination and inspired her to become a lifetime writer of short stories, essays, poetry, and novels.

LaVonne has carried her love of language, story, and imagery wherever life has taken her, whether it was the eastern Oregon high desert, the islands of Saipan, Guam, and American Samoa, Alaska, Montana, Wyoming, New York, Washington D.C., or western Oregon’s green, lush Willamette Valley. She has participated in dozens of classes and workshops offered by fiction writers, poets, memoirists, and essayists including John Beer, David Biespiel, Emily Chenoweth, Paul Collins, Martha Gies, Karen Karbo, Nam Le, Michael McGregor, Tom Spanbauer, Kim Stafford, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Leni Zumas.

Along the way LaVonne earned a Bachelor’s degree in Humanities (English/writing focus) from Western Oregon State University and was an elementary school teacher for a time. Switching gears, she worked with homeless and runaway youth for several years connecting them with shelter and providing life skills training. She went on to earn a Masters of Public Administration from Portland State University while working for the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory in Portland, Oregon where she trained educators in educational equity and penned various professional articles.

In her penultimate career change, LaVonne became a government performance auditor in the Multnomah County Auditor’s Office in Portland, first as a staff auditor for eight years and then as the elected Multnomah County Auditor. She then ended her long auditing career as the elected Auditor of the City of Portland. After leaving office, she pursued an MFA in fiction writing from Portland State University and graduated in 2017.

LaVonne’s personal essays have appeared in Oregon Humanities Magazine, and her short story “Eureka” was published in the 2019 Clackamas Literary Review. Based on an excerpt of DEAD POINT, she was a finalist for the 2018 Fellowship for Emerging Writers at Fishtrap’s Writing and the West.

LaVonne lives in Portland, Oregon and works as a full-time writer.