Alix Thorssen

The Bluejay Shaman

first in the series, originally published by Walker & Co., NY

The Bluejay Shaman new cover“Reminiscent of Tony Hillerman at his best” — James Crumley, author of The Last Good Kiss

Traveling the back roads of Montana, not-quite-fearless art gallery owner Alix Thorssen is far from home and up to her Ray-bans in shaman’s secrets, mysterious deaths, madness, and – ah yes – passion among the pine needles. Whoever killed Shiloh Merkin hated her and wanted her dead. But did Wade Fraser, Alix’s brother-in-law and University of Montana anthropology professor, do the deed? What happened to the petroglyph of the bluejay shaman? Alix follows a trail of sex, moonlit rituals, and legendary artifacts as another murder leads her to a chilling confrontation with the killer. In this first novel of the Jackson Hole series about Alix Thorssen, Lise McClendon weaves a gripping tale of suspense, blending Indian lore, the timeless clash of western values, and the magnificent landscape of the Rockies.


Set in Jackson Hole where the Old West merges with upscale art galleries and adrenaline adventures, this second mystery featuring Alix Thorssen (after The Bluejay Shaman) finds the art dealer on her home-ground but without the comforts of home. Her partnership and gallery with sexy Paolo Segundo are at a crossroads. When another gallery on the town square burns, revealing the body of a famous artist, Alix is drawn into the investigation as an appraiser of the lost paintings. The investigation makes her confront her own contradictions as an art lover, turning everything she knows upside down. A second murder rocks the resort town. Alix must examine her ethics and indeed her way of life to find the truth, and justice. But not without a very high price.

“An extremely satisfying mystery whose intricate plot kept me guessing. It’s a rare book that can keep me riveted to its pages and have me reaching for tissues at the end. This one did. I give it my highest recommendation.” — Mystery News

“An unusually complex art swindle that will leave you gasping with admiration for the killer’s imagination and industry. McClendon knits detective work together with domestic betrayals in a satisfyingly intricate tangle.” — Kirkus Reviews



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Deep in the cold heart of a Wyoming winter lies a dark tale of theft, murder, art, and archeology in this third entry in the Alix Thorssen mystery series. A visiting Norwegian artist comes to Alix’s gallery and is soon found dead. Bad enough for Jackson Hole’s winter carnival but for Alix it’s worse. Her stepfather, builder of a magnificent model Viking ship, is accused of murder and refuses to defend himself. With ancient myths seeming to come to life around her, Alix’s investigation could end with a Viking funeral. It all hinges on what the runes say. After The Bluejay Shaman and Painted Truth, Lise McClendon proves there is nothing cold about Norwegians in Nordic Nights. A sexy skier, a naughty ice carving, and a mysterious fortune teller make a visit to Jackson Hole a chilling puzzle.

“In Nordic Nights, Lise McClendon gives us a good idea, a wonderful setting, and skillful writing. You’ll like it.” — Tony Hillerman

           Set in wintry Jackson Hole, Wyo., this crisp, straightforward mystery plunges gallery owner Alix Thorssen into the local Nordic Nights festival, which features ice carving, a parade, ski races–and a startling murder. Her agreeably feisty heroine and a hair-raising finale will keep readers entertained throughout the night, Nordic or otherwise.                            — Publisher’s Weekly
Savvy readers will enjoy the glimpses of Nordic ritual, the vivid descriptions of the Wyoming winter, and the pattern of fire and ice as Alix’s emotions fight logic and the heated passions around her fight icy greed.               — Kirkus Reviews




As Jackson Hole gallery owner Alix Thorssen plans an art auction to promote wolf conservation, she is plunged into a bitter feud between ranchers and environmentalists — and an old mystery involving the strange death of a teenage boy. A reclusive artist delivers a stunning painting of a blue wolf at the auction, and asks Alix a favor: investigate the accidental shooting of Derek Wylie twenty-five years earlier. Alix finds disturbing clues to a murder and a cover-up, one that leads by tangled threads to the heated animosity right now in Jackson Hole, as the artist and her painting become the catalyst in a brewing storm of rage, guilt and dark secrets left behind in a trail of old blood. This is the fourth Alix Thorssen mystery, following Nordic Nights, Painted Truth, and The Bluejay Shaman.

“A few writers are gifted with a feel for place that transforms locale from mere background into a vital element of the story itself, as important as the human characters who inhabit it. Among today’s fortunate few are Tony Hillerman with his mystical view of Navajo country and James Lee Burke, whose evocation of the Louisiana bayous verges on the poetic. To their number add Lise McClendon, who has taken the small resort town of Jackson Hole and the Wyoming wilderness that surrounds it, and made her own…. McClendon weaves a persuasive story, as haunting as the landscape it occupies and blessedly free of manufactured melodrama. In Alix, she gives us a heroine both captivating and credible.” — The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Thematically, this work is the strongest of the four Alix Thorssen novels, plus the sense of something magical occurring in the area is powerful. Its use of the fall season in Wyoming for a setting is expressive, and the well-developed characters that people this work are also a highlight… Recommended to any traditional mystery reader, especially those who enjoy works set in the contemporary West.” — Mystery News


Alix Thorssen Short Stories

Alix Thorssen, art dealer, insurance sleuth, and “snapping turtle with a brain and a bra,” stars in these two short stories set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“Wild Irish Dreams” is set between Painted Truth and Nordic Nights, featuring an old friend who comes to town unexpectedly. “A Brand of Murder” finds Alix involved in a controversial housing development, breaking up an old family ranch. The stories give a glimpse of Alix’s life outside the novels, and a view of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


“Lise McClendon captures the essences of the human spirit to perfection.” — Midwest Book Review