Michael Kiefer, a Novelist "On The Side," To Read at Changing Hands Bookstore Tonight

Mike Kiefer, a longtime colleague of ours and (more important) a longtime friend, writes these days for the Arizona Republic, mostly about bad guys in trouble down at the Maricopa County Superior Court and elsewhere.

Mike is a fine reporter and a true wordsmith (we know one when we read one, just like the Supreme Court justice and pornography) and wish we still had him over here. All that said, Mike writes novels "on the side," and will be reading from his latest, The Lion Hunter, tonight at 7 at the Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe. The address: 6429 South McClintock Drive.

The book, which we read over the weekend, is a compelling read about a conflicted fellow who works for the Arizona Game and Fish Department and is tasked with tracking down a bounty hunter who is killing mountain lions for angry renegade ranchers.

We actually skipped Mad Men last night (it's on DVR, natch) to finish the thing, and we're glad we did.

We fondly remember this real-life story that Mike wrote for us back in 1995, titled "The Lion Sting," which surely served as the seed for the fictional "The Lion Hunter."

It had this passage:

"Judging from the frenzied barking of the hounds, they'd treed their lion. Three shots rang out. Lutch sneaked down the outcropping for a closer view, and he could see Hendrix bent over a dead lion in the creek bottom, cutting off strips of meat to reward the dogs and maybe to eat himself. Predators, after all, hunt to eat, even if they relish the kill."

Good stuff, huh?

What we really wonder and may ask Mike tonight at his reading is where the hell he finds the time to write a damned good book. And, follow-up question, what do his editors think?

Maybe we'll just stick with the first question.

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