Sept. 13, 2018–Keenan Powell–Writing What Matters: how a real life murder mystery inspired me to spend hundreds of hours writing a manuscript with no reason to believe it would ever be published

After illustrating Dungeons and Dragons, I ditched art for law school, and moved to Anchorage the day after graduation. As a young pup, I associated with M. Ashley Dickerson, Phillip Weidner, and Edgar P. Boyko, and then went out my own, providing criminal defense representation including the infamous walrus round-up case and the murder trial of Tracy McCracken, a paraplegic charged with murdering his personal care attendant.

In 2009, there was a string of homeless deaths, which the Alaska Medical Examiner had ruled were the result of “natural causes.” While attending a legal seminar, I learned of a little-known law that permits the medical examiner to declare death by natural causes without performing an autopsy. These deaths and that loophole inspired me to write Deadly Solution.

Based upon that manuscript, I won the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic grant in 2015, which led to my introduction into the crime-fiction community and ultimately a three-book deal. Deadly Solution was published in January of 2018. Hemlock Needle, inspired by Native corporation contracts, is scheduled for release in 2019. Hell and High Water, a “country estate” mystery, set in a Seward ecolodge socked in during a pineapple express, will be published in 2020.

Keenan Powell

Keenan Powell

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