PERSONAL: Born in CA.
ADDRESSES: Home—AL. Agent—Five Star Books, 295 Kennedy Memorial Dr., Waterville, ME 04901.
Colorado Shadows, Five Star Books (Waterville, ME), 2000.
Colorado Twilight, Five Star Books (Waterville, ME), 2001.
Colorado Sunrise, Five Star Books (Waterville, ME) 2003.
"HOPE POINT" MYSTERY SERIES
Dangerous Moonlight, Five Star Books (Waterville, ME), 2002.
Dark of the Moon, Five Star Books (Waterville, ME), 2003.
Bad Moon Rising, Five Star Books (Waterville, ME), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Tess Pendergrass writes both historical romance novels and more contemporary romantic mystery novels. Her "Colorado" trilogy—Colorado Shadows, Colorado Twilight, and Colorado Sunrise—is set against the backdrop of ranch life on the wild Colorado prairies. The series begins with Colorado Shadows, in which Maggie travels to Colorado in an attempt to escape her tattered reputation, only to discover the cousin who she is supposed to stay with is dead, murdered along with his entire family. She is forced to deal with her cousin's former outlaw of a brother-in-law as they work together to avenge her cousin's murder. Diana Tixier Herald, in a review for Booklist, commented that the entire cast is well developed, remarking that "Pendergrass even turns horses and a wolf pup into full-fledged participants."
Colorado Twilight follows Jordan Braddock, a young widow who sells her farm and travels west to paint. During the train trip, Jordan meets former gunslinger Elija Kelly when he is forced to save the passengers from an armed gang. The couple continue to find themselves in precarious situations over the course of the book. Colorado Sunrise finishes the trilogy, with new characters joining those from the earlier volumes. Lissy Woodfin appears in town, claiming that she is Elija Kelly's sister and that he must help her escape the hired thugs her abusive husband has sent after her. Diana Tixier Herald, reviewing the novel for Booklist, remarked that "Pendergrass creates believable characters and nicely rendered settings." Harriet Klausner, reviewing for AllReaders.com, called the book "a tale that emphasizes loyalty, especially to loved ones and friends, even when the individual risks all they cherish to help."
Pendergrass was raised on the coast of Northern California, and spent much of her childhood playing on the beach with her dog, or walking through the redwood forests. Her small-town upbringing inspired the fictional settings for her "Hope Point" stories, if not the more murderous events. The "Hope Point" mysteries take place in a contemporary setting and follow the adventures of small-town librarian Destiny Millbank as she teams up with local detective Daniel Parks to solve a number of murders. Dangerous Moonlight, the first volume in the series, starts with Destiny herself being attacked while out walking her dog. Though she escapes unharmed, the incident leads to a number of further mishaps as well as her initial meeting with Parks. Diana Tixier Herald, reviewing the novel for Booklist, called Dangerous Moonlight a "light, entertaining read." Dark of the Moon continues Millbank's adventures. In this volume, a politician's daughter is murdered, but when an arrest is made, detective Daniel Parks believes the boy to be innocent and his investigation leads him to Destiny's library. Diana Tixier Herald, writing in Booklist, called the story "an entertaining romantic mystery." Bad Moon Rising focuses on Destiny's sister, Serena Davis. When someone comes looking for Serena's former fiancée, she finds that she and her daughter are suddenly in danger. The town sheriff is away from the area and so deputy Kermit Riggs comes to Serena's aid. Harriet Klausner, reviewing the novel for AllReaders.com, called Bad Moon Rising "a fabulous cozy."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 15, 2000, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Colorado Shadows, p. 1334; February 15, 2002, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Dangerous Moonlight, p. 998; February 1, 2003, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Colorado Sunrise, p. 977; February 1, 2004, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Dark of the Moon, p. 955; December 15, 2004, Diana Tixier Herald, review of Bad Moon Rising, p. 713.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (April 16, 2005), "Tess Pendergrass."
Best Reviews Web site, http://www.thebestreviews.com/ (April 16, 2005), "Tess Pendergrass."
Tess Pendergrass Home Page, http://www.tesspendergrass.com (April 16, 2005).