First Advisor

Leni Zumas

Date of Publication

Spring 6-2-2017

Document Type

Closed Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Creative Writing






Police -- Eastern Oregon -- Fiction, Murder -- Eastern Oregon -- Fiction



Physical Description

1 online resource (ii, 115 pages)


After being away for many years, Maggie Blackthorne returns to the small eastern Oregon town where she was born and raised. She has always been moved by the landscape, a place of mountains, river valleys, deserts, fossil-bearing rock formations, basalt cliffs, alkali beds, sagebrush, bunch grass, juniper, and vast forests of pine and larch. Yet in many ways, she has returned to her hometown to confront her past.

Maggie comes back with some personal baggage, but also some authority. She is now a sergeant with the Oregon State Police. As a character, she’s a witty, cynical, tough-talking personality with many inner demons. But she takes her work very seriously, even though the job largely entails chasing after speeding drivers, scofflaws, and inebriates. Until, that is, she finds two men she’s known since childhood brutally murdered.

This thesis document presents the first four chapters of Blackthorne, a novel in progress. It’s the story of how Maggie Blackthorne makes peace with herself. It’s also the tale of how Sergeant Blackthorne goes about finding a killer. To get there, she relies on her training, her instincts, and her tenacity. Her Glock comes in handy, too.


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This thesis is only available to students, faculty and staff at PSU.

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