Regional Reads

Published on March 19, 2024

regional reads

By Carrie S.

A favorite vacation memory of mine is watching storm waves break in Duluth, Minnesota while devouring William Ratigan’s Great Lakes: Shipwrecks and Survivals. Safely wrapped in a blanket and cradling my coffee I was suddenly whisked away to the terrifying deck of a ship in peril. Now whenever I plan a trip, I look for books set in my travel destination or explore authors local to the area just to add another unique dimension to my adventures. 

While we’re thinking of destination reads, let’s talk about some of our regional talent here in South Dakota. We certainly get a lot of requests for local authors here at the library, so I thought I’d share some popular picks to make them easier to find. There should be something on here for everyone but be sure to ask staff for additional recommendations, and don’t forget to look out for upcoming author talks on our website. 


wait with me

Wait with Me by Amy Daws

If you like your romance spicy, check out one of the many books by this local author who found inspiration for this racy mechanic love story while waiting for her car to be serviced at Tires, Tires, Tires. The novel Wait with Me was even made into a movie this year. 


the icepick surgeon

The Icepick Surgeon: Murder, Fraud, Sabotage, Piracy and other dastardly deeds perpetrated in the name of science by Sam Kean

If science is your thing, definitely check out the work of New York Times bestselling author, Sam Kean. In the latest offering from this author with local ties, you can learn about the stark reality of crossed lines and lax ethical boundaries. 


nearly departed in deadwood

Nearly Departed in Deadwood by Ann Charles

A splendid mesh of mystery, romance and the paranormal, Violet Parker might just be your new favorite sleuth and I can’t think of a better setting!  



the commandant of lubizec The Commandant of Lubizec: a novel of the Holocaust and Operation Reinhard by Patrick Hicks

Bear witness in this haunting, documentary style account of a fictitious death camp set in Nazi-occupied Poland. Patrick Hicks is a renowned poet and award-winning author, as well as being the writer-in-residence at Augustana University. 


dont look back Don’t Look Back by Achut Deng and Keely Hutton

This is our 2024 One Book Siouxland pick and details the harrowing journey of Deng, a child refugee escaping the civil war in South Sudan. Learn about her experiences living in a Kenyan refugee camp, her journey to America and eventual arrival in Sioux Falls.

You can hear Deng tell her story at the upcoming One Book Siouxland Author Event on Saturday, April 27th. More information can be found here.


someone knows

Someone Knows: Highlighting South Dakota’s Cold Cases  by Christine Mager Wevik   

Super sleuths and true crime fans will enjoy this recent exploration of local cold cases. Maybe you even hold a missing puzzle piece that could help solve a crime? Christine Mager Wevik lives on a farm in South Dakota and also writes paranormal mysteries. 


city of hustle

City of Hustle: A Sioux Falls Anthology  

For an insider’s take on life in “flyover country,” explore the history and growth of Sioux Falls through this rich collection of over 45 essays. 



beneath the same stars

Beneath the Same Stars: A novel of the 1862 U.S.-Dakota War by Phyllis Cole-Dai

Brookings native Cole-Dai weaves a powerful tale inspired by the true story of Sarah Wakefield, an American woman taken captive on the Sioux reservation for six weeks. Lovers of local history won’t want to miss this devastating account that explores the impact on those caught in the conflict. 


winter counts Winter Counts by David Heska Wanbli Weiden

This engrossing work of crime fiction delves into the harsh world of drug addiction and the quest of one vigilante to stop an influx of heroin into the Rosebud Indian Reservation. Virgil Wounded Horse follows a dangerous trail and uncovers secret alliances in this One Book Siouxland pick from 2022. 



*Photo credit: REC and ROLL -