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Starred PW Review for “The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey”

The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey: A Pot Thief Mystery
J. Michael Orenduff. Open Road, $14.99 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-1-5040-4993-1

Orenduff successfully combines humor and homicide in his superb eighth Pot Thief whodunit (after 2016’s The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe). Part-time investigator Hubie Schuze, who unapologetically supports himself by illegally digging up ancient Native American pottery and then selling the artifacts at his Albuquerque store, accepts an adjunct teaching position at the University of New Mexico. Hubie was surprised by the offer, given that he had helped put a former head of the university’s art department in prison, but he soon gets invested in trying to connect with device-addicted millennials. Hubie dodges several bullets, including a sexual harassment claim by a student who offered to sleep with him in exchange for a better grade, but he becomes a murder suspect after one of his students, who was covered in a plaster cast for a 3-D model, is found dead inside it. Fans of campus satires will enjoy how Orenduff skewers academic politics and political correctness in the service of a fair-play plot. (May)


I licensed the POT THIEF mysteries to Open Road Media in 2013, when there were six books in the series: The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras, The Pot Thief Who Studied PtolemyThe Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier, The Pot Thief Who Studied EinsteinThe Pot Thief Who Studied Who Studied Billy the Kid, and The Pot Thief Who Studied D.H. Lawrence; in 2017, author J. Michael Orenduff published a seventh, The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe. Now, with the latest entry, The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey, Orenduff’s up to eight titles featuring Albuquerque antiquities dealer Hubie Schuze. If you enjoy light-hearted whodunits with loads of witty repartee among recurring characters, and colorful information on New Mexico’s culinary delights, I recommend the series to you, with the titles available in paperback and in digital editions. Ebook retailer Early Bird Books will be running a special deal for the books on April 23, if you want to buy them then. You can also order them directly from Open Road.

We also got this endorsement for the new book: “The Pot Thief Who Studied Edward Abbey is superb, a funny, totally puzzling mystery studded with the kind of delectable arcane knowledge Orenduff always brings to this series. I’ve loved every one of the POT THIEF books and this is the best yet.”—Tim Hallinan, author of Fields Where They Lay, a Junior Bender mystery



Publishers Weekly Raves about ‘Enjoyable’ and ‘Fun’ Mystery, “The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe”

Orenduff_PotThiefOKeeffeAs readers of this blog may recall from earlier posts, I represent J. Michael Orenduff, author of the POT THIEF mystery series, which in 2009 became an indie- and self-publishing success. In 2013, we licensed the six-book series to Open Road Integrated Media for new ebook and trade paperback editions, and Open Road began publishing the books—The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras, The Pot Thief Who Studied Ptolemy, The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein, The Pot Thief Who Studied EscoffierThe Pot Thief Who Studied D. H. Lawrence, and The Pot Thief Who Studied Billy the Kid—in 2014. The seventh book, The Pot Thief Who Studied Georgia O’Keeffe, will be published in January 2016, and in recent weeks we’ve been receiving blurbs for the new book, and today we got the first advance review, a strong, selling notice from Publishers Weekly, pasted in below.

One of the endorsements came from Anne Hillerman—daughter of the late mystery master Tony Hillerman, a personal favorite—who’s renewed the bestsellerdom of her father with new novels featuring Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manuelito, and longtime series characters Lt Joe Leaphorn and Sergeant Jim Chee in Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rock With Wings. Hillerman said this about the latest POT THIEF book:

“The newest installment in J. Michael Orenduff’s smartly funny series is filled with wild situations, clever word play, and a good helping of fast-paced action. I loved every twist and turn.”

Here’s that Publishers Weekly review:










As soon as we have a final cover I’ll post it here. Congrats to the author and Open Road on the excellent review. This link connects to Open Road’s ordering page for the books.


#FridayReads, Nov. 30–“The Pot Thief Who Studied Billy the Kid”

#FridayReads, Nov. 30–Just starting The Pot Thief Who Studied Billy the Kid, by J. Michael Orenduff, manuscript of the latest mystery in the delightful Pot Thief series which I’m representing to publishers as agent. These novels, set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, feature protagonist Hubie Schuze, a pottery geek. Hubie loves digging in the desert for ancient pots and crafting copies of artifacts with his own hands. When not engaged in these activities, he is usually absorbed in reading a book, often a classic. He has a sidekick in sleuthing, Susannah Inchaustigui, a descendant of one of New Mexico’s Basque ranching families. They meet most afternoons at Hermanas Tortilleria, to sip margaritas and discuss their latest puzzler. The books are very funny and deserve a wide readership.

In the new book, Hubie is clandestinely digging for Anasazi pots in ancient cliff dwelling, when he grasps a withered human hand. He was hoping for an artifact, not a handshake and is puzzled by his discovery, since the Anasazi did not bury their dead in their living quarters.

Earlier titles in the series are The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras, The Pot Thief Who Studied Ptolemy, The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein, The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier, and The Pot Thief Who Studied D.H. Lawrence. While I am working to find Mr. Orenduff a major publisher for his books, the books are in the meantime available and sold at