Mara Tusconi Books

My books feature Mara Tusconi – Maine oceanographer turned sleuth who uses her sea kayak and science smarts to solve murders. Spunky and persistent, Mara braves icy Maine waters, motorboat chases, and ghosts from the past in her quest.

In Cold Blood, Hot Sea, published in 2016, Mara investigates something much hotter than the ocean’s temperature – a potential murder aboard Research Vessel Endeavor. When colleague and friend Peter Riley is crushed by a half-ton buoy in what is called a freak accident, Mara is outraged and suspicious. Despite denials by the Maine Oceanographic Institute, Mara thinks Peter’s death was made to look like a mishap.

In Demon Spirit, Devil Sea, out May 1st 2017, Mara is on another stunning marine coast – the Haida Gwaii islands fifty miles off British Columbia and three thousand from Maine. She’s with two other oceanographers – best friend Harvey and on-again, off-again lover Ted – but feels out of her element among totem poles and echoes of the Haida people’s past.

I was motivated to write the series when I listened to a famous climate scientist describe the tactics climate change doubters used to harass him. To read an interview in which I describe this and my life as a college professor and marine scientist click the link.

Cold Blood, Hot Sea
2017 Mystery Finalist Forward Review Indies

New Cover

“Through its mystery and its specificity, the novel manages to convey a global problem on a personal level… COLD BLOOD, HOT SEA will make for great beach reading but it also has meat on its bones, with rich characterizations and an intriguing mystery at its core.”
Foreword Reviews

“Sleuths will have to figure out who done it, but the real crime is the backdrop here: the endless heating of a fragile planet.”
Bill McKibben, author of Eaarth and founder of

“[A] whirlwind of plot–driven activity.”

a cli-fi mystery that both entertains and bores deep into the heart of the issues. The author knows her science, too.” 
Dan Bloom, editor, The Cli-Fi Report

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Demon Spirit, Devil Sea
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Maine oceanographer Mara Tusconi switches coasts and encounters plenty of peril in Charlene D’Avanzo’s second cli-fi mystery, Demon Spirit, Devil Sea. The suspicious death of a young Haida tribal leader on an island off the coast of British Columbia leads Mara deep into the political intrigue of the Haida people, making for a compelling page-turner that also provides a fascinating peephole into the world of ocean science and climate change.
– Scott Graham, author of the National Parks Mystery Series

Jam-packed with fascinating science, this suspenseful novel delivers as an entertaining and enlightening read. Our endangered earth is in good hands with Charlene D’Avanzo.
– Meg Little Reilly, author of We Are Unprepared

Oceanographer Mara takes you into the rough waters of Haida Gwaii where the turbulence on the water isn’t the only challenge she faces.
– Emily Jackson, co-founder of Jackson Kayaks, two-time World Champion Freestyle Kayaker



Copper River, AK

On the Copper River, Alaska


Kayaking near my home in Yarmouth, Maine