Hardback edition 1994, Otto Penzler Books, New York
"Geologist Emily Hansen, working as a mudlogger in the Tensleep Sandstone oilfield near tiny Meeteetse, Wyo., is sorely troubled by the seemingly accidental death of head geologist Bill Kretzmer and the subsequent killing of his protogee‚ Willie Sewell, who had suspicions of his own.
Inexplicable things are happening at the drilling operations, too, all of it overseen by vulgarly nasty company engineer Ed Meyer and his quiet sidekick Merle Johnson. Em investigates some disquieting minor occurrences: horses’ hoofprints in strange places; a missing drill bit used as a doorstop for her primitive, on-site trailer; tank trucks moving without lights in the wee hours; papers vanished from Kretzmer’s Denver office. It all comes together in a way that nearly kills a doggedly persistent heroine.
Oil-drilling operations and the rough-mouthed, rough-living characters who do the work get robust treatment here, but with the same sweet edge that enriches Em’s spiky character and gives subtle nuancing to geologist Andrews’s unhackneyed, accomplished first novel".
(Copyright (c)1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.)
"This debut, set at a Wyoming oil-drilling site, introduces a refreshing and less-than-voluptuous heroine ("plain" and "lumpy" she calls herself), but the narrative stumbles irretrievably over dropped bits of inadequately explained drilling lore.
Em Hansen works as a mudlogger among a mostly coarse crew of working men. Though she suffers the ill will of the majority, Em is doggedly attached to her work, which apparently involves recording data about mud samples, even as the arrival of a coolly elegant woman geologist increases the sexism quotient.
The first death claims Em’s mentor Bill, a careful man whose car skids out of control; next to go is young Willie, apparently crushed to death by wild horses. Although remaining an outsider among the crew, Em sets out to investigate the cause of the deaths, which may be linked to the oil field’s profitability.
The surfeit of oil-drilling lingo, the men’s hostility and Em’s continuing emphasis of both her unattractiveness and her excluded status combine to sabotage the novel’s promise".
(Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
The Library Journal
"As one of only two women connected with an oil-drilling rig, "mudlogger" Emily ("Em") Hansen endures sexual innuendo, a drunken trailer-mate, and long hours. But then two suspicious deaths within a week make her even more leery of her surroundings. Afraid at first to articulate her misgivings, Em limits her actions to visiting the "crime" scenes, then taking notes, and finally sharing her concerns with a trusted co-worker.
This first novel features steady, thoughtful prose; increasing violence; and a Wyoming landscape. For larger collections.
(Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc).
"Em Hansen is no private eye: she’s a mudlogger on an oil rig in Meeteese, Wyoming—the only female on the job until an accident claims the life of geologist and friend Bill Kretzmer, and he is replaced by beautiful, cool Alix Chadwick. Alix is more interested in rancher Chet Hawkins than oil, until she and Chet discover the body of young Willy Sewell. Only Em is suspicious about the details of the two deaths, but she enlists the aid of coworkers Johnny and Frank, and sparks—both romantic and dangerous—begin to fly.
Em’s stubbornness and smart thinking lead her to suspect slimy Ed Meyer, chief operations engineer, as well as the local sheriff, Ben Lewis. First-novelist Andrews is a geologist who has worked the oil patch, and it shows: her colorful descriptions of the literal nuts and bolts of the business bring the rough work and its rougher workers to life.
Although a tad overwritten in spots ("Conclusion mounted on me like a wave"), Tensleep offers a new voice and a new amateur sleuth, ‘Wyoming’s answer to Sherlock Holmes’".
Tony Hillerman, author of the Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn mysteries
"The best part of Tensleep is the fascinating tour Sarah Andrews gives us of the Wyoming oil patch she knows so well. The bonus is the lively mystery. Don’t miss it!"
Marcia Muller, author of the Sharon McCone mysteries
"Tensleep is a winner! Sarah Andrews combines the best elements of the mystery and the novel of the contemporary West to bring us a fresh-voiced new heroine. I want to see more of Em Hansen—and the sooner the better".
Gaea, the Association for Women Geoscientists newsletter
"Em Hansen is someone I can really identify with. A major part of the joy of this book is witnessing Em’s personal and professional growth as she grapples with solving the mystery in all its geological, oil-field technical, and human aspects".
The Journal of Sedimentary Research
"Tensleep‘s ending is convincing, and Em, like Sarah Andrews, comes across as warm, loquacious, and perceptive".
The New Orleans Times-Picayune
"Working within Andrews’ tight plot and well-drawn Western setting, Em is a fresh and welcome addition to the ranks of women detectives".
The Roanoke Times-World News
"This is a tough world Andrews paints, raw and basic, where women will always be outsiders, in a way. Em is an interesting character; edgy, difficult . . . it is fun to watch Em trying to find herself".
The Knoxville News-Sentinel
"Tensleep is Sarah Andrews’ first novel, and that’s a surprise because she writes like someone with a lot of experience. It’s a common talent among writers to tell a good story and evoke a time or a place. Andrews does all that, but she can also turn a phrase, giving her story a moment of music".
The Mystery Lovers Bookshop News
"Tensleep is a terrifically entertaining (and educational) debut by geologist Sarah Andrews".
"Sarah Andrews’s first book is a winner in several ways. It has a unique setting, its characters are real, and the mystery holds the readers’ attention as it doles out clues. . . . This is a well-written murder mystery and it speaks volumes by being more than that".
"Working on an oil-drilling rig in the Wyoming badlands, Em Hansen suspects foul play when a geologist and a well-worker fall prey to fatal accidents, and the feisty mudlogger learns the truths about her supervisors. A first novel".