In Memory of Aimee Thurlo


Before Aimee's sudden death in February of this year, David and Aimee Thurlo had, together and separately, written more than seventy five novels in a variety of genres.

The Thurlos' writing career began when Aimee was inspired to write a novel while David was teaching middle school. She sat down with legal pad and pencil, began a romantic intrigue, and soon found David looking over her shoulder whenever class was out. They quickly discovered that they could write with one voice, and their combined efforts resulted in books characterized by the unique stamp that defined their partnership in life and work.

In addition to many romantic suspense novels written primarily for Harlequin Intrigue, the Thurlos have written four different mystery series, each featuring a very different primary investigator. In the Sister Agatha series, mysteries are solved by a nun; the Lee Nez series features a partnership between a Navajo vampire and an FBI agent. Their longest running series are the Ella Clah police procedural novels set on the Navajo Reservation. Ella Clah is a Special Investigator for the Navajo Police Department. The series concluded recently with GHOST MEDICINE, the seventeenth novel, a few months before Aimee's unexpected passing.

The current series, written by David, features Charlie Henry, a Native American and former Army vet who owns a pawn shop with his ex-Army buddy, Gordon. The two continually find themselves getting involved into dangerous situations, then take it upon themselves to find justice for the innocent. The well-received first novel, THE PAWNBROKER is followed by GRAVE CONSEQUENCES, pub date January 27, 2015.

Before Aimee's death the Thurlos had completed the manuscripts for two Harlequin Intrigues - UNDERCOVER WARRIOR and EAGLE'S LAST STAND. They'd also worked together planning the revisions for their second romantic suspense novel, LOOKING THROUGH DARKNESS for Forge. This novel is the second in a planned series of trading post novels set just off the Navajo Nation, and was preceded by A TIME OF CHANGE, released in 2013.

David implemented those revisions, then began working with his editors to insure the books not yet published will be available to readers within the next year. He's looking forward to continuing the Charlie Henry series and other projects if the opportunity presents itself.

The Thurlos' have sold over one million Harlequins to date, and their novels have been translated and sold worldwide in more than 18 countries. Their books have been widely praised by reviewers and critics and have received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist.

The Thurlos received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, a Willa Cather Award for Contemporary Fiction, and the New Mexico Book Award for Mystery and Suspense. They've made various Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Borders national bestseller lists. Their Lee Nez vampire series has been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

David Thurlo was raised on the Navajo Nation in Shiprock. His father worked for the Bureau of Mines at the Navajo Helium Plant, where helium was extracted from natural gas, and the family lived near the Kerr-McGee uranium mill. Later, David's home and entire neighborhood were found to be hot beds of radioactive contamination and were subsequently demolished and buried. David is a graduate of Shiprock High School and the University of New Mexico, where he received a Master of Arts in Teaching Science.

During David's senior year of college, Aimee Salcedo Berndes moved in next door. Born in Havana, Cuba, she'd been living for some time in New Orleans before relocating to New Mexico on the advice of her doctors because she suffered from severe asthma. Aimee was a naturalized citizen of the United States. David and Aimee fell in love at first sight and were married less than three weeks later. Theirs was a true partnership, both personal and professional, that lasted for over 43 years.

Aimee's life was not all work. She was an enthusiastic animal lover and, over the years she kept a bull snake, mice, many domestic rats (including two rescues) and two horses, one of them a BLM mustang. Aimee took dressage and hunter jumper training from a Corrales trainer and rode for many years along the ditch banks, bosque, and her own arena.

Though she suffered from asthma, she found and raised two American Staffordshire Terriers, Clouseau and Chloe, an injured puppy at the shelter about to be put down. Chloe watched over Aimee for thirteen years. Aimee also found a German shepherd cross puppy living under a tumbleweed near the FAA radar facility, and despite her wheezing, kept the animal. Marcy lived ten more years and was the most loyal dog anyone could imagine.

At one time Aimee owned five dogs, mostly poodles adopted from the Roswell Humane Society, her favorite charity. Just a week prior to her death, her latest rescue, a large standard poodle named Gabriel from South Carolina, succumbed to stomach cancer. Aimee and her office companion were inseparable. Gabriel was by her side until the day before he died. Her two remaining poodles, Marlowe and Ella, now keep David company. Aimee was driven by her need to prove her worth and make her contribution to society, but she was very outgoing in public and made easy connections with those she met. She will be missed not only by those who knew her, but by the millions who fell in love with the characters in her books.

David continues to stay in contact with friends and readers and is working on book projects, gardening, and spending time with his standard poodles.