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Crazy for the Heat: Arizona Tales of Ghosts, Gumshoes and Bigfoot

Roger Naylor releases new book of Arizona fiction

Roger Naylor

Roger Naylor

Originally Published: August 11, 2020 10:45 a.m.

While local author Roger Naylor is best known for his books on Arizona travel and history, his latest focuses on delivering laughs.

Crazy for the Heat: Arizona Tales of Ghosts, Gumshoes, and Bigfoot is a collection of humorous short stories set in the Grand Canyon State.

Even though this is a book of fiction — and weird, skewed, funny fiction at that — Naylor says it’s not really so different from his travel books.

“Everything I write is about sharing my passion for Arizona,” said Naylor. “Naturally, the state appears as a prominent character in most of these stories. Cactus and roadrunners and red rocks and border towns and blazing sunsets and the perfume of rain are woven into the fabric of these stories. I’m not sure that I even know how to write anymore if Arizona is not involved.” 

Crazy for the Heat features nine funny quirky tales filled with oddball characters and twisted plots. But the settings are very real. A throwback private detective cracks wise and solves crimes in the mountaintop moonlight of Jerome.

In the sunbaked desert, visitors pull off the highway to admire the World’s Largest Ball of Chest Hair as a roadside attraction. Meanwhile, a group of Sedona residents can’t step outside without getting abducted by space aliens.

A longtime Cottonwood resident, Naylor worked as a stand-up comedian, humor writer, and radio personality for many years before dedicating himself to writing exclusively about Arizona.

“This book gives me a chance to return to my humor roots. I get to write a few strange and funky tales and keep them all close to my heart right here in Arizona. Of course, I’m still a travel writer. So I couldn’t resist slapping some pertinent information for travelers at the end of several of the stories. If I’m writing about Jerome, Sedona, Winslow or Tombstone, it’s because I love these places and I want everyone to explore them.”

Along with the laughs, readers will learn about Arizona history and marvel at the diverse natural beauty. This is a loving but skewed portrait from Arizona’s preeminent travel writer and a master storyteller.

Crazy for the Heat is available from Amazon as an eBook for $8.99 or in paperback for $11.99. Autographed copies may be ordered from Naylor’s website, www.rogernaylor.com.   

“My plan is to make every Arizona town the setting for at least one story. I’d like to fill all the nooks and crannies of this remarkable state from desert to mountains with twisted tales, stuttering plots, and strange narrators. Crazy for the Heat is the first batch.”

In addition to his many other accomplishments, Naylor is also the new narrator for Verde Canyon Railroad. Passengers on the excursion train will be entertained by his wit and folksy charm as they make the scenic journey into a high-walled canyon.

“I was honored when Verde Canyon Railroad asked me to record the narration for their train ride, which is such an Arizona treasure. It’s a pleasure to discuss the scenic wonders, geology, and history of the canyon, the lore of the railroad, and to spin a few tales of the communities and people that made this area their home. Telling stories is what writers do.”

Roger Naylor is one of Arizona’s premier travel writers. In 2018, he was inducted into the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame. His work appears most weeks in the Arizona Republic. He has also written for USA Today, Country Magazine, The Guardian, Arizona Highways and dozens more.

He is the author of several books including Arizona State Parks: A Guide to Amazing Places in the Grand Canyon State, Boots & Burgers: An Arizona Handbook for Hungry Hikers, Arizona Kicks on Route 66, and The Amazing Kolb Brothers of Grand Canyon.

For more information, or to order, visit rogernaylor.com.