Those looking for a genuinely worthy modern Western and a great masculine read should consider Charles Martin’s latest, THUNDER AND RAIN, an enlivening, inspiring and action-packed novel. It is filled with fighting scenes and various elements: suspense, mystery, martial arts, violent shoot-outs, redneck humor, tasteful touches of eroticism (written from the perspective of a perfect gentleman), great pacing, inoffensive but effectual spirituality, and just the right amount of sensitivity and emphasis on what’s important.
"Those looking for a genuinely worthy modern Western and a great masculine read should consider Charles Martin’s latest, THUNDER AND RAIN, an enlivening, inspiring and action-packed novel."
Somewhere near the border of Louisiana, Texas lawman Tyler Steele is on the job, on the long road home to his ranch in dear-old Texas, when he meets a woman and her young daughter in trouble. The two were driving straight and hard in a beaten-up old car that has broken down on the freeway, and both are clearly hiding, shaken by something going on but remaining silent. The lady seems reticent to accept Tyler’s help at all, but is tentatively grateful when he manages to get them off the road and out of a very vulnerable position.
In the parking lot of a nearby truck stop, out in the open and in the dark, Tyler watches them and is able to thwart two different attacks on the woman. The last one is a very sudden and violent assault by a man who brutalizes and attempts to kidnap both mother and child in full view of the parked trucks. This is clearly the work of an expert --- a crooked cop who unfortunately is also an abusive ex-boyfriend, a very nasty, unscrupulous guy. They never would have escaped without skilled aid, so running into a cowboy seems to be a miracle. A third-generation Texas Ranger, Tyler really does come from “a dying breed.”
This book is written in much the same way as a suspenseful movie in that the action continues and is effective. “Cowboy” (as his friends call him) takes the lead, keeps his head, and rescues the woman and child from the immediate threat, preventing a double murder. But in the process, he has become deeply personally entangled with strangers whom his conscience will not allow him to abandon. A search for relatives and relations of the two brings no hope for shelter or aid, which forces Tyler to choose between letting them go --- knowing they will certainly become homeless and completely vulnerable to a villain --- or getting involved at the expense of his own life and family.
Because Tyler is a good man, the choice is clear. He offers his services freely and without any expectation of repayment, bringing the two home to his own humble ranch in Texas, and personally helps them make a new start knowing he’ll eventually have to protect them from continued threats that will probably bring the fight to his own doorstep --- and despite the fact that his son (who is still struggling from his father’s recent decision to divorce his mother) will undoubtedly be upset by the situation.
THUNDER AND RAIN is about real love and hard choices. One of the main themes is how choosing to be a hero often changes a person and takes its toll on the lives of loved ones. I’ll warn you that, after starting the book, you will not be able to put it down.
Reviewed by Melanie Smith on April 6, 2012