Thursday, April 12, 2012

Thunder and Rain by Charles Martin

Thunder and Rain
Author: Charles Martin
Publisher: Center Street
Genre: Fiction
Date: April 2012

Tyler Steele is a third generation Texas ranger. He's polite to women, good with a gun, has a strong moral compass, and raises cows. He's living in a world where he almost doesn't quite fit in due to his beliefs and his compassion. Recently retired he's a single father living on his ranch raising his 11 year old son, Brodie. Having lived much of his life singularly focused on fighting the bad guys he has seen his failures and desires to live intentionally and raise his son with him in the picture. His life seems to be in ruins around him. He's practically divorced, he's in danger of losing his ranch, and he's a lawman without a badge.

On a rainy night Tyler bumps into a car on the freeway containing Samantha and her 10 year old daughter Hope. Broken down in the rain these two ladies are running from something. Battered and bruised they are nearly at the end of their resources. Tyler steps in and rescues them knowing he can help, knowing he can protect. What he doesn't know or expect is that his relationship with Sam and Hope will blossom into something bigger. In order to put the pieces of himself and his life together Tyler will need to come to face to face with his weaknesses in order to become stronger. 

Thunder and Rain will transport you to East Texas. Martin writes with such intense description you'll find yourself suddenly wanting to saddle up your horse and head to Texas. Martin is absolutely my favorite author and Thunder and Rain is a captivating read. Some of his other books have had a slower pace but this book does not. Intense from the beginning it grabs you and doesn't let you go. References to cowboys, gunfights, and John Wayne permeate throughout. The book is written primarily in first person from Tyler's point of view. However, quite often we get a glimpse into Hope's journal and see the story from her perspective.

I have to admit I read this book with a small measure of unease. Samantha is one messy character and I did not like her enough to want her to like Tyler. I felt like raising a caution flag every time things intensified between them. Getting involved with a woman like her seemed like a very bad choice. The beautiful thing about how Martin writes is he truly understands character development. He also writes with honesty. Yes, Tyler seems almost unreal in his cowboy hombre goodness and yet we are allowed to see the messy parts of him. Yes, Sam is a disaster but through Tyler we get to glimpse the good amidst the brokenness. While not overtly "Christian" the story of redemption and healing runs throughout. Thunder and Rain is rich with lessons for everyday life. Not to mention is just a stinking good read! Gun fights, danger, cowboys, romance, story, Texas sky, and more. You will not put it down, I promise!

Thank you to Center Street Publishers and my friends at Radiant Lit for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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