Thunder and Rain — A Book Review
Above is Charles Martin talking about his latest book, “Thunder and Rain”.
I wish I could write like Charles Martin. I have read every one of his books and his latest, “Thunder and Rain” is another powerfully well written book that should please every “man’s man” and the women in our lives.
“Thunder and Rain” is about Tyler “Cowboy” Steele, a Texas Ranger returning from a mysterious trip to see his wife when he bumps into a stalled car on Interstate 10 in the middle of a deluge. Shades of “rain” begin right at the start and progress to “thunder” toward the end. Tyler’s wife is somehow physically separated from him and from his son, Brodie. We don’t find out more about this until later on.
What grabs you from the start is Cowboy. A powerful, but simple man dedicated to seeing everything in black and white, not shades of gray. When he discovers the car is driven by a woman and her daughter running away from certain trouble, he immediately agrees to help them. What starts out as a trip to a nearby truck stop for some oil for the aging car’s engine turns into a trip across two states to elude the hands of an evil man.
The beauty of this book is it’s simplicity in its characters and its story. Cowboy is one of the best characters I have read in ages. Strong, certain, terse in his speech but incredibly loyal to the people he cares about. I would love to sit down in the Brazos River while the “arms of God” swirl around me right next to Cowboy and talk about life. I can for sure tell you that if I needed a lawman, Cowboy would be my first and only choice!
I grew up on a farm with a pasture and cows and horses and I can relate very well to the Bar S ranch and it’s problems. I can see Cowboy’s eleven year old son, Brodie as a very pale reflection of my own childhood. Only, my father wasn’t a Texas Ranger. Makes a difference. Big difference.
Hope, Sam’s daughter, is the star of this book. She is the heart and the soul of every person as she writes letters to God throughout the book. I must admit, some of the hard questions she asks of God and some of the hard answers she gives to God come right from my own life. I admire her bravery to talk to God the way she does. But, it is in her musings we learn the secret of God’s working in our lives; His subtle use of “evil” and “suffering” as gentle reminders that He is still in control; His quiet answers to loud questions; His challenges to us to step out on faith and watch as He works in ways we could never have imagined.
The growing threat in “Thunder and Rain” is the eminent release of the prisoner that almost cost Cowboy’s life at the same time as the arrival in the small West Texas town of the man searching for Sam and Hope and the return of Cowboy’s estranged wife. How will he protect those he loves? Will he use the thing he has hidden in the bell tower? How will he choose between the love he still has for his wife, now divorced, and the new love of his life, Sam?
If you have not read any of Charles Martin’s previous books, your life is sadly lacking. He writes about a “man’s man” and yet brushes our skin with the hint of romance and true love. “Thunder and Rain” is easily the best of the lot. Charles Martin has created an endearing and unforgettable character in “Cowboy” and I will think on that man’s journey, the lessons he learned, and the lessons he has taught me for some time to come.
Oh, and the last journal entry by Hope is breathtaking! Satisfying! Powerful! This author of Christian horror laughed and cringed and cried. Read it and feel the powerful percussions of thunder and the gentle touch of rain!