Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Tithing Herd - Review

The Tithing Herd
© 2015 J.R. Lindermuth
A western Online Press Publication

This book intrigued me because of the western community about which I hadn't read much. I was also interested in a Western, by J.R. Lindermuth. I've read several Lindermuth books—historical fiction, historical mysteries, contemporary mysteries—and they have been set east of the Alleghenies. My western self wondered if he would give a good sense of place about the West. I should have known it wouldn't be a problem. Lindermuth is too good a writer, and this book settled me strongly in the West, among well-crafted characters.

The story had a distinctive classic Western edge, with ex-sheriff Luther Donnelly on the trail of the nasty criminals who killed his brother. But at the get-go, Donnelly finds young Tom Baskin, who has been strung up by his heels from a lone tree in a desolate location and left to die. Once Donnelly rescues him, Tom has revenge on his mind, too.

Donnelly isn't too keen on his newly-acquired sidekick, and hopes to lose him at the ranch of a friend. But Donnelly and Baskin are both roped into helping Mormon ranchers who have to get their cattle—their tithing herd—the the central holding pens. Donnelly has a feeling this herd will be a draw for the criminals he's seeking.

The outlaws are vicious, and they have plans of their own.
How the story plays out is intricate and violent.

Lindermuth also adds touches of romance, a few that might have been a bit over the top. But I don't appreciate romance elements, and they are a standard element in a classic Western.

In all, I appreciated the story, found the writing top-notch, and wonder if the multi-talented Lindermuth will add more books to this genre.

J.R. Lindermuth is the author of 12 novels, including six in the Stix Hendrick Mystery series. A retired newspaper editor/writer, he is the current librarian of his Pennsylvania county's historical society.
Member: International Thriller Writers, Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Website: www.jrlindermuth.net

Sunday, August 23, 2015

American Author: Did You Know?

James Fenimore Cooper is one of America's first novelists. In his first series, The Littlepage Manuscripts, Corny Littlepage is the hero of the Satanstoe. Other books in the series, (written in two years) are The Chainbearer and The Redskins (today this title would be decried by many). All these novels deal with the anti-rent controversy (Helderberg War) of the 1840s. Cooper's strong political feelings in favor of the landed gentry progressively colored each book until the last is considered more of a diatribe than a novel.

Since he favored the "landed gentry" they obviously favored him, by publishing his books that espoused their needs with no care to the essence of a good novel. (Even in 1840, it paid for a writer to have connections).

Cooper's best known and hallmark Leatherstocking Series wasn't named for a character. The five books tell the career of "natural man" Natty Bumppo from his youth (Deerslayer) to his death (The Prairie). The Leatherstocking series also includes The Pioneers (1823), The Last of the Mohicans (1826), and The Pathfinder (1840).

Saturday, August 15, 2015

August Storm Pictures

Heavy storms came through western Montana on the evening of 14 August. The Helena area received a steady barrage of rain and lightning. From my place, up on the North Hills, I watched it roll by before it finally swung north of town and gave our area a needed drenching.

With my camera (Nikon 610), movie making is rather easy. I can also save individual frames as still pictures; that's where these are from. I did, however, forget to turn off the sound :-/. If you watch this, you should cut the sound unless you want to hear mumbled commentary from the Rogers Cup match I had on TV.

Unfortunately, the lightning sparked new forest fires and made existing fires harder to control. With persistent winds from the west, this morning found the valley under heavy haze. That probably won't go away for a while, with fires burning in western Montana, Idaho and Oregon.

I hope my friends and colleagues throughout the region are safe from these August storms.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

An Unexpected Pleasure

The 8th and 9th of August found me in Lincoln, Montana, on the west side of the Divide about 50 miles from Helena, with my traditional photography, photoArt, and digital art. This was the third annual Lincoln Arts in the Park, held at Hooper State Park, right off highway 200. A nice facility, with a pavilion at the center where musicians gave a concert on Saturday evening.
An artist colleague, Judy Johnson who lives in Lincoln, had encouraged me to participate in the show, but this was the first year I got there.

my set up
This was also the first show where I displayed my digital sculptures. The response was encouraging; the public liked them,
other artist who stopped by gave compliments, and I sold a few, too. But a surprise really made my weekend.

A reporter from the local paper came by, interviewing participants and I explained my work "And I also write the books," I said, indicating the back table. She walked over and her eyes widened. She looked at me. "You wrote that book?" she exclaimed, pointing at a copy of Spotted Flower and the Ponokomita.
cover of first edition
I said yes, and she gushed, "I read that when I was a little girl!"

"A hard back with a blue cover?" I asked.

"Yes! I still have it." She was all smiles and exuded happiness.

I was all smiles, too, to think that someone had read that first edition (published in 1978) as a child and remembered it so clearly. I told her this was the second printing of the second edition; she bought a copy to give to a friend’s daughter, which I happily signed.

With all the things that could have happened in Lincoln, that was certainly an unexpected pleasure.