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A Thousand Falling Crows by Larry D. Sweazy
Cover Artist: Valentino Sani / Arcangel Images
Review by Mel Jacob
Seventh Street Books Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9781633880849
Date: 05 January 2016 List Price $15.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Set in the 1930s amid the Depression and the raids of Bonnie and Clyde, A Thousand Falling Crows by Larry D. Sweazy, follows the search by Sonny Burton for the teenage daughter of a Mexican who befriended him. He fears he may not be able to save her from police guns trying to take down fleeing murderers.

Well written, the novel includes multiple stories of Sonny who lost an arm in a chase after Bonnie and Clyde, of two teenage brothers, and of a young Mexican girl. It cuts back and forth between a murder of crows as they follow a brutal killer of young women, Sonny, and Carmen.

After being forced into retirement and having his right arm amputated, former Texas Ranger, Sonny, has trouble accepting the change in his life. His wife is dead and he is estranged from his son, also a Ranger. Depressed, he considers suicide.

Determined to manage his own life, he manages to drive his manual shift truck with his left arm. While at the grocery story, two young men try to rob the store. In the ensuing faceoff, one of them shoots and kills the storeowner and they depart. Sonny is furious that he was unable to stop the murder.

On his way home, he hits a dog. When he goes to shoot the dog, he can't and takes it to the local vet who patches up the broken limb, but refuses to keep the dog. Sonny takes it home and a bond grows between the two.

A Mexican cleaner from the hospital seeks Sonny’s help to find his granddaughter, Carmen. Sonny suspects she might have been the driver of the get-away car. He contacts a former colleague and the join the chase for the killers. Sonny hopes to save the girl and keep her out of prison.

Meanwhile, the killing of young women continues unabated and suspicion falls on the vet, but Sonny rejects that. The vet and his wife shelter unwed women so they can deliver their child, which they may keep or have the vet take the infant to a local orphanage. The vet even hates to kill seriously injured animals with no hope of survival.

The Mexican comments on a popular local nurse's possible pregnancy. When Sonny next sees her, she is clearly not pregnant and he begins to wonder why not. However, the chase of the killers draws him away from his suspicions.

The mystery of the young women's killer's identity remains more the background to Sonny's search for a role after he is no longer a Ranger. Sonny’s bonding with the injured dog and the search for the young girl remind him he had a life to live. While Carmen learns there is more to love than romance and some things are not worth the cost of lives.

Sweazy is an accomplished writer although he stretches things a bit by using the viewpoint of the crows. Sonny and the depiction of Depression era Oklahoma ring true. Sweazy has a number of other mystery novels and stories to his credit

Our Readers Respond

From: Susan Oleksiw:
The title drew me to this book, and the time period held me. I haven't read it yet but I've put it on my list. I simply love the title.

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