Book Review – Blind Tiger by Sandra Brown – Lively Read
My Rating – 4 out of 5
Plot Summary – Blind Tiger
A languid tale of entrepreneurship, perseverance, love, and crime from the eminent Sandra Brown, set in 1920’s America. It sets off with a now-familiar tale of War induced PTSD and its devastating effects and branches off into the survival of a society crippled by the economic troubles of a post-war country and the infamous Prohibition. The thirteen years of Prohibition from the year 1920 made criminals out of good men and women and rather than the Government earning revenue from the sale of Liquor, the manufacturing went underground as did the consumption, and caused huge losses to the exchequer!
Laurel Plummer sets out for a new life with her husband Derby (the PTSD-affected Veteran, just back from the Great War in Europe) and her infant daughter Pearl. They reach Foley, Texas where Derby’s hitherto estranged father, Irv, lives. But tragedy strikes soon after, leaving Laurel destitute and almost a pauper. Though Irv takes them in, Laurel will have to do something to support her family and make a fist of what life has handed her. Despite her sheltered life till now, Laurel is no wilting sunflower, rather the steel in her spine shows the more life throws challenges at her.
Thatcher Hutton is another war Veteran, returning to his adopted home in Amarillo, Texas when he is forced to jump off a freight car and hike his way to the nearest town, which happens to be Foley. On the day he arrives at Foley and goes to meet a house owner for a rented accommodation, that is the day when the local Doctor’s pregnant wife goes missing! Understandably, Police Sherriff Bill Amos suspects the newly arrived vagrant in town, though he is increasingly convinced that Thatcher is not his man. The town of Foley is not your pleasant little residential abode – it has its share of corrupt politicians, crooked cops, and Mafia-type criminals.
The forced clampdown of liquor production, distribution, and sale and its subsequent criminalization made many a straight man go bent, and bootlegging, moonshine etc. became a sort of cottage industry – especially across the length and breadth of Texas. Into this backdrop, the novel is set and Ms. Brown demonstrates great skill to not be judgemental or morally inflexible but at the same time bring enough drama into her narrative, through the incidents she captures. All her characters have their flaws, some more than others and she amply demonstrates through them that humans are the evilest among God’s creations and the depredations and cruelty one human can inflict upon another, is limitless.
Conclusion – Book Review of Blind Tiger
Beautifully written and the pace builds up slow and steady into a supersonic flight before you know it. All the characters are fleshed out very well and are done casually while moving the story forward. The two chief protagonists, Laurel and Thatcher, while they end up on opposing sides of the spectrum, are strong characters and despite this being set in the 1920s, are essentially timeless! The novel slowly grows on you, till the last quarter, and then you cannot put it down till you have finished it.
Strongly recommended as Ms. Brown’s mastery over her skill is an art to be experienced and long after you finish reading the novel, the aftertaste lingers on and patiently suffuses the reader with a satisfied glow, of having read an inspiring tale!
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