Desperate times call for desperate measures in Kalteis’s lightning-fast crime caper story
Sonny and Clara Myers struggle on their Kansas farm in the late 1930s, a time the Lord gave up on: their land’s gone dry, barren, and worthless; the bankers are greedy and hungry, trying to squeeze them and other farmers out of their homes; and, on top of that, their marriage is in trouble. The couple can struggle and wither along with the land or surrender to the bankers and hightail it to California like most of the others. Clara is all for leaving, but Sonny refuses to abandon the family farm.
In a fit of temper, she takes off westward in their old battered truck. Alone on the farm and determined to get back Clara and the good old days, Sonny comes up with an idea, a way to keep his land and even prosper while giving the banks a taste of their own misery. He sets the scheme in motion under the cover of the commotion being caused by a rainmaker hired by the mayor to call down the thunder and wash away everyone’s troubles.
Dietrich Kalteis is the award-winning author of Ride the Lightning (bronze medal, 2015 Independent Publisher Book Awards, for best regional fiction), The Deadbeat Club, Triggerfish, House of Blazes (silver medal, 2017 IPPY, for best historical fiction), Zero Avenue, and Poughkeepsie Shuffle. He lives with his family in Vancouver, B.C.
“Kalteis does a brilliant job of planting us in this particular time and place . . . Even at its darkest, the story is lifted by a light, engaging touch. A sharp-witted, affecting noir, Dust Bowl-style.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Kalteis does a fine job of scene setting; the reader can practically smell the horehound candy at the general store and feel the grit in the air at Sonny's farm. Fans of historical crime fiction won't want to miss this one.” — Publishers Weekly
“Immensely readable, tough but beguiling, Call Down the Thunder is a highly original novel: a pacy caper set in ugly times as the dust bowl, the depression, and the Klan gang up on a ragbag of dirt farmers, circus folk, and one indomitable woman, all hoping to scrape by till the rains come. Laugh-out-loud funny, lump-in-the-throat moving, and packed with surprises. I loved it.” — Catriona McPherson, multi-award-winning and national best-selling author of Strangers at the Gate
“Call Down the Thunder brilliantly weaves history and fiction to give us a gritty, raw-boned tale of survival and retribution in the ‘Dirty Thirties’ of depression-era Kansas.” — Mark Coggins, award-winning author of The Dead Beat Scroll
“‘Depression, drought, dusters, and debt been like the farming man’s four horsemen.’ And the reader feels every one of those four horsemen bearing down. Call Down the Thunder has charlatans, loan sharks, soulless bankers, and haters in white bedsheets burning crosses. And you just know they are all going to converge in disaster for the novel’s protagonists. Kalteis is such a skillful writer that you feel you’re in dustbowl Kansas right from page one; you catch yourself talking in the local dialect and thinking twice about parting with a nickel in case one never rolls your way again. The voice, the characters, and the setting are brilliantly realized!” — Anne Emery, award-winning author of Though the Heavens Fall