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Big Wheat: A Tale of Bindlestiffs and Blood    by Richard A. Thompson order for
Big Wheat
by Richard A. Thompson
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The summer of 1919 has just ended and it is harvest time on the high prairie. Men, woman and machines move across the land bringing in the wheat harvest. Farmers' survival through the winter depends on the sale of their crop.

Danger looms, though. Not from the elements but from man. An individual, that is, calling himself the Windmill Man. He's on a divine mission to feed the earth with human blood, which he believes is necessary for the world to exist. He leaves a wide swathe of missing people, whom he buries after torturing and terrorizing them.

Twenty-two year-old Charlie Krueger leaves home after being told his sweetheart doesn't love him. By chance, he joins a traveling group with huge farming machinery, providing farmers with their much-needed machines and skills.

The woman who jilted Charlie is found murdered and Charlie begins running from the accusation that he is responsible for her death. This is not only a good mystery but also a history of the beginning of the Dust Bowl. Author Richard A. Thompson's knowledge of the steam-driven machinery is awesome and he manages to make pure facts as interesting as the rest of the tale.

As Charlie runs for his life, he is followed by the Windmill Man. The plot takes a real turn here and makes breathing a little harder for the reader. Suspense - as well as more dead bodies - prevails.

For a really good read, don't miss Big Wheat. This third book by Thompson is as good as his first two, Fiddle Game and Frag Box. And, take my word for it, they were good.

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