#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis

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#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis

What a life. Read books. Eat. Sleep. Read more. Write. Write. Edit. Read another book. I’d say a blessed existence. Especially, since I’ve recently offered up giving book reviews as #BagLady Book Reviews.

So, on we go with the next installment of #BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis.

#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis

When I finished reading Randall Silvis’s latest novel FIRST THE THUNDER (November 2018, Thomas & Mercer), I sat back, took in a deep breath, and thought, “I have to wait for his next book?!” I hate waiting. Patience has never been my strong suit. And patience shirks away from me when it comes to Randall Silvis books. I first read him when I picked up an e-copy of Blood & Ink. From Blood & Ink, I’ve been hooked on Silvis’s writing–his turns of phrase, his voicey narration, and his come-to-life characters. IMHO, Silvis is a self-made master of fiction. He told me in an interview on Dialogue January 2018, he took a year off, read a book a day, devoured fiction, then started writing novels. His self-training seems to have worked. He’s gotten major publishing deal after major publishing deal. His writing elicits visceral imagery, palpable conflict, and a core understanding of the human conditions through his characterization.

FIRST THE THUNDER is no different. In a tale of three brothers, reminiscent of Greek tragedy, the brothers (products of their run-down Pennsylvania mining town), grapple with life in decline. Harvey drives a delivery truck; Stevie works odd jobs; and Will is a struggling bar owner whose wife, Laci, is edging toward desperation when her boss offers her more money…for a price. Then, in this tight circle where prosperity is rare—and hope, even rarer—comes a breaking point in a simple but indefensible slight… When Harvey gets shafted by his brother-in-law in a deal over a vintage Indian motorcycle, he enlists the help of Stevie and Will to set things right. But the revenge plan goes awry, and the three men stumble upon a shocking secret that, if revealed, would upend their lives. As they’re crushed under the weight of a nightmarish truth and the damning evidence in their possession, it’s up to Laci to save her family from the coming storm the brothers have wrought. And no one is prepared for the fallout.

And believe me, the reader will not escape the turmoil that grows to the tipping point within this tale. The story does gymnastics with your mind. Silvis has created a story stuffed full of interesting characters, situations, and tension, that you fly through this book. Layered with characters ranging from the cool and steady to the furious and injured. Each character comes alive in FIRST THE THUNDER. Not your typical mystery, no. This story’s mystery lies deep within the characters until once their secrets can no longer stay under wraps, they explode… in grand fashion. Casualties all around, certainly of the psychological kind. This story becomes so real that you think you might be reading about it in your local newspaper. A redemptive story of heartbreaking brilliance, FIRST THE THUNDER, is a must-have on your library shelves.

FIRST THE THUNDER gets a 5-heart review: Image result for heartImage result for heartImage result for heartImage result for heartImage result for heart

Randall Silvis is the internationally acclaimed author of over a dozen novels, one story collection, and one book of narrative nonfiction. Also a prize-winning playwright, a produced screenwriter, and a prolific essayist, he has been published and produced in virtually every field and genre of creative writing. His numerous essays, articles, poems and short stories have appeared in the Discovery Channel magazines, The Writer, Prism International, Short Story International, Manoa, and numerous other online and print magazines. His work has been translated into 10 languages.

Silvis’s many literary awards include two writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize, a Fulbright Senior Scholar Research Award, six fellowships for his fiction, drama, and screenwriting from the Pennsylvania Council On the Arts, and an honorary Doctor of Letters degree awarded for “distinguished literary achievement.”

#BagLady Book Reviews: FIRST THE THUNDER by Randall Silvis

The #BagLady B Busy reading and writing. #BagLady says, “Read a book!”


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1 Comment

  1. Jo on November 28, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    And the list of “to read’s” becomes longer …

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