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Retirement. Publishers, thank you for the many years of reading pleasure you gave me, but all good things must come to an end. Due to failing eyesight I am forced to retire. I can no longer review your books, and any that you send will be donated to the local library, unread. Do not send any more. I can only read for a couple hours every day, and this does not allow me to finish a book in reasonable time. I will be devoting time to my own books from now on, and reading on a personal level. Books that interest me. I prefer paperbacks and hardbacks, not eBooks. My eyesight has been failing the last few years, and I cannot handle hundreds of review books any more. My books are still available for review. Anyone interested in reviewing any of them, they are found in the Link to Tom’s Books On Amazon. Contact me for pdf copies at

Monday, August 14, 2017

South California Purple

The year is 1973, and the last of America's soldiers are returning home from Vietnam, often shouted down and spat upon by protesters, while the first toxic cracks of public mistrust have begun to appear at the highest levels of government. The American Indian Movement has entered into a bloody occupation of Wounded Knee, gas shortages have pushed the economy into deep recession, and violent civil unrest is captured in living color and televised nightly on the evening news. But rural Meriwether County, tucked away amid the sweeping river valleys and serrated mountain ridges of southern Oregon has been left largely untouched by time. Until now. Cattle rancher Ty Dawson, a complex man tormented by elements of his own past, is involuntarily conscripted to assist local law enforcement when a herd of wild mustangs is rounded up and corralled in anticipation of a government auction, igniting the passions of political activist Teresa Pineu, who threatens to fan the flames of an uprising that grows rapidly out of control. As the past collides with the present, and hostility escalates into brutality and bloodshed, Ty is drawn into a complex web of predatory alliances and corruption where he must choose to stand and fight, or watch as the last remnants of the American West are consumed in a lawless conflagration of avarice and cruelty. Set against the rugged backdrop of Oregon's vast ranchlands, South California Purples is a novel of loyalty, passion and murder, as seen through the eyes of a cast of unforgettable characters and crafted with lyrical prose and dialogue. It is the first in a new series that weaves together the sometimes poignant, often violent, strains of the 1970s and the human costs of a nation in transition.

South California Purples (Western/Thriller)
By Baron R. Birtcher
Permanent Press
ISBN #978-1579625009
Price $28.00 (hardback)
248 Pages
Earing 4-Stars

Cattle are being killed on ranches in Meriwether County in Oregon, and the corpse show strange injuries. Now the government is rounding up mustangs for auction, and government activist, Teresa Pineu has asked for help from a motorcycle gang, who are camping on her property. The sheriff conscripts Ty Dawson, a former captain in the military police during the Korean War, to help in law enforcement. It’s 1973, and the Vietnam War is winding down, Watergate is on the news, and the American Indian Movement has occupied Wounded Knee, and things are getting bloody everywhere. The sheriff is afraid the same thing will happen in Meriwether County.

The story is told in Three Parts; Part One, the first 62 pages sets the story up, introducing most of the main characters. The author’s writing is topnotch, but the first 62 pages were so slow I almost didn’t bother with the rest of the book. It does pick up speed with Parts Two and Three, but I didn’t find it as entertaining as HARD LATITUDES, his previous novel I read. Still, it is an interesting novel that depicts a slowly dying American way of life, when cowboys still rode the range on horseback instead of helicopters. Highly recommended.

Tom Johnson

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