“Laurie Loewenstein’s vivid Death of a Rainmaker is at once an engrossing yarn, an elegant inquiry into human desperation and a portrait of Depression-era America so searingly authentic that the topsoil practically blows off each page.”
—Louis Bayard, Author of Mr. Timothy and The Pale Blue Eye
“Reading Death of a Rainmaker is like slipping through time right into a 1930’s black and white movie. Suddenly you live in Jackson County, Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl, and you know what the cinema and the hardware store and the courthouse look like, and the townspeople are your family, and you care so deeply about what happens to them that you can’t tear your eyes from the pages of this book. It’s odd for a story about a murder to be gentle and generous, but this one is. I fell in love with everyone in town, except of course, those who turned out to be trouble. I sure hope this is a series, because I’m smitten.”
—Robin Oliveira, author of My Name is Mary Sutter
and The Winter Sisters
“As if the black blizzards of the Dust Bowl weren’t worrisome enough for an Oklahoma sheriff and his spunky wife, in Death of a Rainmaker Laurie Loewenstein piles on even more troubles–a murder victim’s corpse buried in a sand storm, an array of possible perpetrators, a small community already riven by secrets and swirls of distrust, and a contentious election in which the sheriff’s honesty and competence are on the ballot. Like the storms themselves, the plot powers its way across the landscape and seeps into everything it encounters.”
—Dayton Duncan, Author of The Dust Bowl
“During one of America’s most devastating periods – the Depression-era Dust Bowl, a huckster is murdered as a dust storm hurtles into a small Oklahoma town. What follows is both an authentic tale of the drought-stricken plains, and a lovingly and eloquently told murder mystery. It is not just the unfolding plot and the metaphorical obscuring of truth by dust, but Loewenstein’s masterful prose, with its tender language and skillful resonance, that will captivate readers and keep them enthralled. Death of a Rainmaker is both a gripping tale of murder, and a glimpse into resilience and love in a time of savage loss, scarcity and fear.”
—Leslie Schwartz, Author of two novels
and The Lost Chapters, a memoir
“When the wind comes sweeping down the plain in Death of a Rainmaker, Loewenstein takes your breath away. Her haunting and vivid prose deftly describes the opening chords of a dust storm that left families dead of dust pneumonia or dead broke. In this gripping tale of a sheriff searching for a killer in a dying town, Loewenstein rounds up characters with true grit, cunning, and kindness. Ultimately, the mystery in her timeless, compassionate novel is how much we should watch out for ourselves or others.”
—Mary Kay Zuravleff, Author of Man Alive!
“Laurie Loewenstein’s Death of a Rainmaker is a jewel of a novel. The only movie theater in town, which is near bankruptcy, is actually called The Jewel. It is run by Chester, a blind man, and his companion Lottie, an unmarried couple of long standing. It is August 2, 1935 in Vermillion, Oklahoma, and we are stuck smack dab in the Great Depression. To top it off, rain won’t fall. Loewenstein takes us there magically and effortlessly. Scenes and characters are so vivid and alive that you forget that the Internet and Interstate Roads haven’t been around forever.
At the height of Vermillion’s misery a mysterious stranger named Coombs shows up and bewitches the citizenry into believing he can bring on a downpour. After all his showmanship and fireworks, not a drop falls. Dust storms come with howling winds that cause some to take to drink. On one of the darkest days Coombs is found dead in the alley outside the movie theater. The sheriff investigates and his story comes out jam packed with surprises.
Throughout Loewenstein paints a picture of life in the Great Depression. Dish night at the Jewel. Helen Trent on the radio. The radio itself. ‘Join us tomorrow for the next chapter in the Romance of Helen Trent, the story of a woman who is out to prove that romance need not be over at age 35 and beyond.’
Loewenstein is a born story teller who writes page turners that are scholarly based. Overlaying it all is the Rainmaker’s story and death — thus, the title. It is a read you won’t forget.”
—John Bowers, Author of Love in Tennessee