Death of a Rainmaker by Laurie Loewenstein

Death of a Rainmaker

A classic murder mystery set in the 1930s Dust Bowl that portrays the era with great beauty, tenderness, and sorrowful authenticity.When a rainmaker is bludgeoned to death in the pitch-blackness of a colossal dust storm, small-town sheriff Temple Jennings shoulders yet another burden in the hard times of the 1930s Dust Bowl. The killing only magnifies Temple’s ongoing troubles: a formidable opponent in the upcoming election, the repugnant burde...

Details Death of a Rainmaker

TitleDeath of a Rainmaker
Release DateOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherAkashic Books
GenreMystery, Historical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Historical Mystery

Reviews Death of a Rainmaker

  • Diane S ☔
    Vermillion, Oklahoma in the 1930's, people still trying to recover from the great depression when they are hit by huge dust storms. These storms taking all the top soil from Farmer's fields, smothering crops, devastating lives. Farms are being repossessed, auctions of all their possessions, and many are left with little or nothing."In Oklahoma, the palette was nothing but brown. Brown bridal trains of dust billowed behind tractors. Curtains turne...
  • Lynn
    I liked this book very much. It was beautifully written. The time is the thirties and the location is Vermillion Oklahoma. It hasn't rained for 8 months. Farmers are losing their farms. People are moving out and the drought is affecting everyone. A rainmaker comes to town promising his technique will bring the needed rain. A crowd gathers to watch the TNT display. It will be repeated the next day. The movie theater owner who is blind worries how ...
  • Lesa
    Laurie Loewenstein's first Dust Bowl Mystery, Death of a Rainmaker, was the most evocative book I've read since Larry D. Sweazy's last Marjorie Trumaine mystery, See Also Proof. The author says she was inspired by Timothy Egan's nonfiction book, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dustbowl, and you can truly see that in all of the detailed description.In the 1930s in Jackson County, Oklahoma, they've gon...
  • John Winston
    At its core Death of a Rainmaker: A Dust Bowl Mystery by Laurie Lowenstein is historical fiction of the highest order and a murder mystery to boot, a novel of extremes it seems that starts with a bang (literally) and then comes the storm in so many ways. Lowenstein raises the stakes with a looming election, the outcome of which will have life-altering ramifications for those involved. The author paints a vivid picture of life in Oklahoma in 1935 ...
  • Allen Pasternak
    Though “A DUST BOWL MYSTERY” is part of the title of this novel, that’s a debatable genre. There is a murder early on, and an investigation follows. In typical mystery form, the killer’s identity isn’t revealed until the final pages. This crime and it’s solution is the focus of this book, but set in the small community of Vermillion, Oklahoma (and I have no idea if this city ever existed or is mythical) during the Dust Bowl and the Gr...
  • Pamela Hutchins
    What a great surprise this book was. Sentence by sentence, it is LOVELY and very literary, while the plot holds up with an engaging mystery, super characters, and beautiful historical treatment. Looking forward to the next one in the series.
  • Pat
    I loved this book and will definitely read more of the series. This is a mystery, not a thriller and it does not move along at a lightening pace. Rather it is like relaxing in a comfy chair on a Sunday afternoon and watching an old Gary Cooper movie. Excellent!
  • Suzanne Arcand
    3,5A cut above most mystery. I loved the way she captured the place and the period.
  • Laurel Brett
    Death of a Rainmaker is a beautiful novel. Murder mysteries are often pulp genre pieces, but Laurie Loewenstein subverts expectations and provides us with the nuance and beautiful writing of a literary novel and the suspense and excitement of a mystery.When a rainmaker is murdered in a small Oklahoma town during the hard times of the Depression Dust Bowl period his death and the search for his murderer show us many strata of small town life and t...
  • Cathy Cole
    One of the best books I have ever read is Timothy Egan's The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl. Reading that book fostered an interest in this period of history, so when I heard about Laurie Loewenstein's first Dust Bowl mystery, Death of a Rainmaker, I had to read it. I am thrilled to say that it's an excellent fictional companion piece to Egan's history.Loewenstein peoples her story with one be...
  • Robert Intriago
    An entertaining read. The background for this novel is the dust bowl in Oklahoma in the 1930's and its effects upon the land and people living there. There are also some interesting references about the Johnstown floods in Pennsylvania. The writing is folksy and the characters interesting, if not well developed. The mystery itself is slow developing and muddled by lots of gossip.
  • Janice
    This was a really good mystery, with well developed multi-layered plot, and great characters. The setting is western Oklahoma, during the depression, and in the midst of months of drought and life-threatening dust storms.
  • Leslie Swift Bernal
    Really wanted a good mystery and this one was on the NPR list of best books of 2018. Now I’m worried about all of the books they have listed. There’s no real mystery here. There’s some soft struggles taking place. But don’t worry, everything turns out just fine in the end. Everything.
  • Sarah
    When times turn desperate, tensions rise, and people start seeking an outlet for their suffering. In this sense, the Depression-era Dust Bowl feels like a classic setting for a murder mystery, although surprisingly few authors have taken advantage of it. Here, just like in her first novel, Unmentionables, Laurie Loewenstein offers vivid storytelling and a fine eye for evoking small-town life in America’s heartland. In August 1935, it’s been 2...
  • Quiltyknitwit
    Interesting story, setting and characters, but this novel would have benefited from some heavy editing (repetitious phrases, meandering side stories, etc.).
  • B.
    Ol' timey mysteries are usually something that I find should stay in the past (like polio and dial up), but Death of a Rainmaker was an excellent story for any decade.Loewenstein is an incredible storyteller whose words are so vivid they practically blew off the pages like dust in the Midwestern wind. Every scene was perfectly captured so that you could hear the TNT bursting, feel the heat and dust, smell the fried chicken.It followed the outline...
  • Story Circle Book Reviews
    There are thousands of mystery novels out there, with professional and amateur detectives. A quick look at (my favorite source for mystery information) reveals over five thousand authors and hundreds of categories. You can find mysteries featuring detectives who are social workers, photographers, divers, dancers and vintners, and which are set on every continent—including Antarctica.What is it that sets Laurie ...
  • Sue
    August 2, 1935Jackson County, Oklahoma"As soon as [Chester] pulled open the outside door [of the theater] he heard a faint thrumming of wind that resembled the plucking of thick guitar strings… ‘A duster!, Maxine shouted… ‘Tall as a mountain! Oh my God! I’ve never seen one this big!’"Vermillion, Oklahoma in 1935. The Great Depression has strangled the economy of the area and now an unending dry season is destroying the greatest source...
  • Kevintipple
    Death of A Rainmaker: A Dust Bowl Mystery by Laurie Loewenstein begins in early August in the 1930s. The Dust Bowl is centered in Oklahoma where farmers are literally losing their land in every breath and gust of wind. The soil is being stripped away as is the livelihoods of the farmers and everyone who relies on them in the small community Vermillion, Oklahoma. The small county seat of Jackson County is a desperate place full of desperate people...
  • Denice Barker
    Physically, the country struggled greatly during the Great Depression, and when a drought and subsequent dust storms send the Plains into even further turmoil, it took courage to stay put on the land and survive until the next day. For some, it meant leaving. For others it meant staying. Sheriff Temple Jennings was charged with taking care of Vermillion, Oklahoma’s citizens and when during the biggest and blackest dust storm on record obliterat...
  • Sue D.
    A murder mystery set in Oklahoma in the 1930s during the Dust Bowl era. It is supposed to be the first book in a new series. Though it is a mystery, I would classify it under historical fiction because of its wonderful depiction of life during the Depression and the terrible consequences of the Dust Bowl on farming families in Oklahoma. I find the setting and time period to be fascinating – such a difficult time in American history. The prose i...
  • Sheila
    A mystery taking place during the 1930's in a farming area hard hit by the lack of rain. The farmers are restless and will do almost anything for rain. When a man advertising he has the magic solution for rain to fall, many townspeople and the farmers in the area raise money to have come to town. But when his body if found the day after, Sheriff Temple Jennings and his deputy initially have no suspects. Soon, though, a young man working with the ...
  • Donna
    I loved how Laurie made the town of Vermillon and its people come to life. The characters were believable with feelings and flaws, and I became attached to a few in particular: Chester and Etha. The book also demonstrates Laurie's dedication to research/historical accuracy; she's a pro. I loved all the little details that illustrated the time and place of the book, from figures of speech to how food was prepared/stored. I thoroughly enjoyed this ...
  • Julie
    3.5 stars but I'll round up because the writing is superb. Lowenstein is able to evoke Dust Bowl Oklahoma to an incredible degree. I enjoyed the first half of the book more than the latter half, mostly because the focus changed from Sheriff Temple Jennings to his wife, Etha, as she attempts to prove the innocence of a young CCC worker who has been arrested for the murder of the rainmaker the town hired in a desperate attempt to end the eight mont...
  • Linda Frances
    This series shows a lot of promise. The 1930's in the dust bowl are hard to truly appreciate. Several years ago I experienced a dust storm while traveling in southern Nebraska. In midday it turned as dark as midnight. Even though all windows were closed, the dust got in everywhere. I know that the present day storms aren't nearly as bad as back then, due to different farming methods and other factors. Still, it was bad enough for me. I can't imag...
  • Lora
    I really liked this novel. It was interesting to read about life in the Dust Bowl during the Depression, and the descriptions of "brown blizzards" (dust storms) were vivid. Both the main characters and the supporting characters were interesting, with the Johnstown Flood, loss of a child and blindness in their various backstories. The murder mystery was also interesting. Although Sheriff Temple Jennings wanted to keep his wife away from police bus...
  • Margaret Yelton
    Not my typical read, but I won the book in a giveaway. I found it to be a very well written story, the author had the ability to make me feel I was living in the time period that the book was written about. The book maybe about a murder, yet it is so much more bringing to life the characters in the book helping me to better understand all that our ancestors had to live through in the past. I can only imagine how hard it had to be to live in that ...
  • Kathleen Gray
    The murder of Roland Coombs, who purported to be a rainmaker who would make things better for Vermillion, Oklahoma, is the centerpiece of this novel. However, this is less a mystery than it is a fascinating portrait of a town and its people during the Great Depression. Things are bad, really bad, in Vermillion. Temple Jennings, the Sheriff, arrests Carmine, a young man from the Civilian Conservation Corps, for the crime. His wife Etha, however, d...
  • Keenan Powell
    Laurie Lowenstein is a master of creating atmosphere. In her first Dust Bowl Mystery, Sheriff Temple Jennings and his wife Etha, still grieving the loss of their young son, have made a new home in Vermillion, Oklahoma. As dusters scour the land devastating farmlands bankrupting farmers and the townspeople dependent on the farm economy, Temple is faced with an election challenge just as he is trying to solve the murder of the rainmaker while at od...