“Fistful of Rain” by Baron Birtcher is a first-person narrative by Sherriff Ty Dawson as he navigates the day-to-day life in 1975 Oregon. He struggles to balance his role as a husband and father, the pressures of running a ranch during economic uncertainty, and his position as sheriff in an increasingly unstable community.
Society is encroaching on Meriwether County. The national news is filled with protests, hippie communes, drugs, and violence, and now all this has come to Dawson’s quiet little ranching town, where he, as sheriff, has to manage it. As the tension builds slowly and purposefully, tiny event after tiny event lead to a climax of violence.
“You getting the impression there’s more going on than a feud between a fake guru and a grumpy sheep rancher?”
The trauma of the time and conflicts of society come to the forefront.
“Have you heard that rock and roll song they play on the radio? If it feels good do it.There ain’t no barriers those freaks won’t cross.….This economy don’t make too much sense. A-rabs are drowning in oil, but we spent the last year waiting in line for it.”
Birtcher’s descriptive language develops a sense of place that immerses readers in the narrative. The story would not be the same if it were set anywhere else.
“Rugged mountain peaks gave way to lowland meadows and rolling rangeland. Streams and rivers were not in abundance down here, and the landscape bristled with the towers of Eclipse water wells.”
“Fistful of Rain” is a compelling story with believable characters. Birtcher’s expressive language and attention to details places readers right in with the characters. As a bonus, the title and each section heading are songs that add to the time and place. I recommend listening to the entire playlist as you read for an experience that will pull you into the book.