Charles Martin is without a doubt an accomplished storyteller. First was “The Mountain Between Us” and “Where the River Ends,” a New York Times bestseller. Now he’s given readers “Send Down the Rain,” an emotional tale of redemption and salvation. His latest is a new addition to my list of personal favorites, which includes “Chasing Fireflies” and “Wrapped in Rain.”
“Send Down the Rain” is a tale of solitude, reconnection and doing the right thing for the right reasons. Those things may be violent and deadly, but there is a purpose for everything.
Joseph, a Vietnam veteran with nightmares and black clouds, just wants to be left alone, to lead a solitary life in a North Carolina mountain cabin. To escape his past rights, wrongs and post-Vietnam PTSD. It was a war he never wanted, but a war he couldn’t run from and now he can’t forget.
When a young mother and her two children show up at his cabin running for their lives, Joseph goes the extra mile to help them, even though it puts an end to his lonely lifestyle. To survive personally as well as collectively, they have to go back, recognizing where and how their lives veered so drastically. to be able to move forward.
Far away in south Florida, a truck driver’s death sends ripples that reach Joseph, bringing a tidal wave of regrets, remembrances and “what ifs.” He no longer can run from his past, his brother or his childhood sweetheart Allie. Can his violent past help him find peace in a simple setting? To enjoy a beer and watch the sunset with guests from Mississippi, Alabama and such on the porch of a coastline shrimp shack?
Joseph never meant for his life to take so many detours. He yearned for a simple life, but that’s not what fate, karma – whatever you call it – had in store. Who knew his life would wander so far from the innocent acts of playing on the beach with his brother and Allie? But, as an adult, Joseph and his fellow characters find that nothing is what it first appears to be.
This is a novel filled with violence, whether it’s a deadly fight on a snow-covered mountain, an assault on migrant farm workers or the gunfire and mayhem on a foreign shore. At the simplest, the violence is gruesome, yet not overplayed. The complexities could be seen as visual representation of the inner struggles of a man who seeks peace.
In this novel, Martin has brought to life fictional characters those stories tear at the heart. Just as Martin states about life in general, people come together for a purpose, often one that they don’t understand, but yet yields meaning. His deeply emotional writing isn’t sappy; it’s just powerful. Much like his other outstanding works, “Send Down the Rain” is a story of second chances, responsibility and consequences. It’s a story of faith and redemption for broken humans and scarred souls.
Settings feel real, especially those taking place in Florida, a place the author, who hails from Jacksonville, knows well. With the Florida gulf coastline as a frequent playground for Mississippians, it’s easy for readers to be drawn into this narrative.
ARC provided by NetGalley