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October 2, 2022

Funeral Train: A Dust Bowl Mystery by Laurie Loewenstein ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"The train's desolate song suited the time and place - December, 1935 - smack in the crosshairs of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.  Together, they had done their worst to this raggedly piece of the Oklahoma panhandle.  Some farmers and merchants had packed up and deserted the meagerly populated High Plains.  Some had stayed but shrank into themselves, ashamed of their collective poverty." 

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical mystery Funeral Train by Laurie Loewenstein
October 2022; Kaylie Jones Books; 978-1636140513
audio, ebook, print (264 pages); historical fiction

Sheriff Temple Jennings is waiting at the train station for his wife to return from visiting a friend.  He missed her terribly and couldn't wait for her return.  Suddenly everyone hears the noise of a large crash and realizes that the train has derailed.  As he searches the wreckage for his wife Etha, he is confronted with death and destruction all around.  When he finds her she is injured by still alive.  He has to do his job and his initial investigation develops into a case of sabotage.  The following night, a woman who lived near the train wreck is murdered and the Sheriff makes the assumption that her murder is somehow connected to the wreck.   The Sheriff and a railroad detective work together to try to solve the crime but in a town with so many people struggling personally and financially, there are a lot of suspects in town.

Funeral Train is the second book in a planned trilogy but can be read as a standalone with no confusion,  I am planning to read the first book soon to get more of the back story about Temple and Etha and some of the people in the town.

The author based the train wreck in this story on an actual wreck in Oklahoma in 1929.  She did extensive research not only into the wreck but into what life was like in a small town during the Depression when everyone was struggling to survive.  The two main characters were very well written and I was invested in their story from the beginning.  There were also well-written secondary characters that contributed to the story.  My only complaint about the book is that there were too many characters to be able to follow all of 
their stories but it may be that when I read book 1 Death of a Rainmaker, I will be able to get more insight into several of the characters.  I  look forward to reading the first book and the final book in the trilogy to get a deeper look at what life was like for the struggling citizens of this small town.

Buy Funeral Train at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  You can connect with her on Facebook.

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