best summer reads, best beach books, best literary mysteries, strong women, greatest generation, Texas, Hurtgen, putegnat, The Settling, new literary fiction
In the autumn of 2004, the remains of a missing World War II soldier are found by a local artifacts collector near the Belgian border in the Hurtgen Forest.
Far away in Woodville, Texas, Tom Campbell has little interest in the contents of his recently deceased and estranged father’s old house, but in it Elly Asher, his sometimes girlfriend, finds some old accounting ledgers with handwritten passages and a seemingly random inventory of items that Tom believes are the ramblings of a senile mind. But Elly isn’t so sure and struggles to decipher them. The elder Campbell had always told Tom that he spent World War II stateside as a supply officer in the Army but what she finds in the ledgers tells another story. She convinces Tom to join her in search for the truth, which leads them to a U.S. Army Warrant Officer, Bob Vardis, a cynical Pentagon investigator specializing in false claims, who is officially assigned to verify the identity of the remains from the German forest. Disparate trails lead to a shocking conclusion.
A seemingly random leaf, floating on a quiet pond, Charlie Campbell is a bookkeeper of little account whose life is ordinary to the point of invisibility, but upon his death unlocks a truth that challenges reality. Whether the old man's life was real or imagined, his death is the catalyst that changes everything as lives of settling must come to a final settlement.
"FIVE STARS. There is adventure, mystery and discovery entwined throughout – a novel not to be missed!"
- Readers' Favorite Reviews
"A thought-provoking novel that asks probing questions about human connection."
- Kirkus Reviews
Building a Texas ranching empire over four generations they shed blood sweat and tears…and they didn’t much care whose. But storm clouds are building over the Texas Gulf coast and thunder echoes through the hallways of Congress and the canyons of Wall Street, shaking the foundation of a century old Kingdom of Magne. It is a battle that will pit ordinary people, who have nearly nothing, against old money and power, that has virtually everything.
John Magne, the ruthless patriarch, is faced with financial ruin. He must transform an environmentally delicate coastal bay, the Laguna Madre, into a natural gas field or lose everything. Descended from a long line of masters of influence and manipulation, he deftly executes a plan that reaches into Washington, state house politics and New York investment banking. Billions are at stake. Enough to kill for.
Against Magne’s overwhelming political power stands one unwilling and unwitting ex-government bureaucrat, with a deep aversion to conflict and a record of running from it… and five determined women, each on different missions, all converging at a stunning conclusion.
Laguna is a mystery set in our times, where lies, power and greed are the new religion and love is an accident. It is a world where truth is irrelevant, redemption impossible and murder is just business.
Or are they?
"LAGUNA's quick pacing, evocative prose, and intriguing plot lead readers on a journey they won't want to end."
- Writer's Digest International Book Awards Commentary
"Putegnat has an incredible style that draws you right into the plot and won't turn you loose."
- New Mystery Reader Magazine
"Creating an intriguing adventure, filled with realistic characters, Putegnat brings the reader on a thrill-packed ride through the landscape of his novel, building up the suspense right to the last page. It is guaranteed to put you on the edge of your seat and keep you reading for hours."
- Book Pleasures Review
***** "Michael Putegnat's excellent novel consists of short chapters that give a wealth of information on the character of each particular chapter and which end with a punch that ensures continued reading. For the last several chapters I simply could not put the book down. I found this story reminiscent of a John Grisham legal and political bestseller with intrigue and suspense all culminating in a spectacular conclusion."
"Laguna is an excellent book, an easy read, very well written."
- Ron Kauffman
Senior Lifestyles Radio