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The Freshour Cylinders
     

The Freshour Cylinders

4.6 3
by Speer Morgan
 

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Tom Freshour needs a vacation. It's the dusty, hot summer of 1934, and he'd like to escape both the heat in western Arkansas and his cases at the county prosecutor's office for the calm and solitude of a fishing trip. But his old Ford won't start, and while it's being repaired, an eccentric and enigmatic collector of Indian artifacts is brutally murdered.

Overview

Tom Freshour needs a vacation. It's the dusty, hot summer of 1934, and he'd like to escape both the heat in western Arkansas and his cases at the county prosecutor's office for the calm and solitude of a fishing trip. But his old Ford won't start, and while it's being repaired, an eccentric and enigmatic collector of Indian artifacts is brutally murdered.

Editorial Reviews

ForeWord Magazine
Rarely does one piece of fiction succeed on so many levels. The Freshour Cylinders is a thought-provoking, suspenseful, entertaining, and above all an immensely satisfying novel.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Native American assistant prosecutor Tom Freshour (last seen in The Whipping Boy, 1994) investigates a murder in Depression-era Fort Smith, Ark., on the Oklahoma border, in Morgan's Chandler-indebted fourth. The dead man, local eccentric Lee Guessner, trafficked artifacts from the famous Spiro Mound nearby, but was also involved in one of the elaborate real estate frauds that flourished at the time on former Native American lands. When lovely, smart-cookie Rainy Davis shows up as the unlikely inheritor (Lee had met her on a South American dig), she sparks Tom's love as he remembers wooing her mother. Along with trusty old court bailiff Hank, they sift through the local landscape and Native American heritage to exact justice, not only for murder, but also for crimes against Native American land, spirit and history. Years later, Tom tells the story into cylinders on an old Dictaphone machine and these are discovered later still, providing a neat framing device (and the story's title). Tom's tone shifts back and forth from sensitive outsider to marauding vigilante, but traditional characters like Tom's clueless wealthy boss, the dirty local sheriff and the judge with a secret make this a satisfying (if sometimes slow-moving) thriller with the added enjoyment of authentic depictions of Native American culture and history. (Oct.) FYI: Morgan is the editor of the Missouri Review.
Kirkus Reviews
Morgan (The Assemblers, 1986, etc.) brings back mixed-blood, Choctaw orphan Tom Freshour from 1994's The Whipping Boy and places him as a 45-year-old prosecuting attorney on the Arkansas-Oklahoma border in 1935. A box of wax cylinders is discovered in the modern era, holding Tom Freshour's Dictaphone recordings that tell of a set of crimes that took place in 1935 but which can't be revealed during Freshour's lifetime. When multimillionaire recluse Lee Guessner is found murdered in his truck, Lorraine "Rainy" Davis, a widow, returns to Fort Smith as the millionaire's dazed inheritor. As it happens, Rainy and Guessner were on an archaeological dig together in the Peten Jungle in Guatemala, where Guessner took a liking to Rainy and talked fervently about artifacts back in Oklahoma's Spiro Mound. He was, she says, a flaming gay and bored her stiff. Though Guessner had no relatives or friends, the reason for Rainy's inheritance seems a total mystery. Because of certain territorial considerations, Judge Manny Stone assigns the murder investigation to Freshour, who discovers that Rainy is the daughter of Samantha King, the mysterious and alluring older woman he'd been ecstatically in love with when he was 15. Why isn't Sheriff Kenny Seabolt in charge of the investigation? The judge's reasons revolve partly around the pre-Colombian artifacts found (or, rather, bought) by Guessner at the Spiro Mound. The Mound houses an Indian temple where diggers find a feathered cape that seems strangely brilliant for having been buried perhaps 900 years. Has the mound been salted? Or might there be a more historical explanation for these artifacts from Central American tribes? Then a man dies in a carexplosion, and many members of an Indian tribe die of arsenic poisoning. Can these be the deeds of greedy oilmen? Morgan's best yet, spiced with sex and an emphasis on the lore of artifacts to balance the skullduggery.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781849820806
Publisher:
MacAdam/Cage Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
12/01/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
444 KB

What People are Saying About This

Robert Olen Butler
Using the rich metaphors of a pre-Columbian Indian civilization, Morgan weds strong storytelling with deep artistic resonance. This is a splendid achievement.
Wally Lamb
. . . a memorable, riveting read.

Meet the Author

Born and raised in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Speer Morgan is the author of five books. His first novel, published in 1979, was set in Arkansas and the Indian Territory during the late 1800s. Among his other four novels, three have been set in Arkansas and Oklahoma - one in 1894, another in 1934, and another in the 1980s."The Whipping Boy" (1994)was aided by an NEA Individual Fellowship in fiction. His latest novel, "The Freshour Cylinders"(1998), won Foreword Magazine's Silver Award for the best book of the year. It also won an American Book Award in 1999. Morgan teaches in the English Department at the University of Missouri where he has edited The Missouri Review for 30 years.

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Freshour Cylinders 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
mcbjack More than 1 year ago
The book is very well written and kept my interest. I live in Northwest Arkansas and enjoyed reading about places that are familiar to me. I would most definitely recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago