Spring Break Must Reads – Day 3

7 books in 7 days….Spring Break Must Reads!

 Day 1 – Her Highland Champion by Alexa Bourne

Day 2 – Moonlight on the Nantahala by Micheal Rivers

 Day 3 – Legends of Tsalagee – Mystery and Romance in a Small Town by Phil Truman

Okay, I admit it. Phil Truman went fishing using Legends of Tsalagee as bait – and I bit. Does that make me a wide mouth Bass? Nope. It makes me a fan of the elements woven into this sparkling gem buried deep in the Amazon rankings.

First of all, I love small towns and the history/local lore/superstitions that go along with them. Secondly, I’m fascinated by Native American culture. Thirdly, I was raised in Oklahoma and experienced firsthand the quirky, frustrating but delightfully eccentric traits found in many of the small town residents.

Legends of Tsalagee pulls all these things together into a character driven romp that is pure delight from start to finish.  How could a book that blends “Outlaw Queen” Belle Starr’s treasure, Bigfoot, motorcycle riding ex-cons, Native American legends, and a Wiccan with her own version of home brew not appeal to avid readers?

I’m not a purist when it comes to reading. I don’t line edit as I read and keep a tally of how many extra spaces there are between sentences. Writers tend to do that. As a reader, I want a story vividly written and so mesmerizing I’m transported to another place and time. This novel does that. It made a reader out of a writer, and that’s hard to do.

I confess part of the charm to the story lies with the childhood memories it invoked. A few reviewers quarreled about the “unique” character names. Most of Oklahoma is “unique” including rural names and nicknames that become attached to people and places. It’s rich in American Indian culture. Why wouldn’t it be with a name like Oklahoma which means “Land of the Red Man”? It’s a state ripe with outlaw legend from the infamous Jesse James and Younger gangs to Belle Starr. And Bigfoot? That story has been around longer than me, and I’m older than dirt.

So, yeah, I liked the novel. But even without a connection to many of the places and lore that infuses Legends of Tsalagee, I would still have enjoyed it for the fun, adventurous tale it is.

Legends of Tsalagee by Phil Truman