Featured: Death in the Absence of Rain by Caleb Pirtle III

Some believed their past sins were washed away by a raging river. Now those sins are back to haunt the guilty.

Review: “Pirtle has an unusual voice. His language is generally terse and to the point, with no words wasted. (Perhaps that’s his journalistic background coming through!) But, more unusual, its rhythm has a poetic feel to it: indeed, in places, he blurs the lines between poetry and prose. Plus, he knows which levers to pull to keep you turning the pages.”

In Texas, it has been a long, hot summer.

Blistering temperatures.

Scorched earth.

An empty sky.

No rain at all.

Trapped in the midst of a generational drought, the water level of Magnolia Bluff’s Burnet Reservoir begins to drop, and the ghost town of Crystalline Flats slowly comes back from the dead.

When the river was dammed to create the reservoir, the flood had overwhelmed the dying old town and left it buried underwater.

Now the ruins are rising like skeletons of stone and wood from their watery grave.

And the secrets of Crystalline Flats are secret no longer.

They tell a dreadful tale of murder.

And who lives and who will kill again to make sure the mysteries from the past remain hidden and silenced forever?

Some believed their past sins were washed away.

Now those sins are back to haunt the guilty.

Meet Caleb Pirtle III:

Caleb Pirtle III lives in the present but prefers the past. He is the author of more than eighty books, including four noir thrillers in the Ambrose Lincoln series: Secrets of the Dead, Conspiracy of Lies, Night Side of Dark, and Place of Skulls. Secrets and Conspiracy are also audiobooks on audible.com. All of the novels are set against the haunting backdrop of World War II. His Lonely Night to Die features three noir thrillers in one book, following the exploits of the Quiet Assassin, a rogue agent who has fled the CIA. He takes the missions no one else wants. He is expendable, and he knows it.

His newest novels are Death in the Absence of Rain and Eulogy in Black and White, part of the Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles, developed by ten authors all writing about strange, sinister, and frightening happenings in a small Texas Hill Country town. Pirtle’s latest book is a nonfiction historical account of a West Texas boomtown: Borger: Last Dance at Sundown.

His award-winning Boom Town Saga includes Back Side of a Blue Moon, the story of a con man who comes to a dying East Texas town during the Great Depression, promises to drill for oil, and falls in love with a beautiful woman who just may have killed her husband. In Bad Side of a Wicked Moon, the lawless have come to the oil patch, and justice has left town. Lost Side of an Orphan’s Moon spins in the chaotic twists and turns in the fight for oil.

Pirtle also wrote Friday Nights Don’t Last Forever, the story of a high school quarterback whose life spins into turmoil during his entanglements with illegal college recruiting, and Last Deadly Lie is the chilling story of the gossip and scandal that threatens to break a church apart in the midst of greed, jealousy and murder.

Pirtle is a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first student at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle has written two teleplays: Gambler V: Playing for Keeps, a mini-series for CBS television starring Kenny Rogers, Loni Anderson, Dixie Carter, and Mariska Hargitay, and The Texas Rangers, a TV movie for John Milius and TNT television. He wrote two novels for Berkeley based on the Gambler series: Dead Man’s Hand and Jokers Are Wild. He wrote the screenplay for one motion picture, Hot Wire, starring George Kennedy, Strother Martin, and John Terry.

Pirtle’s narrative nonfiction, Gamble in the Devil’s Chalk is a true-life book about the fights and feuds during the founding of the controversial Giddings oilfield and From the Dark Side of the Rainbow, the story of a woman’s escape from the Nazis in Poland during World War II. His coffee-table quality book, XIT: The American Cowboy, became the publishing industry’s third bestselling art book of all time.

Pirtle was a newspaper reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and served ten years as the travel editor for Southern Living Magazine. He was editorial director for a Dallas custom publisher for more than twenty-five years.




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