There are a couple of authors whom I've been lucky enough to "follow" from early in their careers. It has been such a privilege to read their works and see them mature as writers. I have been anticipating the new release of one such author, Charles Martin, and my anticipation did not go unrewarded. His latest book, Thunder and Rain, is a story about a third generation, now retired, Texas Ranger (burdened with quite a heavy load) and how his life intersects with a down-and-out woman, and her young daughter, who happen to be on the run (with a heavy load of their own). While I don't generally think of myself as a romance novel kinda gal, Charles Martin can spin a tale that has you invested from the get go. And, just between you and me, I love that the male characters in his books actually HAVE character. There are so many books that dwell on the men who leave. His books are about the man who stays. The man who sticks it out even when the circumstances are not ideal and he still does the right thing even when no one is looking. I also like that the endings are not so predicable - you know, "Hollywood" endings. AND, I like that you can recommend his books to your mother, your sister, your aunt, your friend... You get the idea. Charles Martin has done it again. So, two thumbs up, three finger-snaps, and a bubble gum pop.