- Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
- Release Date: August 3, 2021
- ISBN-13: 9781538707005
- Available Formats: Audio, e-Book, Hardcover
The year 1920 comes in with a roar in this rousing and suspenseful novel by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sandra Brown. Prohibition is the new law of the land, but murder, mayhem, lust, and greed are already institutions in the Moonshine Capitol of Texas.
Thatcher Hutton, a war-weary soldier on the way back to his cowboy life, jumps from a moving freight train to avoid trouble . . . and lands in more than he bargained for. On the day he arrives in Foley, Texas, a local woman goes missing. Thatcher, the only stranger in town, is suspected of her abduction, and worse. Standing between him and exoneration are a corrupt mayor, a crooked sheriff, a notorious cathouse madam, a sly bootlegger, feuding moonshiners . . . and a young widow whose soft features conceal an iron will.
What was supposed to be a fresh start for Laurel Plummer turns to tragedy. Left destitute but determined to dictate her own future, Laurel plunges into the lucrative regional industry, much to the dislike of the good ol’ boys, who have ruled supreme. Her success quickly makes her a target for cutthroat competitors, whose only code of law is reprisal. As violence erupts, Laurel and—now deputy—Thatcher find themselves on opposite sides of a moonshine war, where blood flows as freely as whiskey.
A Note From Sandra
In the spring of 2020 when it became time for me to begin thinking about my next book, I was in COVID 19 lock down. The presidential campaign was bad theater, and, from sea to shining sea, the societal landscape was a battleground. For me, watching a national newscast was a dispiriting, depressing endurance test. I didn’t know what I was going to write about next…but I knew what I wasn’t. I needed escape to a better place and time! So, I asked myself what the country was experiencing, say, 100 years ago?
To my surprise, 1920 wasn’t all that different! Thousands of soldiers had returned from the unpopular foreign war – The Great War — suffering “shell shock.” There was a women’s movement; it resulted in the 19th Amendment. The years-long global pandemic of Spanish flu was a lingering threat. The number of unemployed Americans was off the charts. Does any of this sound familiar? And, as if all that weren’t enough, the Volstead Act became law in January of 1920, and Prohibition went into effect. One couldn’t even have a beer. That certainly sparked my interest!
The more research I did on Prohibition and its far-ranging consequences, the more excited I became over the notion of writing about moonshiners and bootleggers — especially when I discovered, quite by accident, that I have lived most of my life within a hour’s drive of the small town of Glen Rose, which, in the 1920s, was nicknamed The Moonshine Capitol of Texas. I looked no further for my setting.
My fictitious town of Foley is located approximately where Glen Rose is, because, geographically, topographically, and for reasons explained in the story, it’s an ideal place to make corn liquor. I had a great backdrop for a story, but what about the characters? (I knew you’d ask.)
Thatcher Hutton is a WW I soldier returning from Europe. He’s intent on getting back to his cowboy life on a ranch in the Texas Panhandle. The strong, silent type, Thatcher minds his own business and doesn’t go looking for trouble. But a heck of a lot of trouble finds him when he’s derailed, literally, several hundred miles shy of his former home.
Laurel Plummer is a dutiful wife…until she isn’t. In the blink of an eye, her already unstable circumstance becomes catastrophically worse. But rather than surrender to adversity, Laurel digs in her heels and faces off with it. She does what she must to survive, if not thrive, even if it means…Well, I don’t want to give anything away. And if you haven’t figured out by now that the earth moves each time Thatcher and Laurel look at each other, then this is your first Sandra Brown read.
As 2020 slogged along, writing BLIND TIGER became pure escapism for me. The hours I spent working on it delivered me from my COVID confinement. Like making whiskey out of sour mash, I threw everything into the cooker – murder, mayhem, feuding and fighting, lust, greed, envy (basically all of the seven deadly sins) — and then waited to see what would “hold a bead.” You’ll have to read the book to find out what that means.
In addition to Thatcher and Laurel, the cast of characters includes moonshiners, bootleggers, whores, corrupt lawmen and politicians (aplenty), straight-shooters (literally), hell-raisers, thieves, murderers, and honorable folks trying to do what’s right in an era where the line between justice and the law were often blurred, if not invisible. I can’t take credit for creating these characters. Each of them walked into their first scene, me asking, “Who are you and what’s your role in all this?”
I let them stay to see what they would say and do, and they took over. So, credit for the storyline also belongs to them. While writing, I often laughed out loud. More than a few times, I cried. The story is raucous, but it has heart. I hope you have as good a time reading it as I did writing it.
By the way, I discovered during my research that BLIND TIGER is another slang term for a speakeasy. It’s an arresting combination of two simple words. I liked the alliteration, and I knew it would fit better on the book cover!