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      Book Review

When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin, WestBow Press
reviewed by Judy Alexander, November 6, 2006

I’m a fan of Charles Martin. In WHEN CRICKETS CRY, a young girl sells lemonade to help pay for her own heart operation. A scruffy-looking boat maker, with a secret, becomes her friend. Will he reveal his true talents and use them to help his new friend, or will his fear of emotional attachment and possible pain of loss keep him hiding his true self? Add to the mix his blind brother-in-law, the young girl’s aunt, and a wise doctor who nudges but never lectures, and you’ve got a fine mix of characters whose shared desires bring them together and yet threaten to tear them apart. This book captures, as did the classic TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, the juxtaposition of a sleepy-town setting and its inhabitants’ submerged struggles, conflicts, and ambitions.

Charles Martin’s rural-Georgia setting is a wet, half-submerged place that allows characters to hide. Suffering and loss lie within the swamp, which is a comforting refuge for the main character, Reese, who lives a semi-hermit existence in a cabin he built to enjoy the cricket-singing evenings. Readers can be assured that before the book ends, the fog will lift in Reese’s life. A crisis will force him back into deeper waters. He will be put to the test, taken to the edge of his emotional endurance, with only a gasped-out prayer before a wave of conflicting emotions takes him under. Charles’s characters are so real, you’ll still be thinking about them long after you finish reading.

WHEN CRICKETS CRY is a most satisfying read, full of love and wisdom.