When Russell came back from Iraq, he worked hard to build a good life for himself. He went to college and got a business degree on the G.I. Bill. He got married, and he and his wife had a couple of beautiful girls. He found a good job as a foreman for a rock splitting quarry, with a promise of promotion. And now he and his wife are expecting another baby.
So when Russell got the news that the quarry was being sold to some Chinese businessmen, and he was losing his job and his health insurance, he was devastated. He was so upset that he refused his boss's offer of a ride home and took off on his motorcycle, despite the heavy rain. That's how he ended up almost getting hit by a car on the main road. That's how he decided to take the back road with the house where the pit bull was chained up outside. The house where the beautiful young woman was outside dancing naked.
And when she fell down into the mud in front of the house, Russell waited to see if she got up. When she didn't get back up, that's how Russell went to check on her and ended up carrying her into the house where she would be safe. And that's how he saw the shoe boxes of cash piled up in the bathroom. And that's how he ended up stealing thousands of dollars from what he thought was a drug house.
He wasn't a thief. He didn't intend to steal a box of cash. He just panicked. He was about to lose his job. He was about to lose his health insurance. He was about to have another baby. He didn't think. He just grabbed and ran.
And then he stewed in regret for weeks. It was a stupid thing to do. It put him and his family in jeopardy. And now he has to figure a way out, even if it costs him everything.
Only the Rain by Randall Silvis is a powerful story of the damage that life can do, particularly for those who are subjected to war. It's an in-depth look at the choices we make when we let fear and despair get the better of us and how the consequences of those choices can reach those around us.
I liked Only the Rain, but it wasn't the easiest book to read. Russell as a character carried a lot of pain and secrets, and being inside his head all the time was a challenge. I did consider giving up a time or two, but I'm glad I made it to the end. The ending does a lot to redeem some of its more maudlin moments. It's a shorter novel, less than 200 pages, so it's a quick read. But it is very emotional. I decided to read it because I read Silvis' Two Days Gone last year, and I really loved that one. I'd recommend that over this, but I'm sure that there are those who will like this novel better. I do like Silvis' ability to create a strong character and his way with story, so I will continue to recommend his books.
I was granted galleys for this book, but I also snagged the audio version on sale, I enjoyed listening to it, if you're a fan of audio books, it's a fast listen and a great way to get caught up in the story!
Galleys for Only the Rain were provided by Thomas & Mercer through NetGalley, with many thanks.