And the Rain Came Down: Seth Bailey
When the world around you appears as dark as an upcoming raging storm filled with dark clouds, strong wind and lightning you often try to find a place for cover. Sometimes a person’s life feels like it’s coming apart as a strong storm might cause the limbs of a tree or many trees to fall and branches to break off so can the life of someone facing many hardships feels the same way. Jebediah Shaw appears to be more than just down on his luck. Coming back from a tour in Iraq and trying to assimilate into life can often bring with it difficulties. Nightmares often haunt those that experienced this raging war. Memories of the bodies that might have lined the war- ridden streets or roads can find their way back into the frontlines of a person’s mind. Returning to East Texas he resumes his relationship with a young girl named Abigail only to find that he has difficulties dealing with her wants and focusing on his needs. Leaving her behind to go to war caused Abigail her own forms of strive yet he now finds himself in a different position as husband and college student. But, just how will he manage to stay financially afloat? A phone call from an old friend might solve that problem. Working with a private investigator is his job. But, when his old friend banker friend, Buddy requests his help in finding his missing sister, he accepts. One young girl who has supposedly fallen off the radar and although has potential to be more than just a dancer in a club but can he find her? Working for the local bondsman he provides the brawn. But, for how long will this pay the bills and when his friend offers him ten thousand dollars as a retainer to find his sister, how can he resist. Money is often the root of evil but when times are tough it strikes more than just a pleasant chord. Each time we see Jeb within a different locale we hear more than just his voice and innermost thoughts as he hooks up with an old friend, joins him in his drinking spree, goes back on all of the hard work he did to stay clean and then finds himself with an even bigger dark cloud hanging over him. Hearing Hector’s story and understanding why he fell apart allows readers to understand what happens when the support is not there, the hopelessness rises to the top and one young man loses it all. With a mother who is in the wrong profession, women that are definitely the wrong type for him, he and Jeb follow a downward path and it’s only a matter of time which one falls below the surface first.
Coming home after staying away with Hector, Jeb’s wife falls prey to what she thinks she knows but in reality this time she is mistaken. Dinner plans go awry and the end of their marriage could very well be near as Jeb forges ahead to find his friend’s sister but at what cost. Money is a strong incentive but is it worth it? Throwing it around and serving it up to everyone or the wrong people might cause more black clouds, more grief as the rain continues to fall even if it does not directly hit the ground.
Delving into Lucy’s background and here whereabouts brings Jeb in contact with a pole dancer named Khandi and her friends. Sometimes impressions are mistaken and what happens to him on his search to complete his job will remind everyone just how important it is to scope out a situation beforehand, never believe what you learn or hear and of course come prepared. Drugs, alcohol, meth, weapons, fights, revenge and betrayals are all just the tip of the iceberg in this well thought out, extremely graphically depicted novel of what happens when one man tries to rise to the top, take care of his family and then spirals out of control. The language is strong, harsh as times and fits each of the situations and the plot. The voices of the characters are heard and their actions match their words. The rain gets harder and the storms build up within Jeb as he decides to continue on with finding Lucy but at what cost. Meeting up with another friend named Bear, together they find someone that might lead them to Hector and hopefully find Lucy before it’s too late. Lives are lost, the anger builds up and a man named Jeb needs to determine where he really wants to be, what is life should be like and how things might turn out in the end. Reflecting back to Bear’s life in the military and comparing it to his own the reader understands how his friendships are born but even more that he and all of those that surround him find solace in hiding behind drugs, alcohol and even their own shadows in the darkness. Bodies buried and hopefully unfound just where will this finally end. Can he live in this world and forget the one on the battlefield as his dreams haunt him and events come into his mind while trying to deal with the dangers of the present?
Each time Jeb faces a crisis or comes to a crossroads his inner conscience speaks out and the verbal feud he has with his alter ego or demon allows readers to know that he knows the right path but cannot seem to get there. With a wife who cares for him and wants him to stop pursuing his goals, his decisions are made on what he feels he thinks is best and what he started he has to finish. But, a friend lied to him and the truths and betrayals come through, as Jeb has to decide between a life with Abby or a path that will take him down a road that will end in defeat. The flashbacks to his tour in Iraq and his thirst for the adventure and the kill helps readers understand the conflicts he faces as the rain falls even hard each time things get tough.
Just what was the real truth behind what his friend Hector had done? Where was Lucy and what evil did she impart? Why does she hate her brother? How will this end or will it? When all of the players are in one room the explosive ending will surprise the reader, as Jeb’s decisions will do more than just change the lives of everyone involved.
Some endings are bittersweet but this one will leave you wondering what is next for Jeb and will he ever find a place in the world where he can call home. The final battle is fought, the guns are put away but just who is left standing and how hard will the rain fall before the sun comes out and the clouds are gone? One powerful story that will leave you with many unanswered questions: How far will one man go to settle a score for someone else? How many truths are broken before the dust clears, the deceits are revealed and the final body count is taken? Just who can be trusted and what is the fate of Jeb, Bear, Hector and Lucy? Home is relative and some never find peace and others continue to search. Author S. A. Bailey creates a story that mirrors many lives of young men coming back from a war zone haunted by dreams of those killed, the fear of never coming home and the uncertainty of the future. A story so vividly told and characters that are strong in many respects and fearful in others. Jeb Shaw: When will your battle finally end?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer