FREE BOOK SUNDAY! The Rain Maker at NetGalley

FREE BOOK SUNDAY! The Rain Maker at NetGalley


My new book The Rain Maker follows a self-destructive Rhodes Scholar from Kansas, Jacqueline Caldwell "JC" Macy.  She wins an engineering competition to design a plant/dam that will turn saltwater into freshwater and generate electricity for a distressed African nation near the Atlantic Ocean.

JC befriends another young woman, Mary Josephine "MJ" Byrne, who has expatriated herself from America and a promising post-college career, partly to escape a dysfunctional family and by example, lead her younger sister away, too.

As her "personal assistant," MJ goes with JC to oversee "Project Savanna," which is either the most game-changing development project Africa has seen in forever -- or a huge fundraising scam.  

The Rain Maker is on NetGalley, the leading way authors and publishers introduce new books.

For the most part, these books are Advance Reader Copies (ARCs), so they may not be in perfect final form. Authors, editors, and publishers solicit feedback from readers for just this purpose: see what works, what doesn't, get a general sense how the reading public will greet the book once it's published.

These ARCs are FREE. The only requirement is that you leave a review at some point shortly after publication, either on Amazon or Goodreads or Kobo or wherever the book shows up with a review section.  Definitely worth joining, browsing, and reading! 

MJ narrates The Rain Maker in a Holden-Caufield-esque way. Hers is the kind of hyper-cynical, question-everything, accept-nothing attitude you might expect of a bright someone age 23.  

MJ takes to task her sexually-abusive father; the "white savior complex"; and the "Humanitarian-Industrial Complex" she sees as lawyers, bankers, and politicians enriching themselves on the backs of the world's poor.

She even questions herself -- strengths, shortcomings, and so forth. But she breaks with this attitude in
refusing to see JC through any but the most idealized lens. MJ desperately wants an anchor, a lighthouse in the storm, a strength in a world of weakness.

But is she putting her faith in the wrong person?  

MJ on herself:  

"I am aggressive, intelligent, soul-searching, insightful. I move forward most of the time and only look back when I’m alone. I’m moody, sex-starved, love-starved and lonely, manic, depressive, impossible, and lovable. I frequently feel like crying, but I never do. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m afraid. But I’m alive, I’m alive, I’m alive, and I hate the times when I really wonder whether being alive is worth all the living."

MJ on JC:

"'JC, please.' She was asking me to call her JC and I was thinking, god she’s gorgeous. Don’t ask me what it was, maybe her straightforward handshake or that wholesome look of the plain.
"But for some reason, the minute I saw her, there she was, standing in a field of swaying wheat, rain cleansing her face, wind sweeping her hair, the moon glistening in her eyes and on her cheeks, breaking for a moment through the clouds in the nighttime sky.

"She was my kind of Americana."

I almost never do so-called "trigger warnings," but some readers like them, especially younger readers, so here goes. 

The Rain Maker is set during 1990-92, reflecting the mores of that time. There's an unquestionably racist/classist overtone in the way characters from privileged backgrounds describe and interact with African officials. That classism is a driving but unacknowledged factor in First World intrusions on Third World nations, from humanitarian aid to environmental activism.

There's also an antipathy -- part racial animus, part economic jealousy -- toward a Japanese industrialist who wins the dam construction contract.  Readers alive during the nineties may remember all the handwringing over Japan's rising economic muscle.

MJ was molested by her father, which she describes in brief but graphic detail. She is also homophobic enough to use slurs, while at the same time coming to grips with strong feelings for her erratic friend.