Full Series Blog Tour, Book Review, and Giveaway: Death in the Absence of Rain (Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles #15)

THE MAGNOLIA BLUFF
CRIME CHRONICLES
Seasons 1 & 2 by
The Underground Authors
Scroll down for a giveaway!

Each stand-alone book in this multi-author crime novel series is set in the fictitious, beautiful little Texas Hill Country town of Magnolia Bluff. Each author writes in their preferred sub-genre to allow readers to experience humor, dark dilemmas, suspense, romance, thrills, and spills — told through good storytelling that will keep readers awake past their bedtime, trying to find out whodunit.

Season three of The Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles begins in January 2024. Stay tuned.
In Texas, it has been a long, hot summer.Blistering temperatures.

Scorched earth.

An empty sky.

No rain at all.

Trapped in the midst of a generational drought, the water level of Magnolia Bluff’s Burnet Reservoir begins to drop, and the ghost town of Crystalline Flats slowly comes back from the dead.

When the river was dammed to create the reservoir, the flood had overwhelmed the dying old town and left it buried underwater.

Now the ruins are rising like skeletons of stone and wood from their watery grave.And the secrets of Crystalline Flats are secret no longer.

They tell a dreadful tale of murder.

And who lives and who will kill again to make sure the mysteries from the past remain hidden and silenced forever?

Some believed their past sins were washed away.

Now those sins are back to haunt the guilty.

The Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles is a fascinating series! Each book in the series gives you a different slice of life in the small Texas town of Magnolia Bluff, events seen through the eyes of different residents of the town. Today I’m reviewing Death in the Absence of Rain by Caleb Pirtle III, the fifteenth book in the series.

It’s a brutally hot summer in Magnolia Bluff, Texas. So hot that Burnet Reservoir is drying up. As it recedes, the abandoned town of Crystalline Flats reemerges from the dwindling depths. What secrets may hide in its now-visible shadows?

There’s a gray mossback man wandering the streets of Magnolia Bluff. Magnolia Nadine has seen him outside her window. Newspaper editor Graham Huston has seen him, too. Is he connected with the reappearance of Crystalline Flats? Why is he there? Huston aims to find out.

Caleb Pirtle gives us a story that builds, layer upon layer. His spare, direct writing style fits the personality of Graham Huston perfectly. Huston is a man who’s there in Magnolia Bluff because he’s got nowhere else to be. He’s got his routine, and he largely keeps to himself. When Sheriff Buck Blanton’s father is the first to turn up dead, it’s a story. But when another person dies, Huston knows he needs to get to the bottom of the mystery.

But just because Pirtle doesn’t use flowery turns of phrase, that doesn’t mean the story is boring. Far from is. His words are carefully chosen to effectively convey the setting and the people in it. The searing heat of the summer is palpable and makes you want to fan yourself while you read. The paranormal aspect of the mossback man is spine-tingling. And the mystery of his presence and what secrets are to be unearthed in Crystalline Flats is as intriguing a mystery as ever I’ve read.

Death in the Absence of Rain has me itching to start at the beginning and read the entire series. If you love a good mystery and a small-town setting populated with interesting folks, you need to make the acquaintance of Magnolia Bluff.

Keep scrolling to enter the giveaway!

Caleb Pirtle III was the author of more than eighty books. Pirtle was a graduate of The University of Texas in Austin and became the first steep oudent at the university to win the National William Randolph Hearst Award for feature writing. Several of his books and his magazine writing have received national and regional awards.

Pirtle was a newspaper reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and served ten years as the travel editor for Southern Living Magazine. He was editorial director for a Dallas custom publisher for more than twenty-five years. Pirtle passed away in August, 2023.

GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
THREE WINNERS:
1st: $25 Amazon gift card
2nd & 3rd: eBook bundles of first 18 books in the series
(US only; ends midnight, CST, 12/8/23)
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY,
or visit the blogs directly:

11/27/23

Boys’ Mom Reads

10 Million Ways to Die

Review

11/27/23

Reading by Moonlight

Death Wears a Crimson Hat

Review

11/27/23

Hall Ways

Series Spotlight

11/28/23

The Plain-Spoken Pen

Death in the Absence of Rain

Review

11/28/23

StoreyBook Reviews

Eulogy in Black and White

Review

11/28/23

LSBBT Blog

Series Spotlight

11/29/23

Forgotten Winds

The Great Peanut Butter Conspiracy

Review

11/29/23

Carpe Diem Chronicles

Only the Good Die Young

Review

11/29/23

It’s Not All Gravy

When Bad Things Happen to Good Mice

Review

11/30/23

Rox Burkey Blog

You Won’t Know How…or When

Review

12/01/23

StoreyBook Reviews

The Flower Enigma

Review

12/01/23

Writing and Music

The Killer Enigma

Review

12/02/23

Reading by Moonlight

Men Lying Dead in a Field

Review

12/02/23

The Clueless Gent

The Shine from a Girl in the Lake

Review

12/03/23

Jennie Reads

The Dewey Decimal Dilemma

Review

12/03/23

Forgotten Winds

The Dog Gone Diamond Dilemma

Review

12/04/23

Chapter Break Blog

Justice

Review

12/04/23

The Plain-Spoken Pen

Bye Baby Bye

Review

12/05/23

Shelf Life Blog

Texas Summers are Murder

Sneak Peek

12/05/23

The Book’s Delight

Born and Bred Texan

Review

12/06/23

It’s Not All Gravy

Who Killed Lilly Paine?

Review

12/07/23

Reading by Moonlight

Second Chances

Review

12/08/23

The Page Unbound

A Chance of a Ghost

Sneak Peek

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11 Responses to Full Series Blog Tour, Book Review, and Giveaway: Death in the Absence of Rain (Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles #15)

  1. Joe Congel says:

    Super review! Caleb Pirtle III was truly a gifted writer. His unique take on Magnolia Bluff gave us a glimpse into the strangeness and quirkiness of some of the folks who could really live in any small southern town with shadows hanging over it. Death in the Absence of Rain is a wonderful final story from the hands of a master storyteller.

  2. Hall Ways says:

    ooh. this sounds really good, and I love the spine-tingling element added in to this one. Thanks for sharing a wonderful review!

  3. Caleb’s stories (this one and Eulogy in Black and White) are riveting and fast reads. His use of simple word choices let’s him deliver complex situations and emotions. Excellent reads.

  4. Jan Sikes says:

    What a wonderful review for Caleb’s book! Thank you for sharing.

  5. I believe Death in the Absence of Rain may have been Caleb Pirtle’s last book before his passing. This is every reader’s loss, though this one in particular is one of his best. It is difficult to capture his unique and lyrical style, but this wonderful and eerie story will stick with you long after you have put it down.

  6. Rox Burkey says:

    The story will spark your imagination and curl your spine. Like all of Caleb’s books, it is delivered to perfection. Readers are always satisfied when they select something written by Caleb Pirtle III. He is missed, yet remembered by his words.

  7. April says:

    Gripping book by a talented writer. The world lost a gem when it lost Caleb Pirtle.

  8. CW Hawes says:

    Fabulous review of what has to be one of the best of Caleb’s books and of the best in the series. Caleb was a giant among men. A fabulous writer and human being.

  9. Pingback: Full Series Book Blog Tour & Giveaway: Magnolia Bluff Crime Chronicles featuring Ten Million Ways to Die by CW Hawes | Boys' Mom Reads!

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