The Mulligans of Mt. Jefferson is a novel of friendships that span decades, the secrets that can be hidden even from the best of friends, and doing what is right. Written by Don Reid, one of the original Statler Bros., Mulligans is a sequel to his earlier novel O Little Town, but it can clearly be read as a stand alone book. Buddy, Cal, and Harlan grew up together, went off to war together, and settled back into adulthood with wives and families. Never did anyone expect that their routines would be interrupted by Harlan being shot in his own home. Buddy, a police officer, finds himself trying to find his friend’s attacker, all the while feeling he is not receiving truthful information from Harlan or his wife. Cal, who has just returned to the community as the Methodist pastor, sees an unidentified pain in one friend’s eyes and a rightful determination in the other’s ; at the same time he continues to hide his own raw pain as he starts life without his wife and children.
Reid alternates present day action (set in the late 1950s) with flashbacks to “the three Mulligans” mischievous boyhood days. There are some intriguing, secretive characters in this book who are never completely revealed. One is “Uncle Vic,” the restaurant owner who took the boys under his wing back when they were preteens and would pilfer his empty soda bottles from his back lot to turn around and sell them back to him for deposit. Perhaps his character as a professional golfer and his secretive past with the wife/mother of the town’s powerful Greek family is better explained in the first novel, or maybe he will be a continuing cornerstone in future books. Most intriguing to me was Fritz, an older gentleman who worked in the back room of Harlan’s jewelry store. Obviously, an immigrant, Fritz had a loyal bond with Harlan’s family that transcends death and yet, he and Harlan barely speak.
Most male Christian fiction authors I have read write in either the fantasy or suspense genres Reid’s style was a pleasant change of pace. The book has a fast pace, “Present day” action occurs over three or four days, while the flashback sections cover three decades of key insight. Essential bonds between readers and characters come from those flashback elements. You care about Cal’s failed marriage because you’ve seen him grow up into an honorable man. You don’t want to believe anything mad about Harlan because you watched his father mold him into a “good boy.”
I received a copy of this title as an e-galley for review purposes. I was not compensated in any way for this review, which reflects my opinions.