The Breaks

Avis R. Anderson

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 108 Price: (paperback) $19.99 ISBN: 9781469185422 Reviewed: June, 2012 Author Website: Visit »

A grown man and his mother shot execution-style over breakfast in an isolated Montana ranch. Toughs in leather jackets flashing wads of cash. A taciturn survivalist with no compunction about taking the law into his own hands.

Given the circumstances and the cast of characters, Alvis R. Anderson’s The Breaks seems to demand one tough sleuth (a gun-totin’ sheriff maybe?) or at least a cowboy.

The Breaks has both, but its unlikely and thoroughly enjoyable crime-cracker is gray-haired Lutheran pastor Sicily Anderson, who tries to puzzle out the frightening goings-on in her tiny community of Tower while juggling the demands of writing sermons and organizing church suppers.

Pastor Sic, as she’s known, is pulled into the drama by dint of assuming partial responsibility for Andi Schoonover after the murders of the girl’s father and grandmother. A high school senior, Andi loves the rugged beauty of northeastern Montana’s Missouri Breaks, but she’d promised her father she’d go to college, a promise that seems easier to realize when moneyed strangers offer to buy the Schoonover ranch. Still, Andi is torn. When she hesitates to accept the offer, bad things start to happen to the people and places dear to her. Time for Pastor Sic to put down the sermon and get busy.

The pastor is an intriguing character: a woman spiritual, feisty and curious in all the ways that can lead somebody right into trouble. In fact, all the characters in The Breaks easily hold their own. If the book has a flaw, that’s it: Anderson’s tactic of narrating the story from several different points of view robs Pastor Sic of some of her vitality. A reader wants more of her, lots more.

Sections of The Breaks hint at Pastor Sic’s previous adventures. One hopes Anderson has more in store for a character that puts the fear of God into the bad guys.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Glendive, Montana