Competence. Had Castle Freeman, Jr. written another 175 pages to double the size of his novel, All That I Have, the book wouldn’t be half as good as the one he wrote. The compact writing left nothing necessary out, and included nothing superfluous. Protagonist Sheriff Lucian Wing is a Vermont man who understands people, and most of all, knows when to let things develop without his intervention. He understands what he calls the difference between sheriffing and the law. The law intervenes when sheriffing fails. (Readers who dislike the word “sheriffing” need to lighten up, and understand that’s the way Sheriff Wing would use it). Lucian takes a pragmatic approach to his job, and to most aspects of his life. All That I Have has a plot that’s fully engaging: rich Russians who built an expensive house on a mountain; a local bad boy who breaks in and steals something valuable; trailer trash romance, and other relationships that open and don’t necessarily resolve tension and secrets. Freeman’s writing is skilled, the dialogue realistic, and the characters real and endearing. This is a perfect novel to read outside while relaxing. You’re likely to come away from it relaxed and smiling.
Rating: Four-star (Highly Recommended)