The first thing that stood out for me about Michael Putegnat’s novel, Laguna, was the author’s excellent writing skills. He has the ability to create a vision in the readers mind and employs a clever use of humor. Attractive hooks at the ending of most chapters kept me unable to resist reading at least the first paragraph or two of the next one.
Laguna opens with Octavio Paredes, the missing fisherman, and his wife Anajita. This interesting inter-racial marriage gives glimpses of underlying racism in their families. From there we are introduced to Jason, a sergeant at a police station, and his brother Jack, who is depressed and out-of-work. The hands of fate drag these two brothers into the case of the missing fisherman. Intriguing threads lead back to Jack’s old job and his only refuge is his sailboat. However the unexpected romance with Angela brings a ray of relief to Jack’s battered life.
Sweet Angela, the green-eyed daughter of Sophia Poole, is more than she seems. She gets that from her mother. Sophia, no ordinary elderly lady, holds an emotional secret.
John Mange, his wife and two sons are facing financial loss on a grand scale. But nothing small in this family has been done in more than four generations. Greed runs deep in John’s genes and like his forefathers, he stoops to unspeakable levels to get what he desires most.
Enter Fester Stubb, a former IRS tax fraud specialist is employed by John Mange. John doesn’t yet know it, but he has just made his biggest mistake.
As you can probably tell by the list of characters, the back cover statement accurately describes the setting for Laguna as a place where “power and greed are the new religion and love is an accident”.
This book invokes political scams and rich men’s schemes, harbored loves and dedications that control women’s lives - and my favorite of all themes – the love and desire to protect the environment. I love the good verses evil scenario set out from the start. Here we have greed working against vengeance with the backdrop of romance and the need to do what is right. I was stunned to discover this is this author’s very first book. It is of excellent quality with writing skills I have seldom seen.
The characters are made to appear so real. No one in particular is a “hero”, yet they all play a heroic part in some way – each without knowledge of what any of the others were doing. It was a great example of what each of us can do by playing an active role.
In his real life, author Michael Putegnat is familiar with the political arenas and enjoys sailing. He also comes from a long line of Texans; his family has lived in the state for 5 generations or so. Because of this, his book comes alive for the reader with seemingly little effort on his part.