Lucinda Jones

Fiction - Mystery - Murder
364 Pages
Reviewed on 12/07/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Bil Howard for Readers' Favorite

In Lucinda Jones by Tank Gunner, Lucinda Jones, fresh out of Paris Junior College, is eager to fulfill her dream of being a newspaper reporter. She makes a big splash when she arrives in the quiet town of Palomino and starts her new job investigating a murder. Racial tension and neglect of the country school for children of color come with the territory in 1950 North Texas, but Lucinda wants to change that. In the process of getting her feet wet as a reporter at the Palomino Press, she meets locals who make her feel at home and are eager to adopt her as one of their own. However, Woodrow Collins can’t get enough of the spunky redhead’s personality and captivating way, and he hopes to establish something more permanent with Lucinda. She’d signed on for just a few weeks, planning to strike out for Austin and a journalism degree, but there are plenty of reasons to stick around, so there’s a difficult decision to make as her time in Palomino comes to an end.

Tank Gunner introduces this spunky redhead with mismatched colored eyes in such a way that, just like the townsfolk of Palomino, you can’t help falling in love with Lucinda Jones. Gunner nails the tone and the setting of just about any post-World War II town in North Texas, integrating the mixed culture of blacks and whites as the two races struggle to work out their place in the world. Woven into what would be a common story about a cub reporter getting her start are elements of intrigue and romance that kept me wanting more. Like me, you will cheer for her successes and shake your head at her mistakes, but keep believing she’s moving in the right direction. The author's writing style is smooth and easy to read. Gunner has done such a fantastic job with Lucinda Jones that I’m eager to catch up on the other three books in the series.

Pikasho Deka

Tank Gunner's Lucinda Jones follows a young journalist's foray into a small Texan town called Palomino in 1950. After finishing her second year at Paris Junior College, Lucinda Jones arrives in Palomino to work at Maybelle Winters' Palomino Press. Soon, she finds herself reporting from a murder scene where one of the wealthiest farmers in the country, Rainey Hightower, is found dead. Meanwhile, Lucinda acclimates to small-town life and does her part in getting a country school back into the fold. She witnesses first-hand racial discrimination from two law enforcement officers who are also members of the Ku Klux Klan. Lucinda also has her heart split over two men, Constable Porky Baycann and Woodrow Collins. Now, one of the suspects in the Hightower murder investigation is dead, and his wife is on trial. Can Lucinda help her?

Author Tank Gunner brilliantly captures the ambiance of small-town America in the 1950s with this engaging novel that has a lot to offer. Set against the backdrop of the dawn of the Korean War, Lucinda Jones is a character-driven drama that slowly draws you into the plot and keeps you immersed until the end. Gunner's characters are vibrant and full of life. Lucinda's friendships with the different townsfolk make her an easily likable character you can root for. Some crucial issues of that era, such as racism and sexism, are touched upon in the story. There is a bittersweet flavor to the narrative, which I really enjoyed. I was also very satisfied with the ending. Recommended to readers who love character-driven stories.

K.C. Finn

Lucinda Jones is a work of fiction in the interpersonal drama, recent history, and sociocultural writing subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. Part of a series by author Tank Gunner, this captivating tale is set against the backdrop of the Korean War, following the journey of an aspiring journalist, Lucinda Jones. Coming to work at the Palomino Press, Lucinda becomes entwined in a narrative that unfolds against the historical canvas of President Truman committing US forces to the war. Her search for truth and justice brings readers a story that goes beyond the war, delving into secrets, inequality, trust, and the nuances of true love.

Author Tank Gunner brings to life a world filled with challenges, excitement, and moments of poignant serenity, allowing readers to connect with Lucinda's journey of self-discovery as she fights for everything she believes in. The author's ability to balance the historical backdrop with personal narratives is immensely pleasing to read, shifting us through recent history but connecting real people’s lives to the events and showing how it truly affected them at the time. This vivid portrayal of characters and the evocative historical setting builds a strong foundation for some fascinating plot twists and a great sense of pacing as we encounter other characters from the series in callback moments. It feels like Palomino is not just a highly realistic and engaging place in itself, but that it holds up a mirror to daily life and the challenges faced by generations before us. Overall, Lucinda Jones is highly recommended as a heartfelt exploration of human resilience and the transformative power of love.

Edith Wairimu

Lucinda Jones by Tank Gunner is a compelling historical novel set in a rural 1950s Texas town and led by a fascinating heroine. Lucinda reports to her new job during the beginning of the Korean War. A journalism student at Paris Junior College, Lucinda is hired as a reporter for Miss Maybelle's newspaper in Palomino. On her first day, the U. S. enters the war and she follows a case concerning an influential man who is found dead on the railroad tracks and, later, reports on it. In Palomino, Lucinda finds love and becomes a voice for social justice and equality. She grows, makes new friends, and tackles personal and professional hurdles with courage. Despite facing doubt and danger, she refuses to give in.

Gunner offers an enchanting story with believable characters and important themes. Lucinda’s life is skillfully interwoven with the historical events captured in the plot. I found her bravery inspiring and loved that she was flawed and authentic. The novel is a captivating offering that follows multiple events and characters. Each character is intriguing and has a unique backstory. I found the mystery riveting and enjoyed the dialogue in the novel. I love that Lucinda grows as a character, works on her weaknesses, and discovers how strong she is. Her romantic relationship is a wonderful subplot in the story. Lucinda Jones by Tank Gunner is an incredible novel with endearing characters and relevant themes. It is a potent exploration of courage and strength in uncertainty and intimidation.

Alma Boucher

In Lucinda Jones by Tank Gunner, Lucinda is a journalism student and has just finished her second year at Paris Junior College. Miss Maybelle offered Lucinda a job as a reporter at the Palomino Press. On the day Lucinda arrived, a dead body was found, and Lucinda told Maybelle she wanted this assignment. It was news, and people needed to know about it. From her first day in Palomino, Lucinda made friends and was told she was just the person they needed in Palomino. The people of Palomino needed someone to help them fight for equal treatment of elementary school children. Lucinda could help with publicity by reporting, and she could point out what was wrong and how it could be changed for the better with the least amount of anguish and argument.

Lucinda Jones was very entertaining. I thoroughly enjoyed how Tank Gunner included the historically significant and culturally diverse elements of Palomino in the story. The concerns at hand, despite being fictionalized, are quite real. Persons of color were not allowed to use the same entrance as white people. The dialogue and the characters brought the story and setting to life. The characters are well-developed and easy to relate to. Tank's writing style is straightforward, and I was hooked until the end. Reading between the lines reveals layers of profound emotion and insight. Lucinda stirred the pot and got folks riled up with her reporting. It caused a big ruckus, but she succeeded in getting the attention she wanted. The story is beautifully written and was much more than I expected.