Red Cloud Pistachios

Fiction - General
258 Pages
Reviewed on 05/25/2011
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

David J. Heslop was born in North Carolina and grew up in the small south central Iowa town of Centerville. At ten, he moved with his family to Southern California where he eventually would attend the University of California at Santa Cruz and Irvine. At Irvine he entered the English Literature/Creative writing undergrad program and, eventually, moved to Boston with his wife.

There he began a 25-year career in advertising. He is formerly an award winning copywriter and Associate Creative Director. Honors include a regional Emmy Award for broadcast promotion, National Best of Category, and numerous local and regional medals. Red Cloud Pistachios, his debut novel, was a prizewinner in the 2005 Arizona Statewide Writers’ Contest. A long-time resident of the Boston area, he moved with his wife and doberman-mix Jackie O., to Tucson, Arizona in 2000.

His companion novel to Red Cloud Pistachios entitled These Barren Hills, is now available at

    Book Review

Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for Readers' Favorite

If you've ever lived in a small town you know the ambiance of such places. Everyone knows everyone else. There is no such thing as a secret. Friends and neighbors are like family. Red Cloud, Arizona was just that sort of town.

Twenty years ago, Carla told JJ she was pregnant; he offered to marry her but was relieved when she said no. Carla made up an elaborate story concerning Rory's father. Everyone in the small town knew the boy looked just like JJ but no one ever said a thing. Raising a child alone wasn't easy but Carla never asked for help. She and JJ remained close friends. Rory thought of him as a family friend.

JJ inherited a pistachio orchard from his dad. He and his friend George ran the place. George did most of the work. After George became ill Kurt proved his worth and was hired on. Linda took a liking to Kurt and gave him the inspiration to make more of himself. Mrs. Arkolis hired Kurt to plant roses and a few other odd jobs. She came to think of him as a son.

Red Cloud Pistachios is an incredible book. The characters are the driving force in this tale. Author David Heslop is a master at characterization; he managed to breathe life into each personality. He spared nothing in developing even the secondary characters. There are several secondary plots; the common factors that pull the plots together are the pistachio farm and the small town, Red Cloud. Kurt was one of my favorite characters. Watching him mature into a young man was heartwarming. His relationship with Mrs. Arkolis was touching. JJ was also a special character. For years he had resisted commitment, depriving himself of the joy of parenthood. There were many other special characters that stayed with me long after I finished the book.

Heslop captured the essence of a small town. A small town is more than a group of buildings, it is the inner relationships between. This book allows the reader to peek in the windows of the citizenship and witness their grief, guilt, love, abandonment and reconciliation.

I was quickly drawn into this plot, it held me captive to the last page. I became a part of this book and cared about the characters. I could see the town, the orchard and the run down trailer. Heslop did an excellent job of building the town with words. This book is a must read! Add this to your summer reading list. You will be glad you did.