The Settling

Fiction - General
244 Pages
Reviewed on 04/25/2017
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I had hoped to be a writer after graduating from St. Edwards University in Austin, but family imperatives and minimum nutritional requirements argued for pragmatism, and that rode me through a series of enterprises, elected and appointed public service, a graduate degree from Harvard, higher education administration and professorship, and finally to consulting for businesses, government and non-profits.
Along the way, I forgot where I started.
I like to think it was a long, circuitous postponement, and it turns out it was a useful practical research that informed and inspired my first novel, Laguna, which won an IPPY Gold Medal in 2007.
In 2016 I began writing full time. I guess you could say that at last I have come to the beginning.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite

In November 2004, Heinrich Finster strolled through Germany’s Hurtgen Forest, the site of vicious battles and thousands of deaths occurring sixty years earlier. Surprisingly, he found a skeleton wedged between two boulders, and realized the dog tags belong to an American soldier. The intriguing adventure continues in the small town of Huntsville, Texas, and the offices of the Army Awards and Decorations Branch, located in the Pentagon. Tom Campbell, an associate professor of history at Graffton College in Huntsville, is grappling with the death of his mostly-silent father – with the help of his sometimes girlfriend, Elly. Bob Vardis’ job at the Army office is investigating veterans’ claims of heroic acts. Author Michael Putegnat crafts an engaging story of intrigue, history and loving relationships in his novel, The Settling.

Although the story contains some complicated scenarios, such as the deciphering of coded information, there is an easy flow in its reading. The author skillfully lays out the plot in understandable and truly enjoyable ways. The characters are realistic, as snippets from their life experiences are woven into their current emotions and behaviors. Tom’s middle-class upbringing and his professorial history at Graffton, and Bob’s challenging work, have a great impact in their current efforts. The Settling by Michael Putegnat is a substantial novel, rich in authenticity and life’s challenges. The reader is pulled into the storyline from the first page, and is enthralled with the complex plot until the last page. There is adventure, mystery and discovery entwined throughout – a novel not to be missed!

Ellie Midwood

I love books that not only tell an entertaining story but make you think along the way. “The Settling” is one of such books.
It starts with a scene where an elderly man, searching the woods in Germany, stumbles across remains of a soldier with dog tags still intact around his neck, which date back to WWII. From there an incredibly enthralling story unravels, taking the reader to Texas where Tom Campbell, a history professor, learns about the death of his father, Charles Campbell. However, going through his father’s things, Tom and his girlfriend Elly find out that old Charlie might have had a secret which he only revealed to his journals, carefully coding his entries. Could it be that the newly found remains that a Pentagon official is investigating might have something in common with Charlie Campbell and his secret diary? I won’t give away anything else here so you can find out for yourselves.
I absolutely loved not only the components of mystery and an investigation that both Elly and Vardis, a Pentagon officer, were doing, but also deep psychological issues that each character had to deal with. The contradictory feelings of guilt and denial that torment Tom after the death of his father; his refusal to face real issues that cause him misery and blaming his father instead; his complicated relationship with Elly and how he finds his way back to happiness with the help of the story revealed in his father’s notes – all these issues were masterfully presented.
If you love deep and meaningful stories that are told in the most compelling way, this one is certainly for you. I couldn’t put it down. A fabulous read.