Big Wheat

Written by Richard A. Thompson
Review by Cindy Vallar

Charlie Kreuger doesn’t think twice about the mysterious stranger in the wheat field on a dark night in late August 1919. After Maybel breaks his heart and a bloody confrontation with his abusive father, Charlie leaves his North Dakota home. He works with traveling threshing crews and meets George Ravenwing, who convinces him to change his surname to Bacon and seek his future. That leads him to James Avery, who welcomes Charlie into the Ark, a traveling group of men and women skilled at doing various tasks.

When Maybel’s body is discovered in the wheat field, everyone assumes Charlie murdered her. The mysterious stranger knows otherwise, for he killed Maybel, just as he’s killed others. His only regret is not killing Charlie that night, and he sets out to remedy this.

Thompson crafts a gripping tale of a time past, when threshing operations were an annual high point in farming life. Although Big Wheat begins slowly, readers who persevere won’t be disappointed. Once the hunt for Charlie begins in earnest, the pace quickens, and readers are compelled to turn the page to discover who reaches him first and whether Charlie will find his place with the people of the Ark.