Breath Like the Wind at Dawn

Written by Devin Jacobsen
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

This tale covers 20 years, from the Civil War forward, and the Tamplin family—three brothers, Quinn, Irving, and Edward; father Les; and finally mother Annora—are the centerpiece of the novel. Quinn and Irving are twins who are outlaws and rob banks; Edward, the youngest brother, has a dark past; Les is a serial killer, while Annora remains at their homestead in Utica alone.

Les is definitely the most violent of the family. After serving in the Civil War, he never returns home but heads West. He becomes an Indian fighter, but because of his violent behavior, he must leave the military. Les continues his violent ways wherever he travels: relief for him is instant, pure, and essential. After he is almost caught in a killing spree, Les escapes and finally returns to Utica where he becomes sheriff. He enjoys killing prisoners in his jail cell by smothering them to death, making the deaths look like a suicide.

Sagging Meniscus publishes “nonconformist fiction.” This is Jacobsen’s debut novel, and the author’s style may make the story difficult for some readers. His writing skills show enormous depth, using language demanding interpretation, requiring slow and steady reading from the first page to the last. There is also not a single false note in the characters’ dialogue.