Tears of the Mountain

Written by John Addiego
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

This book chronicles one day – July 4, 1876 – in the lives of Jeremiah McKinley and his family of Sonoma County, California. In addition, each alternating chapter is a flashback of Jeremiah’s life prior to 1876 and his trip by wagon train heading west from St. Louis. Celebrating the centennial of America’s founding, the story unfolds with the assassination of a local senator; meanwhile, strange messages are being sent to Jeremiah from an unknown source. There is also a mysterious young child who speaks to Jeremiah with knowledge only his dead father would know about his family.

The cast of characters is fascinating, each one helping to move the tale forward. This character-driven novel is well-written with historically accurate information regarding California’s early settlement, the Gold Rush, and the Bear Rebellion that led to adding the California territory to the United States. I found it intriguing how the author moved from a flashback chapter to July 4, 1876 by tying sentences together from one chapter to the next. This novel is difficult to put down; Addiego is a talented writer who has composed an exceptional story that will linger in my thoughts for some time. I look forward to reading his next book.