2017 Patch of Dirt
Mid West Review's April 2016
By: Diane Donovan, Senior Reviewer
"Joe Oliver is a weather-beaten, thirty-something cowboy in Montana, out looking for work, when he stumbles on a strange deal involving a sixty-something ex-Vietnam vet and his much younger wife.
It turns out that the task at hand is more than the usual ranching job. Rita and Frank are looking for someone to be the biological father for their child and Joe seems the perfect candidate for the job - until Rita falls in love with him.
A nasty triangle of complexity evolves, placing Joe in the much more dangerous position of having to solidify his feelings and make some difficult choices. What began as another ranch job on the Montana frontier has just turned into something far more complicated than anyone could have predicted.
A Patch of Dirt is about ordinary people facing bad weather, bad ideas, and poor outcomes. It adds many elements to the Western theme that are satisfyingly unexpected as it probes the emotions and motivations of three very different characters, and it tells of a loner who has eschewed close connections until Rita enters his life. And even then, for him, circumstances are not cut and dried nor filled with sudden love, but foster a slow simmering of ambivalence.
As Rita snoops through Joe's soul and confronts her own mixed emotions, the characters uncover consequences from their actions and choices ("She knew Joe was breaking into pieces she couldn’t mend. She hadn’t meant for that to happen."). Joe and Rita find themselves in discussions and situations that lead each to question their lives and decisions."
To read the complete review please the link below.
Richard Lutman was born in Rochester, NY and raised in Philadelphia. He earned a B. A. in English from Windham College and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College. Richard is a retired technical writer with over 15 years of professional experience as a professor,writer, and editor. During his academic career he has taught composition and literature courses at a host of institutions to include: Rhode Island Community College, Fairfield University, The Learning Connection in Rhode Island, and Coastal Carolina University’s Lifelong Learning program.
Richard’s fiction work has appeared in both national and international publications including:
Epiphany Magazine, The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable,Prick of the Spindle, and Feathertale Review. His non-fiction has appeared in The Journal of the West, The Association of Tropical Lepidoptera Newsletter and The Florida Entomologist. Three of his chapter books: Altered Images (flash fiction); To Be with You Forever (short story collection), and When I Moved the Earth (narrative poetry) have been published by The Last Automat Press. The novellas: Iron Butterfly, I Like A Little Bit of The Handsome Americans Myself, and the nonfiction dogoir, The Holy Terriers are available on Amazon. Richard has received numerous awards for his short stories, nonfiction writing, and screenplays. He was a 2008 Push Cart Nominee and his novella Iron Butterfly was shortlisted in the 2012 Santa Fe Writers Project.
His forthcoming novel Patch of Dirt introduces us to Joe Oliver, a womanizing thirty-year old drifter, who meets Frank Hill, sixty-five year old, wounded Vietnam veteran and his twenty-five year old wife Rita. Frank offers Joe a job, which he reluctantly accepts and is duped into becoming part of their plan to sire a child the impotent Frank, is powerless to conceive. Rita puts Joe through a series of tests to determine if he will be the right biological father for their child. Much to Frank’s consternation Rita falls for Joe and jeopardizes their plan.Joe finds himself conflicted about his feelings toward Rita. His ambivalence leads up to the climactic decision he has to make.
To connect with Richard please visit his personal web page at www.wordrealm.net
© 2014 All Rights Reserved.
Author Photo Courtesy: Linda Cockingham
Q & A with Richard
Q. How would you describe your life in only 5 words?
A. "Watching coolly from the shadows."
Q. What is your motto/credo?
A. Do what you have to do and don't worry about it.
Q. What is your greatest achievement?
A. Getting my first novel accepted for publication.
Q. Who's your favorite character in the novel and why?
A. Anna. She is a character I can fall in love without any complications.
Q. What can readers gain from your novel?
A. Even when things look bleak there are second chances. Don't give up.
Q. What is your pet peeve?
A. Writers who dabble at their craft. They waste the valuable time of serious writers.
Q. What inspires you to write?
A. An idea, an image, a sound, a person, a word, a feeling, a smell.