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The Freshour Cylinders Hardcover – October 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 345 pages
  • Publisher: MacMurray & Beck; First Edition edition (October 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1878448846
  • ISBN-13: 978-1878448842
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,648,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Native American assistant prosecutor Tom Freshour (last seen in The Whipping Boy, 1994) investigates a murder in Depression-era Fort Smith, Ark., on the Oklahoma border, in Morgan's Chandler-indebted fourth. The dead man, local eccentric Lee Guessner, trafficked artifacts from the famous Spiro Mound nearby, but was also involved in one of the elaborate real estate frauds that flourished at the time on former Native American lands. When lovely, smart-cookie Rainy Davis shows up as the unlikely inheritor (Lee had met her on a South American dig), she sparks Tom's love as he remembers wooing her mother. Along with trusty old court bailiff Hank, they sift through the local landscape and Native American heritage to exact justice, not only for murder, but also for crimes against Native American land, spirit and history. Years later, Tom tells the story into cylinders on an old Dictaphone machine and these are discovered later still, providing a neat framing device (and the story's title). Tom's tone shifts back and forth from sensitive outsider to marauding vigilante, but traditional characters like Tom's clueless wealthy boss, the dirty local sheriff and the judge with a secret make this a satisfying (if sometimes slow-moving) thriller with the added enjoyment of authentic depictions of Native American culture and history. (Oct.) FYI: Morgan is the editor of the Missouri Review.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

This novel, set in dust bowl Oklahoma, has the atmosphere of a "B" movie and the flavor of Indiana Jones. The secrets of the recent past compete with the mysteries of an ancient Native American civilization. The lives of the powerful and wealthy contrast with those of the drought-stricken and abused. Tom Freshour, a half-breed, local prosecutor, is asked to investigate the murder of a local collector of artifacts. A beautiful young woman is the mysterious heir to the murdered man's collection. She and Freshour find the motives, solve the crime, and produce a just end for the guilty. Unfortunately, Morgan attempts to frame the story as reality by prefacing it with a tale of boxes of wax dictaphone cylinders found in an old bank vault. The narrative that follows is supposed to be the transcript, hence the title, but it does not read that way. However, it is easy enough to ignore this and just get on with what is otherwise a very engaging and well-written novel. Danise Hoover

More About the Author

Born and raised in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Speer Morgan is the author of six books. His first novel, published in 1979, was set in Arkansas and the Indian Territory during the late 1800s. Among his other four novels, three have been set in Arkansas and Oklahoma - one in 1894, another in 1934, and another in the 1980s. "The Whipping Boy"(1994) was aided by an NEA Individual Fellowship in fiction. His latest novel, "The Freshour Cylinders"(1998), won Foreword Magazine's Silver Award for the best book of the year. It also won an American Book Award in 1999. His newest book of stories, in Kindle edition, is "The God Pocket." Morgan teaches in the English Department at the University of Missouri where he is director of the Creative Writing Program. He has edited The Missouri Review for 34 years.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 1999
Format: Hardcover
What a fine book The Freshour Cylinders is! It was the kind of reading experience that peopled my daydreams and nightdreams with vivid characters in exquisite detail. I felt like a time-traveller, transported to an exotic location, immersed in a time and place that, before this book, had little clarity to me. I have nothing but praise for this book -- it was thoroughly enjoyable and having to put it down put me in a bad mood. It's a book to savor for its splendid characters, dead-on dialogue, cinemascope descriptions of place and atmosphere, and driving plot. It's the kind of unbelieveable story that becomes completely believeable in the expert telling. I couldn't predict where I was being taken, like being driven through the Winding Stair Mountains in heavy fog, and I was thankful that a writer with unerring skill was at the wheel. Speer Morgan has an unfailing and incredible sense of historical accuracy. I was completely convinced that these characters were real. In addition to the pleasures of pure storytelling and exotic place, Freshour provided an even deeper satisfaction. It's such a powerful and harrowing book about the past: about the way our cultural past affects us collectively and the way we are each affected by our individual past. Tom Freshour, being half white, half Indian, is such a good character for this unfolding. And what a stunning indictment of white greed and American justice!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim Boggs on June 23, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is entertaining, well-written, informative, well-plotted, sexy, and with an intrigueing cast of characters. As an anthropologist who once lived in Oklahoma, I appreciate how well it captures both the ethos of the area, and the issues of contemporary cultural interactions and archaeology that it deals with. In addition to all this, one of the best things about The Freshour Cylinders is the author's gentle and perceptive portrayals of human, especially male/female, interaction. It is rare to find a book that is so enjoyable on so many levels. It's fun to share a good thing: I want this book to be read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The Freshour Cylinders by Speer Morgan is an exciting and authentic picture of western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma in the thirties. It combines authentic information about the famous Spiro Indian Mounds with a suspenseful story about murder, love, and the Native American experience in "Indian Territory." It is as gripping a thriller as you'll find on the shelves, and it has the added attraction of believable characters and an unusually keen sense of place and time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Duncklee<zopilotee@theriver.com > on February 17, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Speer Morgan has created a well-balanced novel; the plot is intense, the characters are well-fleshed out and the writing is superb. This is a book that one will give a repeat-read. It has all the essentials of entertainment as well as a beautiful display of history. Morgan's sense of place is extraordinary.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Speer Morgan's latest novel, The Freshour Cylinders, is an engaging combination of edge-of-your-seat mystery and historical drama. The novel is set in 1930s Arkansas and Oklahoma and traces the tribulations of Tom Freshour (who some may remember as the strong and silent orphan from The Whipping Boy) as he tries to discover why people who are involved with a local Indian burial mound are turning up dead. Morgan's characters, from the dashing Tom to the sexy Rainy to the contrary office typewriter which has a habit of jumping off the desk, are so lovingly detailed that they are often simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking. It is this wealth of engaging characters as much as the twists and turns of the plot that will keep you reading.
Tom Freshour is still as strong and stoic as he was in The Whipping Boy but has gained that wry recklessness that turns action heros into legends. His steamy romance with Rainy and his forays into the mystery that involves both of them resurrect old ghosts so that Tom is not only forced to play detective but must also confront questions about his own heritage. As the mystery barrels along, Morgan manages to infuse the novel with a good dose of fascinating history and intriguing psychological conflict. This is a beautifully written story of a man struggling with issues that have violently leapt from the personal to the political while navigating the astonishing events that are piling up around him. You won't be able to put this book down.
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By C. Bowman on December 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found the story interesting & entertaining. Learned quite a bit about the area near Ft Smith, AR, where I travel rgularly
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By My review on October 6, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I'm about 1/3 of the way through the book and
can hardly put it down. It's one of the best books I've come across in a long time!
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