Item description for Laguna by Michael Putegnat...
Building a Texas ranching empire over four generations they shed blood, sweat and tears...and they didn'st much care whose. Laguna weaves a fast paced tale of murder, intrigue, and evil battling against love and the basic goodness of ordinary people in a real world where the outcome is never certain.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.1" Width: 6" Height: 1.5" Weight: 1.35 lbs.
Release Date May 15, 2006
Publisher Synergy Books
ISBN 1933538198 ISBN13 9781933538198
The main plot of "Laguna" focuses on the development of coastal land and waters on the Texas Coast for natural gas, the people who opposed it, and the land owner who needed the money to survive. I found that the book covered every point of view for and against developing the land and involves a large number of characters. This is a murder mystery that may appeal to someone living in Texas and/or interested in a small glimpse at manipulation at work in local and federal government.
The beginning of the book has a brief description of most of the characters that are involved throughout the book. Each chapter made me feel as if the characters should really be in their own book with no direct correlation with each other in "Laguna". Some chapters are only 1 or 2 pages long. I found it difficult, at first, to continue reading the book because none of the chapters seemed to flow together well. Though I was very frustrated with the beginning, I finally did get caught up in the book and developed a curiosity about what would happen next or who would do something to Jack Grider, a System Analyst that had previously worked for the Federal Government in the Fish and Wildlife Department. Jack Grider had become involved with this land without really even being aware of his involvement - primarily because of a small report he had filed prior to his untimely departure that would impact the land if it ever came to light.
"Laguna" turned out to be a very thought provoking book about turning a large wildlife area into a site for the removal of natural gas. The landowner John Magne was so exited about the prospect of natural gas on his land that he let the financial aspects cloud his sense of trust and common business practices. Magne used all of his power at every level of local and federal government to ensure that his project would be approved and move forward without a hitch. The power that John Magne exerted on everyone around him stopped most from questioning his judgment - even his bank that was requesting a long overdue payment on the loan he held. A murder even occurs that no one is really eager to investigate because it might stop the approval of the permits to drill for natural gas.
It all starts to come to a head when Jack Grider is threatened and has to leave the area to save his life. He is manipulated by those who at first seemed unlikely to do that to him. At one point, a little kitten is saved, leading to a small turn of events in Jack's life - making him seem more human. There is also a mystery about a dwelling on the property and threats made against the Magne family for revenge. I thought I had the book figured out but the end was a complete surprise to me and many of the characters that seemed unimportant sprang to the forefront and saved the day.
Excellent! Aug 15, 2006
Laguna is a story where extreme wealth equals extreme power or does it? John Magne is a fourth-generation Texan with great land wealth. He is nearing the end of his family's dynasty of land in the Laguna Madre unless he can figure out a way to generate more money from his ranch. With an attitude of Manifest Destiny and the end results far outweighs the means to get there Magne puts himself above the law and sets out to do what it takes to save his heritage including greasing political palms and applying power and pressure wherever needed as he sets about to drill for gas on his land regardless of the human and environmental consequences. Drawn into the legal and political scenario are two brothers, one who is seeking an answer and one who is running from it, and five women who have very different reasons for trying to stop Magne from succeeding in his forward, by all means motto.
***** Michael Putegnat's excellent novel consists of short chapters that give a wealth of information on the character of each particular chapter and which end with a punch that ensures continued reading. For the last several chapters I simply could not put the book down. I found this story reminiscent of a John Grisham legal and political bestseller with intrigue and suspense all culminating in a spectacular conclusion. *****
Reviewed by Barbara Stabler for Huntress Reviews.
stunned to discover this is this author's very first book Jul 30, 2006
The first thing that stood out for me about Michael Putegnat's novel, Laguna, was the author's excellent writing skills. He has the ability to create a vision in the readers mind and employs a clever use of humor. Attractive hooks at the ending of most chapters kept me unable to resist reading at least the first paragraph or two of the next one.
Laguna opens with Octavio Paredes, the missing fisherman, and his wife Anajita. This interesting inter-racial marriage gives glimpses of underlying racism in their families. From there we are introduced to Jason, a sergeant at a police station, and his brother Jack, who is depressed and out-of-work. The hands of fate drag these two brothers into the case of the missing fisherman. Intriguing threads lead back to Jack's old job and his only refuge is his sailboat. However the unexpected romance with Angela brings a ray of relief to Jack's battered life.
Sweet Angela, the green-eyed daughter of Sophia Poole, is more than she seems. She gets that from her mother. Sophia, no ordinary elderly lady, holds an emotional secret.
John Mange, his wife and two sons are facing financial loss on a grand scale. But nothing small in this family has been done in more than four generations. Greed runs deep in John's genes and like his forefathers, he stoops to unspeakable levels to get what he desires most.
Enter Fester Stubb, a former IRS tax fraud specialist is employed by John Mange. John doesn't yet know it, but he has just made his biggest mistake.
As you can probably tell by the list of characters, the back cover statement accurately describes the setting for Laguna as a place where "power and greed are the new religion and love is an accident".
This book invokes political scams and rich men's schemes, harbored loves and dedications that control women's lives - and my favorite of all themes - the love and desire to protect the environment. I love the good verses evil scenario set out from the start. Here we have greed working against vengeance with the backdrop of romance and the need to do what is right. I was stunned to discover this is this author's very first book. It is of excellent quality with writing skills I have seldom seen.
The characters are made to appear so real. No one in particular is a "hero", yet they all play a heroic part in some way - each without knowledge of what any of the others were doing. It was a great example of what each of us can do by playing an active role.
In his real life, author Michael Putegnat is familiar with the political arenas and enjoys sailing. He also comes from a long line of Texans; his family has lived in the state for 5 generations or so. Because of this, his book comes alive for the reader with seemingly little effort on his part.
~ Book Reviewer: Lillian Brummet - Co-author of the book Trash Talk, a guide for anyone concerned about his or her impact on the environment - Author of Towards Understanding, a collection of poetry. (http://www.sunshinecable.com/~drumit)
Great Read! Jul 19, 2006
How often have we all seen or even felt the effects of those who have power, land or money? Does it not seem that because of the station they hold in life that more often than not they are working and living beyond the law that we all call our own? So is the case concerning John Magne, a powerful-fourth generation Texas rancher who is now facing a terrible financial crisis that could well send his family into bankruptcy. In his eyes any means to stop this from happening was fair game. However, there are others who also see him and all he owns as fair game as well. Unbeknown to him they are working and not for his best interest. Interested yet? You should be. In this book by Michael Putegnat we see the savage beast come out in mankind as the struggle for power, money and land is fought. We find some decent, some corrupt and many teetering on the edge in this work. What will be the outcome and who will be the winner? Does greed and murder take it all, or could decency possibly win? You simply must read this page turner of a book to find out. Very well written.
A vividly written and gripping novel Jun 14, 2006
Laguna by Michael Putegnat is a vividly written and gripping novel of Laguna Madre native John Magne and the transformation of his delicate homeland and ranching town into a national reserve and high-priced natural gas field. As Magne manipulative strives for power and ownership of the investment, one man and five women stand in his way, persistently interfering with his plans, each with different intent. An engaging page-turner, Laguna is very highly recommended to all general readers of good political fiction for its twists of plot which deftly carry the reader through an ultimately memorable and satisfying conclusion.