The Kerr Construction Company by Larry Farmer

The Kerr Construction Company by Larry Farmer
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (71 pages)
Heat level: Sweet
Rating: 2 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Dalhart McIlhenny is restless after finishing college. With old school values from his rural upbringing in Texas and a chip on his shoulder from being a Marine during the Age of Aquarius, he sets off on a quest. He wants something different in his life. Something others of his generation wouldn’t understand.

The Indian Capital of America. That’s what they call Gallup, New Mexico, and that’s where he’ll search for whatever it is he wants. But first he must find a job. One no one else wants. One as a laborer for minimum wage for the Kerr Construction Company, working with the local Navajo and with illegal aliens. Far away from the fast cars and parties he doesn’t care about like others do. He becomes best friends with an ex-bullfighter from Durango and finds allure in just trying to survive in a world that doesn’t care. Then he meets Carmen.

In The Kerr Construction Company you meet Dalhart McIlhenny an unusual man embarking on a new city and a new job. Along his journey Dalhart finds a job and also a few friends and a love interest. Will this love interest settle Dalhart or will his quest to seek something different have him back on the road again?

The Kerr Construction Company was a book that left me puzzled. Starting with the book title; looking at the title and the cover I was under the assumption that the construction company would be a business owned by the primary character or a family business. That is not the case in this book. Dalhart is, as mentioned in the book several times, a graduate of Texas A&M and a marine who’s no longer on active duty, that for some reason is seeking something different in life. Why? The author really doesn’t go into a lot of details why. There is also no sense of the time era given in the novel. However, there is reference to President Carter being in office so I can only assume the story takes place between 1977-1981.

I am not sure what to take away from this story. Dalhart was a wanderer afraid to settle and commit to a location but settled enough to attend Texas A&M and become a marine. He is okay for some reason settling for a minimum wage job, sleeping in a vehicle and washing up in bathroom sinks were the scope of his existence. He meets Carmen, a newly divorced waitress, and Dalhart told her his status that he doesn’t have a place to stay but she thinks he is the best thing since indoor electricity. She ask him to the movies, and the next time they meet she wants him to meet her mom.

There are snippets of Dalhart work day but it’s not really telling any information. Then in the next sentence he will be with Carman. The story is missing a structured plot. The story is a consistent level tone with no flavor, real conflict or any kind of twist to it.

I’m not saying the author doesn’t have skill. The writing was clear and maybe could be more enjoyed by someone that likes the rugged life or a wanderer. As a woman reader I would have liked to see the man be a man and bring something more to the table, if not romance than something stable. Carmen is newly divorced and what made her attracted to Dalhart from any other man wasn’t really clear. I did enjoy the conversations and time spent between the two. And also when Dalhart was away from Carmen he did miss her and couldn’t wait to be with her again. That was touching.

All in all The Kerr Construction Company was an okay read, but it’s not one that I would highly recommend.

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