“Mark Montgomery’s The Lightning Field is a fiercely compelling read. Populated by finely drawn, fiercely passionate characters, the plot is masterfully orchestrated with an impressive economy of language. The outlier protagonist appears hell bent on destruction as he faces up against ferocious opponents and becomes entwined with others who like himself exist outside the mainstream of society. Set against a stunning Southwestern landscape and entwined thematically with the dramatic lightning storms of late summer, this is a story about the mysteries of electricity and connection, about unseen forms of power, about a hidden order in the universe, and how letting go can lead to redemption.”
Gemma Whelan, Artistic Director, Corrib Theatre
The Lightning Field is the debut novel by Mark James Montgomery; the book shows him to be an uncommonly skilled and engaging storyteller. The three protagonists of the novel draw the reader’s interest and sympathy from the first. Jed Hark is an autistic nine-year-old with a genius for electricity; he may even be a prodigy. He sees, perceives, and understands things that no one else does, and the reader knows that he’s a wild card. Simone Smith is an artist with a fascinating specialty of creating massive structures out of scrap metal, and infuses herself into her work. Once well-known in her profession, she has been broken but remains strong and gutsy, and the reader knows that she will never be beaten no matter the odds. Neal Carver is an ex-con who’s dedicated to getting a new start in life; he’s got some direction, but circumstances and old patterns continually mire him in reality. He is compelled to make tough decisions at every turn; many of those he makes are unwise at best, but even so, his eyes are toward the horizon. All three characters are caught in forces that would bring them down; they deal with abandonment, exploitation, jealousy, indifference, rootlessness, suspicion, injustice, and even violence. Frighteningly predatory people and devastating happenstances are chillingly described; the villains are not characterized by contrived perversity intended to shock the reader, but exhibit undiluted, relentless, focused, and growing malevolence that is so intense but believable that it is terrifying. Yet it is these very forces which bring the protagonists together and show their ability to persevere. In them we see loyalty, courage, and determination take root and grow strong, and from them eventually come love, fulfillment, and triumph. Montgomery has a rare ability to create unusual, complex, and convincing personalities, and he sets scenes and creates atmosphere with superb wordcrafting that is undeniable evidence of a consummate writer.
David M. Baumann, author of the Starman Series
Montgomery’s prose reads like a gathering storm. His flawed hero’s journey is a primal thriller that’s impossibe to put down.”
Jan Baross, author of Jose Builds a Woman
Mark Montgomery’s debut book offers the reader a taut thriller brimming with action and suspense. The protagonist, Neal - a man with a checkered past, is running from a deal gone bad and after being struck by lightning, finds himself involved with Jed, an abandoned autistic boy who has a magical, and dangerous, perception of electricity. Their journey takes them to the isolated ranch of Simone, a determined young woman intent on completing a monumental work of land art. When Neal’s pursuers show up, the three must flee and unite for survival. The prose soars, as authentic as the landscape, filled with vivid images, high-charged action, and an unfolding love story that will capture your heart.
Irene Montano, educator