"Ron Robinson has a flawless ear for dialogue--that much is evident from the first page of Thunder Dreamer. But what's even better, and more important, is that Robinson possesses an equally keen ear for the unspoken dialogue of the human heart, those dreams, great and small, that are dashed, realized, and undreampt. The humanity of Thunder Dreamer is what sets it apart from other, lesser books. At once hilarious and heart-rending, Thunder Dreamer is not a book to be read; it is a book to read and read again--a book to be experienced."
---William J. Reynolds, author of Drive-By and other "Nebraska" mysteries.
"In Thunder Dreamer, Ron Robinson continues his championing of the disenfranchised. In the tradition of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, hero Rodney Deuce, with the aid and oftentimes discomfort of a fugitive from a nursing home, weaves a trail of petty crimes, missed opportunities, and ultimately murder across the romantic landscape of western South Dakota. Robinson, already well known as the leading play wright in South Dakota, puts himself in line to become the leading South Dakota novelist as well."
---Ken Robbins, author of The Baptism of Howie Cobb and Buttermilk Bottoms.
Not unlike Huckleberry Finn in concept and construction, Thunder Dreamer follows unlikely soulmates in a run through South Dakota, always one step ahead of the law. Rodney Deuce is documenting his age in a Rapid City liquor store when Daniel Quick, elderly nursing home walk-away, holds up the store and takes Rodney with him in the getaway car. During the next few weeks they avenge a wrong done an Indian friend, visit a whorehouse, and win a Jeep in a game of poker, camp and fish until their idyllic existence is shattered by murder, and attend an Indian civil rights rally where the friendship begins to show signs of stress. A white boy with Indian values and a throwback to the Old West, respectively, Rodney and Quick are perfect vehicles for presenting the author's environmental and Native American issues with humor and compassion. This fine first novel is too good to be missed.--Thomas L. Kilpatrick, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale, for Library Journal, August 1996.
Episodic, funny first novel about a feckless teenager and an irascible escapee from a nursing home, set in the Black Hills in 1980.
Rodney Deuce, recent high school graduate, takes a job as orderly in a nursing home: Not much is available in Rapid City, South Dakota, and he's too poor for college. A virgin, he falls in love with every woman he meets, including one of his supervisors, the lovely Nurse Stephenson. One of the residents, Daniel O. Quick, advises him to tell the nurse he's impotent, but Rodney gets it wrong, with hilarious results . . .His bad luck worsens when he takes Quick on holiday and the old man holds up a liquor store. At gunpoint, Quick forces Rodney to drive him into the Badlands, and the two have a series of picaresque adventures stealing cars, hoodwinking German tourists, visiting a brother, dodging mad motorcyclists, and most uproariously, acting in a wildly inaccurate Wild West pageant. Meanwhile, one of Rodney's friends, a Lakota Sioux, is involved in a demonstration at Mount Rushmore commemorating the actions of the American Indian Movement, leading Rodney to wonder, with his dark looks, if there was not a Lakota in ancestry. During an accident at the pageant, Rodney blacks out and has a "thunder dream," a coming-of-age vision . . .Playwright Robinson's . . .two lovable losers carry the day.---Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 1996.