"A splendid historical novel that deftly weaves together politics, adventure, and suspense in the context of a turbulent Reconstruction Texas in the late 1860s. Engaging, thought provoking, and at times brutal, the story takes sixteen-year-old Billy McCulloch on a journey with former Texas Ranger Captain Jack Hays ("Diablo Yack") and others in search of the notorious murderer and kidnapper Leo Morgan, son of the Yellow Rose of Texas and Comanche chief Spoon Dog. With vivid imagery, crisp dialogue, and nuanced insights into the legacy of the legendary Captain Hays, Plum Creek provides subtle challenges to the way many Texans have been raised to view the history of this period."
—Gregg Andrews, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History,
Texas State University, and author of Thyra J. Edwards:
Black Activist in the Global Freedom Struggle
"Plum Creek feels like a classic. . . . In harsh, spare language that often takes a lyrical turn, McNeal weaves a layered tale that foregrounds Billy’s coming of age against the emergence of the state’s identity. This is a story of grit and determination, as well as a recollection of the cultural and ethnic diversity of a people whose strength ensured Texas’s survival in an age of deep uncertainty. It is a lesson for our time, and we are lucky to have it."
—Donna M. Johnson, author of Holy Ghost Girl: A Memoir
"With extraordinary feel for the terrain, weather, and post-Civil War hazards of his native Central Texas, McNeal lays out a drama that conveys the human cost exacted of the Ranger icon Jack Hays, sets up a gunfight on the streets of San Antonio, and invokes an embattled but wistful respect for a fierce vanquished band of Comanches who called themselves Honey Eaters. McNeal’s first novel holds its own with the best American fiction of its kind."
—Jan Reid, author of Comanche Sundown and Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards
"Spare, powerful, and musical. McNeal writes like a cross between a country lawyer and a country troubadour—which, come to think of it, he is. Read this book."
—Jesse Sublett III, leader of The Skunks and author of Rock Critic Murders