Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Review: The Guide

The Guide

The Guide
By Peter Heller
Knopf, 9780525657767, August 2021, 272pp.

The Short of It:

I read this one in one sitting. Held my attention even though it’s different from Heller’s normal fare.

The Rest of It:

The best-selling author of The River returns with a heart-racing thriller about a young man who is hired by an elite fishing lodge in Colorado, where he uncovers a plot of shocking menace amid the natural beauty of sun-drenched streams and forests. – Indiebound

I’ve read a couple of books by Heller and loved them both. What I did not read before this book is The River. Apparently The Guide is a follow-up to that book but I didn’t miss it at all. This one stands alone just fine. Thought you should know that in case you pick this one up thinking you have to read The River first. You don’t.

This was an interesting read for me. I was fully taken with the setting. Heller is a master at putting you in the setting. The river, the lodge, the people in it, all very descriptive and he totally pulled me in. What I didn’t expect was the mystery behind what is going on at the lodge. As an outsider working as a fishing guide to the rich, sometimes even famous clients, Jack sees things that raise a red flag to him. For one, the hasty retreat of the guide before him. A women’s scream in the middle of the night. Was it an owl? Perhaps. Why are there so many cameras and a gate code to get out?

I felt like the mystery was a bit farfetched but I enjoyed all that time on the river and I enjoyed Jack. He’s endured a life full of loss and finds peace on the water, so when his peaceful world is shattered by these nefarious events, you take notice. The Guide was a good read and I read it in one sitting. I will be reaching for The River soon.

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: Damnation Spring

Damnation Spring

Damnation Spring
By Ash Davidson
Scribner, 9781982144401, August 2021, 464pp.

The Short of It:

Slow build, but worth it in the end.

The Rest of It:

Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It’s 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn’t what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now that way of life is threatened. ~ Indiebound

Damnation Spring is about a lot of things. That is why the story is sticking with me even though I finished it a few days ago. Colleen and Rich don’t have the perfect marriage but there’s love there, especially for their young son Chub. But after eight miscarriages, Colleen wants nothing more than to carry a baby to term but there’s a problem. The spray used to control the growth in their logging community is poisoning their water. Colleen, an amateur midwife to the other women in the community has seen the proof of it more than she cares to admit. Babies, born with half a brain, and now her own sister is pregnant.

Colleen’s determination at finding the cause for her miscarriages creates problems for Rich and his logging team. He wants to ignore it but when he looks at his son Chub, he also doesn’t want to endanger his life or Colleen’s. Plus, he has a financial stake in all of this because he purchased a large part of the land, with the hopes to sell the timber but there are challenges there too. Roads, not owned by him. You might own the timber but you can’t get it out if the roads aren’t available to you.

This was a rich, complicated story about people trying to survive. I loved the complexity of the characters. There is a rawness to the story too. The beauty of the timber, the destruction of the forest, the poisoning of the water and everything around it trying so hard to survive. It was very good and I didn’t notice its length at nearly 500 pages.

Recommend.

Source: Review copy provide by the publisher.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.