Tag Archives: Peter Heller

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: The Painter

The Painter

The Painter
By Peter Heller
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780385352093, May 2014, 384pp.)

The Short of It:

Thoughtfully written novel about anger and loss. Surprisingly deep.

The Rest of It:

What did I expect when I picked this up? I seriously went into it without much knowledge about the story itself and sometimes that is a great way to go into a book. The only thing I  knew beforehand, was that I enjoyed Heller’s other novel, The Dog Stars and apparently, that’s not a bad way to choose a book because I really enjoyed this one.

The story is simple. Jim Stegner is sitting in a bar one day when one of its patrons makes an off-color remark about his daughter. Jim, not a man to let such a thing go, shoots the guy and goes to prison for it. Years later, after serving his sentence he chooses not to return to the Santa Fe art scene he left behind. Instead, he heads to rural Colorado to paint in solitude, fly fish and remember the marriage that he once had, and the daughter he lost to drugs.

This quiet novel stays with you long after reading it. Stegner is an interesting guy. He expresses himself through his paintings, but his temper gets him into trouble and when he sees a guy beat a horse on the side of the road, he can’t help but act and of course this starts a chain of events that he cannot ignore. Through it all, the reader is in his head as he ponders his predicament and somehow, he is not the bad guy no matter what he chooses to do. He’s imperfect but at the same time, his actions seem logical which makes him easy to relate to.

The writing is almost poetic. Sometimes, even lyrical in nature. It’s not flowery or overdone but it’s simple and lovely and I remember feeling the same way about The Dog Stars. I kind of dig his style. It’s no-nonsense and yet deep. It’s also a very quick read. I highly recommend it because there is all kinds of stuff to sink your teeth into.

Source: Sent to me by the publisher via Edelweiss.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.