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The Guide: A novel Hardcover – August 24, 2021
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An AARP Hot New Novel for Summer * A CrimeRead Novel You Should Read This August * An Alta Best Book of August * A Veranda Magazine Best Book of Summer * A USA Today Book Not to Miss * A LitHub Most Anticipated Book of 2021
"Heller writes like a veteran outdoorsman influenced by Cormac McCarthy and Jon Krakauer… Masterclasses in the unsettling.”
—Lauren Daley, Boston Globe
“In his new mystery, author Peter Heller pulls off a rare balancing act once again: He gives us fast-paced action and intrigue, interspersed with closely observed, reflective nature writing. Speed up for the crime-solving, slow down for the Zen.”
—Julia Rubin, Associated Press
“The Guide is a literary work and a paean to fishing, as inspiring as A River Runs Through It… Poetic… Engaging… The Guide is a beautifully written book, a tribute to Colorado, its bounty and its ability to heal the soul.”
—Sandra Dallas, Denver Post
"Stunning... Stunning descriptions... Precise and evocative... The Guide is an excellent book, one to sink into and enjoy in one sitting, if you can. Readers will be transported, and find themselves just as wrapped in the mystery as Jack himself.”
—Fiona Cook, Mystery and Suspense Guide
"A devastating indictment of the lengths to which people of extraordinary means will go to protect themselves... The simple, sensorial beauty of Heller’s writing about the natural world... is the true soul of the book."
—Lisa Henricksson, AirMail
"Mr. Heller’s descriptions of nature and fishing are Hemingwayesque, and he’s also good at writing about people—their passions, impulses and ethical boundaries."
—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
“Peter Heller’s thrillers unfurl like campfire yarns… The scenery cascades in long, panoramic passages, whereas the human characters are rendered in quick glances.”
—Pete Tosiello, New York Times Book Review
"An ever so subtly dystopian wilderness noir that speculates on the horrors of a post-pandemic society... The enticing mystery keeps the pages turning, but not too quickly. The Guide is too beautifully written to speed through it, the descriptions of nature lush and vivid."
"Riveting... A chilling reminder of the dangers that might lie in wait for us all."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Heller is building a reputation as a modern master of the wilderness thriller... Heller manages to perfectly balance meditations on nature, memory, and loss while also unspooling a gripping thriller."
"Heller is an expert at building suspense, and he’s a first-rate nature writer, lending authenticity to the wealth of wilderness details he provides… The Guide is a glorious getaway in every sense, a wild wilderness trip as well as a suspenseful journey to solve a chilling mystery."
"Heller presents another brilliantly paced, unnerving wilderness thriller paired with an absorbing depiction of a remote natural paradise. … Masterful evocations of nature are not surprising, given Heller’s award-winning nonfiction about his own outdoor experiences, while his ability to inject shocking menace into a novel that might otherwise serve as a lyrical paean to nature is remarkable."
"Heller’s lush descriptions of fishing and river country are matched with a riveting, surprising mystery that captures the difference between the filthy rich and everyone else. The novel’s speculative approach to the lingering effects of Covid-19 is frightening in its subtlety and one of the book’s special charms. Readers looking for a credible couple and a story of redemption will love this."
"Fisherman’s noir isn’t a genre, but maybe it should be... This is an unconventional mystery, an unconventional romance, and an unconventional adventure, creepy and spiritual in equal measure... The author clearly knows his way around a river; the long, descriptive passages create a vivid sense of place and action... By the time Jack and Alison encounter a young woman running down the road in a hospital gown in a scene right out of the sinister noir Kiss Me Deadly, they’re in too deep, and they’re too curious, to quit the dangerous puzzle before them. You might feel the same. There's danger at the end of the line in this unconventional mystery."
"Peter Heller is the poet laureate of the literary thriller, and The Guide offers further proof for the case. Powered by Heller's trademark prose, which alternately thunders and eddies like his beloved western rivers, this sinister and soulful story unfurls so skillfully that it's easy to ignore all the layers beneath—but you shouldn't. Heller writes about the eternal questions and the exquisite details, and he knows the places where they intersect in the human heart and the natural world."
—Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Wish Me Dead
About the Author
- Publisher : Knopf (August 24, 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 272 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0525657762
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525657767
- Item Weight : 15.5 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.82 x 0.99 x 8.52 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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It is a few years into the future, after the pandemic, and a new strain of the virus is wreaking havoc on the country. Jack needs an escape, to regroup. Life has not been easy for this cowboy. His mother died in an accident that he blames himself for when he was a young boy. After graduating from Dartmouth, his closest friend is killed, and he is still suffering from the aftermath. Two major tragedies are more than he can handle, and the memories and guilt have taken a toll. His love of fishing and nature is his one solace. He’s taken a job as a guide to get away from life and be at one with the water and the fish. But something doesn’t feel right as soon as he arrives at Kingfisher Lodge. There are too many restrictions. Warnings of places not to trespass and something ominous in the air about the last guide who mysteriously disappeared. Jack can’t help himself, so he sets out to explore what is beyond the fenced off area.
Jack doesn’t recognize Allison straight away when he’s assigned to be her guide. Eventually, her sweet humming gives her away and he realizes that she is a famous country singer escaping the big city for some rest and relaxation and good fishing. She hardly needs a guide, she’s that good.
The gruff and short on words lodge director makes is clear from the get-go that rules are to be adhered to. No sooner are guide and guest in synch and the other guests appear even more sinister and standoffish. Wealth abounds but that doesn’t appear to have any bearing on safety. Something truly disturbing is underfoot and it is not clear what it is but when Jack senses real trouble, he is not going to let another tragedy happen on his watch.
THE GUIDE is a suspenseful and haunting tale that will send shivers up your spine, literally, thinking of the lengths some people will go to, with no regard for others. Heller skillfully depicts scenery as if he were painting a picture. An engaging thriller for these times.
The Guide is a sequel to The River with the same character who is now carrying the emotional baggage over what occurred in The River (don’t want to put a spoiler in here).
Heller is a master at his craft, a true wordsmith. His voice carries the story and adds great depth to the story.
The Guide starts out with a similar type of entry, a solid literary story, with the main character out in nature, who meets a woman he guides in fly fishing. The description, the romantic interplay is wonderful. Had Heller kept on this track throughout the book this one would’ve been a solid five stars as well.
I classify most books in two categories, Meat and Potatoes, which is literary with such a skill level that the story is rarely needed. And Chocolate and popcorn, pure entertainment, a beach read that travels at great speed without a need for deep cerebral engagement.
The Guide is pure Meat and Potatoes until the end then all of a sudden it shifts to Chocolate and Popcorn. It was jarring. Heller didn’t need it. He could’ve used a more plausible conflict ending with those staying at the fishing lodge.
I do recommend this book and I will continue preorder his next book.
David Putnam Author of The Bruno Johnson series