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The Terror of Livingby Urban Waite
Make sure you've got a few hours to kill the moment you pick up this book. Urban Waite has produced a breathlessly paced debut that's over-the-top in the best possible way, featuring a villain who's one of the most brutal, real, and haunting characters I've encountered, ever.
"If the phrase 'literary thriller' makes some of us wince, it's from fear of what some wise guy called 'more writin' than readin'.' But in The Terror of Living, Urban Waite's strong debut novel, that label is no oxymoron. In this case 'literary' means assured and skillful prose that explores more than a Looney Tunes view of good vs. evil, and primary characters far more nuanced than Popeye and Bluto, or Bond and Goldfinger." Katherine Dunn, The Oregonian (Read the entire Oregonian review)
Synopses & Reviews
Phil Hunt is in deep trouble.
Hunt is on the run from two men: Drake, the deputy sheriff who intends to catch him, and Grady, the vicious hitman who means to kill him.
For twenty years Hunt has lived in Washington State, raising horses with his wife on his small farm. He's tried to stay out of trouble, wanting only to make a living and taking the occasional illicit job in order to do so.
Then his last delivery goes horribly wrong, and the chase is on from the mountains down into the Puget lowlands. To have any chance of rescuing his quiet life, Hunt will have to deal with deputy sheriff Bobby Drake, a good man determined to make up for his father's tainted legacy and Grady Fisher, a very bad man intent on making a name for himself in the most violent ways. With a fondness for blood, Grady takes pleasure in the use of knives, taking Hunt's life apart piece by piece, all the while leaving a trail of victims across the state.
Relentless and gorgeously written, with original characters and a vividly powerful sense of place, The Terror of Living heralds the arrival of a writer who will be compared with the great suspense novelists.
"Drug smuggling in the Pacific Northwest provides the backdrop for Waite's promising debut. Phil Hunt leads a quiet life with his wife, Nora, raising horses near Auburn, Wash., except when he's helping make drug deliveries through the mountains to Canada. Twenty years earlier, Phil killed a man during a botched robbery, and though he did his time, he's still serving the emotional sentence. Living in nearby Silver Lake is deputy Bobby Drake, the son of a legendary lawman who got arrested smuggling drugs just like Phil. Disaster results after Bobby, who hasn't seen the elder Drake in 10 years, inadvertently stumbles on Phil and his new partner during the middle of a drug exchange. Soon, Phil is on the run not only from the law but also a ruthless assassin sent by the smugglers. Waite eloquently depicts men in turmoil for whom the choice isn't necessarily between right and wrong but where to draw the line. (Feb.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"In a blood-spattered chase that winds from the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington to Seattle and back again, first-novelist Waite never eases the throttle, but even at high speed, it's the interplay between the characters that gives the novel its power. An outstanding debut." Booklist (starred review)
"[T]he meticulously calibrated prose, rushing narrative and sympathetic protagonists mark Waite as a rewarding, promising writer." Kirkus Reviews
"A hell of a good novel, relentlessly paced and beautifully narrated. There's just no let-up. An auspicious debut." Stephen King
"In the tradition of No Country for Old Men, Urban Waite has written a nail-biter that takes off from the get-go and never stops, a book chock full of memorable characters and kick-ass writing. Clear your calendar before reading this one, folks, because once you start there's no stopping until the end, which arrived much too quickly for this reader. A smashing debut." Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
"The Terror of Living is a smart, swiftly-paced and bloody Western for our moment. Urban Waite is a writer who won't let a reader wander away — he keeps you reading, and reading, and rewards all your attention with a powerhouse story and prose to match." Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter's Bone and The Bayou Trilogy
Phil Hunt supports his family by guiding an occasional illicit delivery through mountain passes he's known since birth. Bobby Drake is a sheriff who is living down the legacy of his father. The two men's paths cross in the mountains north of Seattle, when Drake ends up disrupting a shipment.
Phil Hunt is deep in trouble. For twenty years he's lived in Washington State, raising horses with his wife on his small farm and trying to stay clear of the law. But when a less-than-legal side job goes horribly wrong, Hunt is suddenly on the run from two men: Drake, the deputy sheriff who intends to incarcerate him, and Grady, the vicious hitman with a knife fetish who means to carve him limb from limb.
An explosive chase ensues, and Hunt is forced to use all his willpower and toughness to rescue his quiet life and save his skin. Headlong and gorgeously written, with memorable characters and a vividly powerful sense of place, The Terror of Living marks the arrival of a new master of narrative suspense.
About the Author
Urban Waite, 30 years old, grew up in Seattle and attended the University of Washington. He went on to study writing at Western Washington University and Emerson College and now lives in Seattle with his wife. The Terror of Living is his first novel.
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