Synopses & Reviews
It's 1935. Jobs are scarce. Yet Slippery Wilson walks off his job at a logging camp afer a gruesome accident kills a coworker. He's headed for Seattle with his savings and plans to buy a piece of farmland and be his own boss. When he stops to help a woman get her car out of a ditch, his life takes a serious detour. The woman is Ellie Hobbs, an anachist from the docks of Seattle who watches out for her young neice and dreams of flying planes.
But right now she's got a busted nose and has just stuffed a dead man's body into the trunk of her car. So begins the action that will take Slip, Ellie, her neice, and her noisy yellow bird on a heart-stopping adventure up the Inside Passage from Puget Sound to Alaska. They travel by dory to stay off the roads, and are followed not only by union men out for revenge but by a dogged Seattle police detective who recently lost his wife and is looking for a new life of his own.
A gripping period crime story, The Big Both Ways incorporates actual events and real places.
"In this gripping tale of survival, betrayal and murder set in the Pacific Northwest in 1935 from Straley (Cold Water Burning), Slip Wilson is just trying to find work, food and a little justice when he hooks up with a bottle-blonde, Ellie Hobbes, who drags him into her edgy, ragtag life. At the last minute, Ellie, a notorious 'red' union organizer who faces mounting problems with antiunion forces, and her young niece hop aboard the same rickety boat Slip is escaping on that's traveling from Seattle to Juneau. The odd trio barely catches a breath as weather, hunger, a Seattle homicide detective and a revenge-seeking gang of thugs hound them all the way up the Inside Passage. Ellie isn't big on explanations, so Slip isn't sure until nearly the end of their journey if she's a heroine or a scoundrel. Straley's beautifully understated narrative, vivid sense of place and unapologetic, unadorned characters make this a riveting, unpredictable ride." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Fortunately for those of us who love a tall tale, well told, with just enough mystery and local flora, fauna and history to catch our eye, Straley takes his own advice [write what you know]." -- Ron Judd "Seattle Times"
A gripping period crime story, The Big Both Ways incorporates actual events and real places. In his much-anticipated new novel, Straley has crafted a completely original thriller that pays homage to Raymond Chandlers gritty detective stories and John Dos Passoss evocative U.S.A. trilogy. Readers will find The Big Both Ways filled with complex characters, passion, greed, fear, and grief, yet buoyed by an undercurrent of hope and humanity.
About the Author
John Straley is a criminal investigator for the state of Alaska and lives in Sitka with his son and wife, a marine biologist who studies whales. He is the Shamus Award-winning author of The Woman Who Married a Bear, The Curious Eat Themselves, and The Music of What Happens.