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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

'The Terror of Living' by Urban WAITE

Received from the Publisher

From the BLURB:

Phil Hunt and Bobby Drake are good men who live on opposite sides of the law. Hunt supports his family and struggling horse farm by guiding an occasional illicit delivery through mountain passes he's known since birth. Drake is a sheriff who is living down the legacy of his father, a police officer before him who augmented his earnings in the same trade as Hunt.

The two men's paths cross in the mountains north of Seattle, when Drake notices a horse trailer parked in an odd location and ends up disrupting a shipment. The operation that seemed benign when it worked smoothly now reveals to Hunt just how deadly his sideline has become. His suppliers unleash a singleminded fury known as The Chef to recover what's theirs. And Drake's and Hunt's world is explosively invaded by forces they've never dreamed of.

‘The Terror of Living’ is the debut crime-thriller from Urban Waite.

Deputy Bobby Drake is out hunting around Silver Lake when he sees an abandoned horse trailer and suspects drug trafficking.
Phil Hunt is in the middle of a drug exchange when he is spotted by Deputy Bobby Drake.
Phil escapes, but he has Deputy Drake in hot pursuit. Phil also had madman Grady Fisher on his trail and after his blood.
Hunt tries to out-run the lawman and the madman while the body count rises.

Read reviews of Waite’s ‘The Terror of Living’ and you’ll notice a movie-connection being observed again and again . . . the Coen brothers’ movie (and Cormac McCarthy’s novel) ‘No Country for Old Men’. It’s true, and it’s a compliment.

‘The Terror of Living’ harks back to those old Western’s – a good guy (Bobby Drake) a bad guy (Phil Hunt) and a cross-country trek for justice . . .

This novel is quite violent – there are a lot of corpses and many a bloody battle. Sometimes the violence is heightened to the point of outlandishness . . . but for the most part I thought Waite was in keeping with the crime-thriller genre. He writes gritty and revels in reader’s discomfort – to the point that your reading experience is a visceral one (literally squirming in your seat).

If I have any complaints about the novel, it may just be that the ‘villain’ was more interesting than the two main protagonists. Bobby could be boring and Phil downright annoying, but Grady was brilliant for his unrepentant malice (sick though that may make me). He definitely reminded me of Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem’s character in ‘No Country’) even if his weapon-of-choice isn’t an air tank. Grady is the archetypal ‘evil’ in the novel – and because his immorality knows no bounds, he was grotesquely fascinating to read;
“I have a bar trick for you, sort of a magic trick.”
“Yeah?”
“Watch.” Grady placed his arms straight out in front of him, flattened his hands, and turned his palms up, then down. “Nothing in my hands,” he said. Eddie sat transfixed, watching the hands. Grady flexed his forearm, and the knife came forward on the slide. Eddie made a quick movement with his gun, but the blood was already appearing in a line across his neck. The gun went off. It was quiet and the round hit the wall just above the television and made a solid thunk. “Magic,” Grady said.
Though ‘The Terror of Living’ is often a violent affair, it’s also a great novel of connections and characters. Many players are left un-named (like Phil’s drug-dealing accomplice), but others are seemingly secondary but they have a great impact on the main men. Like Nora and Sheir – Drake and Hunt’s respective partners. It’s interesting to read these women and how they reflect back on the men – how they may even redeem them a little bit. I loved that Waite’s novel wasn’t a simple throw-away thriller – there’s real heart here, and it’s best read in the relationships of his protagonists’.

I really enjoyed Waite’s debut novel. He has woven a tale of good versus evil against a gray backdrop where violence meets justice. It’s stark and gritty, macabre and unremorseful and an impressive first-outing for this author.

5/5

1 comment:

  1. I have yet to give a shot to straight on Crime-Thriller... I always end up checking one that has at least some romance in it LOL

    Thanks for the review hon! This looks awesome!

    ReplyDelete