BOOK REVIEW: Nothing Short of Dying by Eric Storey
Simon & Schuster Australia
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
Eric Storey may well be the world’s most unlikely best-selling author. A wilderness guide and hunter from Colorado, he plays to his strengths and writes what he knows in this, his debut novel about his alter ego Clyde Barr.
A former wilderness guide, hunter, (selective) mercenary & (wrongly imprisoned) convict, Barr returns to the Colorado wilderness after sixteen years after a phone call from Jen, the sister with which he shared a neglectful mother and several abusive step-fathers.
Jen and Clyde’s history is complex, horrific and violent, and we learn of their bonds and the shocking way they ended their abuse parallel to Clyde’s pursuit of Jen’s kidnappers. Cold and detached to start with, Clyde starts to thaw as young barmaid Allie who joins him on his mission – a woman with a similarly complex past – shows him how he can rise above his past and save himself, as well as his sister.
Storey imbues his tale with a love of the outdoors and a distrust of the modern age’s over-reliance on technology. There’s a pinch of sensationalism at times, but he never descends into soap opera territory – if anything, Nothing Short Of Dying has more in common with the pulp fiction of the 1950’s, making this a rollicking adventure with a believable, down-to-earth hero with a dubious past.
Storey apparently collected fifty rejection letters before using his last few dollars to send his story to his ‘dream agent’, resulting in this novel, which is being billed as “the new Jack Reacher” (which might mean more had we read any Jack Reacher novels). It goes to show that when you believe in yourself, nothing is impossible. Nothing Short Of Dying is a gripping read from a bold new talent, and future Clyde Barr instalments are bound to be eagerly anticipated.
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