An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
A special thank you to Scribner and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
With this exceptional entry, Erik Storey, a natural born storyteller, solidifies his place at the upper end of the literary crime thriller "rural noir" fiction genre, NOTHING SHORT OF DYING —Tenacious Clyde Barr dirt-under-your fingernails, kind of raw, is a character you want on your side; rugged, a tough-as-nails hero we can count on.
The gritty novel begins with a phone call in the Utah wilderness about a week after Clyde Barr had been released from prison. He had hoped for a storybook homecoming; however, in reality, this was not a dream life. He likes the wilderness and living off the grid, with no technology or frills.
Jen, his sister called with a desperate SOS- she needed for him to come and get her. Throughout their childhood they had been through nights of their mom and dad fighting, mom’s boyfriends, drunks, loss of control, fighting, and abuse. Mostly hiding out to ride out the storm. The two of them against the world. They have secrets.
Jen explained in a whispered voice, for Clyde to hurry, he was going to kill her. She was to help, and then he would kill her. She reminded him he owed her. Before she could tell him where she was, Barr heard a male voice and the line went dead.
He was her flesh and blood. She had a knack for finding the wrong people, times, and places. He had left her to fend for herself, because he had been selfish. Now he owed her. This was his chance to make up for his mistakes; however, he needed a track to follow, a direction. Barr knows that nothing short of dying will stop him from saving her.
After their dad left, and their mom died, he did something stupid which almost got him killed. Jen did something worse that saved his life. If anyone ever found out what they had done, they would be serving life sentences. Jen kept quiet and he was free. They had been to hell and back. He would do whatever she asked.
Clyde begins his journey for his sister. She was in trouble again and most likely mixed up with somebody very dangerous. From Colorado, outdoorsman, Clyde Barr returns to the states after serving as a gun for hire in Africa and South American. After leaving Juarez prison, Clyde is camping and receives the phone call. He has no clue where she could be. He has had no contact with his family in years.
On his journey, he meets Allie Martin, a bartender. They both are equally stubborn. Soon a relationship develops as they travel deeper into the remote Colorado’s high country. From drug-ring politics, meth houses, and violence. However, despite the challenges, nothing will stop Barr from reaching his sister, and his strong loyalty to family and blood.
What he was dealing with, he had underestimated. In a matter of days, he was dealing with drug dealer gangs, feds, and a girl who started to mean something. So much, for the quiet life. Shortly thereafter, an intense race against time.
Storey, introduces strong female characters, in addition to Barr, for women readers; Allie and Jen, which proves riveting heroes in their own right. Jen is no poor victim. A gal who can handle herself. With a rich cast of characters, an action-packed tale of grit, emotion, desperation, and the resilience of family. From good to evil, the author explores both extremes.
New fans will anxiously be awaiting the next installment of pulp-action hero, Clyde Barr. Stark and gripping, with a strong sense of place in rural rich areas, and bold nuanced characterization reminiscent, of Ace Atkins, Lee Child (Jack Reacher), Craig Johnson, and CJ Box.
As the author mentions in an interview, “The book isn’t a cup of tea at all; it’s whiskey on the rocks.”
Indeed, it is like sipping and savoring the spirit. So grab a glass, pour yourself some whiskey, kick back in your leather man (or woman) chair, and do some taste testing and follow Clyde Bar on his adventure. Feel like kickin’ it old school? Have your whiskey in a tin cup in the great outdoors, a perfect side-kick for Nothing Short of Dying.
I am always fascinated with the inspiration behind books and authors. Thoroughly enjoyed the Interview with Erik Storey.
“I wanted to show off this side of the state,” he continues. “It’s not as visited as Denver. Western Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Idaho — they’re kind of forgotten. People will fly into the cities, but because the population density is so small, they overlook the rest of the region. To a lot of people, the West is kind of an obscure concept. I want to promote this area with my books.
As Clyde’s quest takes him from small town to small town throughout Colorado — Riverside, Clifton, Palisade, De Beque, Rifle, Meeker, Mack, Leadville, Steamboat Springs — he unearths both the grandeur and grit of life in the high country and on the Western Slope.
What does define Clyde’s character, besides his tenacity and honor, is a deep distrust of cell phones, apps, computers and every other innovation that distracts from the simplicity of humanity’s bond with the land.
In addition to the advanced reading copy, also purchased the audio version, narrated by Jeremy Bobb (sexy, edgy, gritty), a perfect match for Storey’s smashing debut, for a full throttle performance ride.
Worthy of the hype, Nothing Short of Dying, equal parts rural country noir and contemporary Western, with a tough hero to stand up and cheer for, and not to be messed with. A rugged guy, the kind you would want to be alone in the wilderness with, for more than one reason.
Storey is an author to follow with many epic-adventures to follow. Sounds like we will visit Clyde next, as he wanders onto a Native American reservation, which mysteriously seems to have been taken over by an outlaw biker gang – while on the TV there’s report of terrorist activity in the area.
Can’t wait. Movie worthy. Awesome cover. Bring it on!