Monday, April 25, 2011

Review:The Terror of Living: A Novel by Urban Waite

  • Author:  Urban Waite
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (February 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316097896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316097895

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.

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.

From Publishers Weekly


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.)
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From Booklist


*Starred Review* A few years ago, just as the creases were starting to form on his chiseled face, Clint Eastwood would have been perfect for the role of Phil Hunt, a horse farmer and ex-convict in Washington State who supplements his meager income with the occasional spot of drug smuggling—nothing too dramatic, just picking up a few bales of weed dropped into the mountains, strapping them onto his horse, and riding the load back to civilization. Then a deputy marshal, Bobby Drake, whose father was also in the marijuana business, stumbles across one of Hunt’s horseback pick-ups, and though Hunt escapes their first encounter, Drake, with a single-mindedness reminiscent of Lieutenant Gerard on the trail of Richard Kimble, sets off after his man. Ah, but this is noir-tinged fiction, not TV melodrama, and standing between Drake and Hunt is a psycho-killer hit man, hired by Hunt’s drug bosses, who enjoys his work way too much (think Robert Mitchum in Cape Fear). Hunt is cut from the western rugged-individualist mold, but there is vulnerability there, too, just behind the eyes, and when he tells his wife, long-suffering Nora, that “we’ll figure this out, and we’ll be all right,” we hear the determination, but we also hear the tired resignation of a man forced to make a stand that may be beyond him. 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. --Bill Ott

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. 
My Review
What an excellent first novel by author Urban Waite.  I always wondered why more authors did not utilize the smuggling that goes on in the remote stretches of the US Canadian border particularly in the mountainous region between British Columbia and Washington state as the background for their writings. I am very familiar with the area he writes about so that made the story even that more enjoyable for me.  The book was hard to put down as the action was never ending.  Mr. Waite developed the characters beautifully and I could picture them all easily in my head.  Insightful, wonderfully written novel however it does have more than its fair share of gore!  

Highly recommend this debut novel!

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