Prather’s Pick: Craig appears in a recent novel written by a Colorado man
This week’s novel for adults was written by Colorado resident Erik Storey, and readers will recognize some of the towns — such as Meeker, Rifle and Craig — in the setting of the book’s plot.
According to his brief biography, Storey has been a former ranch hand, wilderness guide, dog sled musher, and hunter. As a child, he spent summers on his great-grandfather’s homestead or in a remote cabin in the Colorado Flat Tops Wilderness. So it’s not surprising that his physical descriptions of the Colorado and Utah landscapes and animals are “right on.” His description of an accident involving elk and a pickup truck is just as we Colorado residents might have witnessed.
“Nothing Short of Dying” is a brand new (2016) thriller, published by Scribner. The plot centers around Clyde Barr, a tough guy who has, among others, worked on a game preserve in Kenya, served as a soldier of fortune, and, most recently, spent time as an unjustly imprisoned convict.
In fact, as the novel begins, Clyde was released from prison about a week ago. Now he’s in the Utah wilderness, on his way to the Yukon where he plans to live peacefully. He is cooking a steak that he cut from a mule buck deer this very morning. As he waits for the steak to cook Clyde tries to reach his two sisters, Deb and Angie, by cell phone.
Clyde daydreams about a reunion with his sisters, but Deb doesn’t answer her phone and Angie pretty much tells him to get lost. He doesn’t even try to call sister Jen. (The reader will find out more about the family through the novel’s flashbacks.)
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Strangely enough, Clyde’s phone rings. It’s Jen, and she’s whispering that she wants Clyde to come get her in a hurry before “he” kills her. She makes Clyde promise. However, the phone goes dead before Clyde can find out where Jen is.
The phone rings again. It’s Deb’s husband Nick who is calling to tell Clyde not to call his wife anymore. While he’s on the phone, Clyde asks about Jen. He finds out that Nick saw her in Clifton and that she’s involved with “lowlife friends.”
So instead of going to the Yukon, Clyde heads out for Clifton. Along the way he stops off I-70 and visits a bar where he quizzes the bartender, Allie, about Jen Barr. That’s how he finds out about a man named Spike and his brother, Mr. Lance Alvis, a drug kingpin. That’s who Jen was with the last time Allie saw her.
Now Allie’s life is in jeopardy because others saw her talking to Clyde. So, Clyde feels responsible and he takes Allie with him.
The search is on to find Jen, and their travels take Clyde and Allie to Rifle, Meeker, Craig and Steamboat Springs, among other Colorado towns.
Rescuing Jen means facing some ruthless characters, but Clyde has a history in dealing with bad guys. This is a fast-paced novel with plenty of action, some of it violent. Woven into the story are the past lives of Clyde and Allie.
If you like thrillers, you’re guaranteed to enjoy this book.
Erik Storey lives in Grand Junction.
The book, published by Scribner (an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.), costs $26 in hardcover. It is also a brand new book at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.
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