Book Review | Nothing Short of Dying | Erik Storey

Clyde Barr just wants to disappear into the wilderness. After the last sixteen years, who can blame him - mercenary and hired gun on three different continents, prisoner on one - call him what you want, he's tired and needs to regain some sense of himself. He also doesn't really need the added complications of electronic communication like a mobile phone but, in this day and age, it seems to be a must-have.

Only problem is, the next call he receives is going to shatter his much sought-after solitude with a cry for help from his youngest sister who doesn’t even get a chance to let him know where she is!

In trying to figure out her whereabouts and who may have her, he finds himself teaming up with Allie, a bartender with her own reasons for running, who just might know the answer to that question. Together they begin the search! Travelling through wide open spaces and into the mountains looking for clues, they also find themselves fighting for their lives when they cross the paths of some ruthless drug dealers and are double-crossed by someone Clyde once called a friend!

As the bodies pile up and he and Allie grow closer, vignettes of a fractured family, abusive relationships and an obscure past begin to form the patchwork of history that is Clyde Barr.

This one had been glaring at me from my reading pile for some time and, not having read a “Jack Reacher” novel (to whom Clyde Barr has been compared), I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I picked it up anyway, thinking that I’d “expand my horizons” so to speak – and I’m so glad that I did because Erik Storey is a remarkable storyteller.

Not only does he give us non-stop action right the way through but in Clyde Barr, he introduces us to an extremely complex man, slowly peeling back the layers to reveal an honourable, albeit tough-as-nails hero. He’s rugged, a wanderer with a strong sense of justice, tough but soft when he needs to be and if there’s one thing he loves more than anything else, it’s his sisters – even if they’re not all on speaking terms with him. As a woman, I could just fall in love with Clyde - he's not afraid or ashamed to stand up for what's right, he keeps his word and will always defend the underdog!

There’s a lot to enjoy in this novel which provided me with a few hours of adventurous escapism such as getting to know our hero whilst exploring Erik’s lush setting of Colorado and the Appalachian Mountains that not only gives the reader a strong sense of place which is integral to the events unfolding around Clyde, but also shows that Erik knows it well.

Another big plus for me was that while there are a number of violent scenes (which is to be expected from the genre), Erik doesn’t expose the reader to too much guts and gore. And, once his characters have served their purpose, he has no qualms about expiring them along the way.

Clyde Barr is an appealing lead character and Erik Storey’s skill as a writer shines, making it hard to believe that this is a debut. He also strikes the right emotional balance so if you, like me, prefer your action thriller novels not to forsake depth, then don’t hesitate to get this one on your list so that you too can welcome knight errant, Clyde Barr, to the fold. 

With non-stop action right the way through and a skilfully crafted plot that picks up steadily, this is compulsive reading at its best from an author who is putting true adventure back into the action thriller genre. In saying that, I can confirm that I’m definitely a fan and that nothing short of dying will stop me from reading the next novel in the series!

I wish to thank Simon and Schuster Australia for providing me with a hard copy for review.

About the Author

Erik Storey is a former ranch hand, wilderness guide, dogsled musher, and hunter.

He spent his childhood summers growing up on his great-grandfather’s homestead or in a remote cabin in Colorado’s Flat Tops wilderness.

He has earned a number of sharpshooter and marksman qualifications.

Nothing Short of Dying is his first novel.

He and his family live in Grand Junction, Colorado.

About the Book

Sixteen years. That’s how long Clyde Barr has been away from Colorado’s thick forests, alpine deserts, and craggy peaks, running from a past filled with haunting memories. But now he’s back, having roamed across three continents as a hunter, adventurer, soldier of fortune, and most recently, unjustly imprisoned convict. And once again, his past is reaching out to claim him.

By the light of a flickering campfire, Clyde receives a frantic phone call from his sister Jen. No sooner has she pleaded with him to come rescue her than the line goes dead. Clyde doesn’t know how much time he has, or where Jen is located, or even who has her. All he knows is that nothing short of dying will stop him from saving her.

Joining Clyde in his against-all-odds quest is a young woman named Allie whose motivations for running this gauntlet are fascinatingly complex. As the duo races against the clock, it is Allie who gets Clyde to see what he has become and what he can still be.

Vivid with the hues and scents of Colorado’s backcountry, and thought-provoking in its exploration of how past, present, and future collide to test resolve, Nothing Short of Dying is, above all, a propulsive, action-driven race against the clock.

ISBN: 9781501124143 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date:  August 2016 
Extent: 320
RRP: AU$26.00


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