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Monday 28 November 2016

‘Nothing Short of Dying’ by Erik Storey

Published by Simon and Schuster,
25 August 2016.
ISBN 978-1-4711-4684-8

Clyde Barr is, and probably always will be, a troubled man. The legacy of a violent childhood embedded in his bones has pointed him in the direction of an even more violent future.  It is however a violence that is always directed towards helping the downtrodden underdogs of this world, rather than one that is aimed at gaining anything for himself. Clyde Barr is rather like a modern, gun slinging Robin Hood who manages to kill an impossible number of people – don’t even think of counting - whilst still retaining our sympathy. Clyde does not have a band of merry men, he is a loner.  But like Robin Hood he loves the great outdoors.  Clyde’s home territory is Colorado and the narrative is hugely enhanced by beautiful descriptions of mountains, forests and other open spaces that have obviously been written by a man who knows and loves what he is describing.

The story starts when Clyde receives a call for help from his sister, Jen.  She saved his life when they were children so he owes her big time.  Jen begs Clyde to come and rescue her, telling him that she will be dead in a week if he doesn’t. When Clyde promises to come and get her, he knows that Nothing Short of Death will stop him from fulfilling such a promise.

The problem for Clyde is that the call ends before Jen tells him any useful details like: where she is; who is holding her; and why they will kill her after she had helped somebody to “get inside”.

Clyde spends the remainder of the book solving these problems. He enlists the aid of a wide variety of characters, most of whom one wouldn’t want to go anywhere near, and many of whom end up dead.  One of them, a courageous barmaid called Allie Martin decides to join Clyde on his quest… She thinks she will be safer with him than running the gauntlet of her boss  - no lesser person than the local drug-cartel boss who is holding Jen.

To say that this book is fast-paced and action-packed is a gross understatement. But it has it has enough reflective passages about the territory, Clyde’s family and his past problems to maintain an acceptable balance overall. 

This is an outstanding debut novel from somebody who is a natural storyteller.  My guess is that Erik Storey is probably– and deservedly - destined to become a best-selling author. Jack Reacher fans will love it.  I certainly did.
Reviewer Angela Crowther

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. He is the author of two Clyde Barr novels, Nothing Short of Dying and The Uprising. He and his family live in Grand Junction, Colorado. 

Angela Crowther is a retired scientist.  She has published many scientific papers but, as yet, no crime fiction.  In her spare time Angela belongs to a Handbell Ringing group, goes country dancing and enjoys listening to music, particularly the operas of Verdi and Wagner.

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