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The Guide

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The best-selling author of The River returns with a heart-racing thriller about a young man who, escaping his own grief, is hired by an elite fishing lodge in Colorado, where amid the natural beauty of sun-drenched streams and forests he uncovers a plot of shocking menace. Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the pla The best-selling author of The River returns with a heart-racing thriller about a young man who, escaping his own grief, is hired by an elite fishing lodge in Colorado, where amid the natural beauty of sun-drenched streams and forests he uncovers a plot of shocking menace. Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the planet, is known by locals as Billionaire's Mile and is locked behind a heavy gate. Sandwiched between barbed wire and a meadow with a sign that reads Don't Get Shot! the resort boasts boutique fishing at its finest. Safe from viruses that have plagued America for years, Kingfisher offers a respite for wealthy clients. Now it also promises a second chance for Jack, a return to normalcy after a young life filled with loss. When he is assigned to guide a well-known singer, his only job is to rig her line, carry her gear, and steer her to the best trout he can find. But then a human scream pierces the night, and Jack soon realizes that this idyllic fishing lodge may be merely a cover for a far more sinister operation. A novel as gripping as it is lyrical, as frightening as it is moving, The Guide is another masterpiece from Peter Heller.


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The best-selling author of The River returns with a heart-racing thriller about a young man who, escaping his own grief, is hired by an elite fishing lodge in Colorado, where amid the natural beauty of sun-drenched streams and forests he uncovers a plot of shocking menace. Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the pla The best-selling author of The River returns with a heart-racing thriller about a young man who, escaping his own grief, is hired by an elite fishing lodge in Colorado, where amid the natural beauty of sun-drenched streams and forests he uncovers a plot of shocking menace. Kingfisher Lodge, nestled in a canyon on a mile and a half of the most pristine river water on the planet, is known by locals as Billionaire's Mile and is locked behind a heavy gate. Sandwiched between barbed wire and a meadow with a sign that reads Don't Get Shot! the resort boasts boutique fishing at its finest. Safe from viruses that have plagued America for years, Kingfisher offers a respite for wealthy clients. Now it also promises a second chance for Jack, a return to normalcy after a young life filled with loss. When he is assigned to guide a well-known singer, his only job is to rig her line, carry her gear, and steer her to the best trout he can find. But then a human scream pierces the night, and Jack soon realizes that this idyllic fishing lodge may be merely a cover for a far more sinister operation. A novel as gripping as it is lyrical, as frightening as it is moving, The Guide is another masterpiece from Peter Heller.

30 review for The Guide

  1. 4 out of 5

    JanB

    4.5 stars Jack, still reeling from the events that happened a few years prior, lands a job at an exclusive resort in Colorado as a fly-fishing guide. Being on the river and surrounded by nature brings peace and contentment to Jack, when nothing else will. I love Jack as a character. He’s a reflective young man who is well-educated, a reader, and lover of nature. If you’ve read The River, then you will remember him, but this book also works as a standalone. The setting is in the not-too-distant fu 4.5 stars Jack, still reeling from the events that happened a few years prior, lands a job at an exclusive resort in Colorado as a fly-fishing guide. Being on the river and surrounded by nature brings peace and contentment to Jack, when nothing else will. I love Jack as a character. He’s a reflective young man who is well-educated, a reader, and lover of nature. If you’ve read The River, then you will remember him, but this book also works as a standalone. The setting is in the not-too-distant future when the coronavirus variants are still with us. The Kingfisher Resort caters to the wealthy, offering them a safe vacation spot in the great outdoors. Jack is assigned to be the guide for Allison, a famous singer. They hit it off immediately, and their easy friendship was one of my favorite things in the novel. Heller’s writing is a standout. I often don’t like descriptive writing in my books, but Heller writes thoughtfully and the descriptions flow beautifully as part of the narrative without pulling me out of the story, or worse, boring me. His writing works particularly well for me on audio. Jack and Allison spend their days leisurely fishing and enjoying one another’s company, but it soon becomes clear something is not right at the Lodge. Is the barbed wire surrounding the property, along with other troubling signs, designed to keep people out, or keep people in? Jack decides to investigate and what he and Allison discover puts this solidly in the thriller category. Avid Heller fans have mixed feelings about this turn of events but I loved the thriller aspects of the story, and couldn’t flip the pages fast enough to see how it would end. • I received a digital copy for review from Edelweiss. All opinions are my own. • I supplemented the book with audio, wonderfully narrated by Mark Deakins, who has narrated all of Heller’s books. Highly recommended!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Holly B

    3.5 STARS / Library loan Sept. 2021 Jack is back from The River (Heller's previous novel) and he has just started a new job at Kingfisher Lodge, known as "Billionare's Mile". He is a personal fishing guide for celebrities and high profile clients. It is an exclusive resort. He has some survivor's guilt and some paranoia from what happened to his close friend, Wynn. Strange occurances start happening around the resort. You get the feeling they are hiding something. One of the neighbors is "a batshi 3.5 STARS / Library loan Sept. 2021 Jack is back from The River (Heller's previous novel) and he has just started a new job at Kingfisher Lodge, known as "Billionare's Mile". He is a personal fishing guide for celebrities and high profile clients. It is an exclusive resort. He has some survivor's guilt and some paranoia from what happened to his close friend, Wynn. Strange occurances start happening around the resort. You get the feeling they are hiding something. One of the neighbors is "a batshit crazy old coot". The resort is locked behind heavy gates with codes, barbed wire, hidden cameras, Don't Get Shot signs, owls screaming and it gets even weirder.... I enjoyed this one more than The River. Heller fans will still get his descriptive writing as well as some mind-numbing fishing accounts. I really felt the wilderness vibes, sense of danger, and was flipping pages for the last 15%. The reveal was action-packed with some very tense moments, but oh so bizarre! I was honestly taken aback. The whole lock down theme was woven into the story, but still..... that ending? Very fishy

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Putnam

    This a good read and I recommend it. I gave it four stars instead of five. Heller is one of my go-to authors. I preorder all of his books. (The Painter is a fantastic read). Loved his last one The River, solid five stars. The story about two young men on a river trip canoeing in a very remote area. The conflicts that occur are real and plausible. The River is a real tear-jerker. The Guide is a sequel to The River with the same character who is now carrying the emotional baggage over what occurred This a good read and I recommend it. I gave it four stars instead of five. Heller is one of my go-to authors. I preorder all of his books. (The Painter is a fantastic read). Loved his last one The River, solid five stars. The story about two young men on a river trip canoeing in a very remote area. The conflicts that occur are real and plausible. The River is a real tear-jerker. The Guide is a sequel to The River with the same character who is now carrying the emotional baggage over what occurred in The River (don’t want to put a spoiler in here). Heller is a master at his craft, a true wordsmith. His voice carries the story and adds great depth to the story. The Guide starts out with a similar type of entry, a solid literary story, with the main character out in nature, who meets a woman he guides in fly fishing. The description, the romantic interplay is wonderful. Had Heller kept on this track throughout the book this one would’ve been a solid five stars as well. I classify most books in two categories, Meat and Potatoes, which is literary with such a skill level that the story is rarely needed. And Chocolate and popcorn, pure entertainment, a beach read that travels at great speed without a need for deep cerebral engagement. The Guide is pure Meat and Potatoes until the end then all of a sudden it shifts to Chocolate and Popcorn. It was jarring. Heller didn’t need it. He could’ve used a more plausible conflict ending with those staying at the fishing lodge. I do recommend this book and I will continue preorder his next book. David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    Heller does wilderness best but he may lose readers who are seeking a diversion from the past year and a half as it starts with a smack of a reminder of a virus, from India, morphing as it has but not labelled as what it is. Jack is a new guide at Kingfisher Lodge aka Billionaire’s Mile. But something wonky is going on. Some guests are coming back from fishing with bandaids on their hands and zoned out. Vacant looks. Where the heller are their fish? Yes, there were some white knuckle Heller momen Heller does wilderness best but he may lose readers who are seeking a diversion from the past year and a half as it starts with a smack of a reminder of a virus, from India, morphing as it has but not labelled as what it is. Jack is a new guide at Kingfisher Lodge aka Billionaire’s Mile. But something wonky is going on. Some guests are coming back from fishing with bandaids on their hands and zoned out. Vacant looks. Where the heller are their fish? Yes, there were some white knuckle Heller moments which gained traction in the latter part of the story. But, alas, for me this wasn’t his usual stellar performance. Maybe it’s a case of it’s Me, not You. It was much slower paced one and took over 150 pages before it finally picked up. This is a sequel to my favourite by him, The River but definitely a stand alone. He will still remain a go to author for some action in the wild. 3.5⭐️

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A fishing lodge for the wealthy, set in Colorado. Beautiful country. I spent many summers fishing, though not much fly fishing, so I was curious how the author would incorporate a book about fishing, and an adventure story. It's a fast read, there is much dialogue, but these short conversations also serve to ratchet up the suspense. Two interesting leading characters, one a kick ass woman, the other a battle scarred fishing guide. That there is more to this lodge than just fishing, soon becomes a A fishing lodge for the wealthy, set in Colorado. Beautiful country. I spent many summers fishing, though not much fly fishing, so I was curious how the author would incorporate a book about fishing, and an adventure story. It's a fast read, there is much dialogue, but these short conversations also serve to ratchet up the suspense. Two interesting leading characters, one a kick ass woman, the other a battle scarred fishing guide. That there is more to this lodge than just fishing, soon becomes apparent. At one point I thought I knew what was going on but it was even more horrific than my original thought. No graphic blood or anything like that, just greed and heartlessness from those in a position to exploit the current Covid situation. In any crisis there are those who will do anything for money and power, and those who with the requisite money, will take advantage. No matter how distasteful, no matter the people they hurt. Heller can sure put together a both timely and adventuresome story. The ending though is beautifully written and just about perfect.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cheri

    This story begins with Jack, who is just settling into a cabin in a canyon near a river in Colorado, glad for the diversion this new job offers. If you’ve read Heller’s The River you will remember Jack, but it isn’t necessary to have read that to enjoy this. The shadows cast by the pines hovering overhead cooling this spot, and the nearby creek offering the lulling sound of rushing waters. Jack, who is still struggling with the many losses in his life, has come here in the hopes of losing himsel This story begins with Jack, who is just settling into a cabin in a canyon near a river in Colorado, glad for the diversion this new job offers. If you’ve read Heller’s The River you will remember Jack, but it isn’t necessary to have read that to enjoy this. The shadows cast by the pines hovering overhead cooling this spot, and the nearby creek offering the lulling sound of rushing waters. Jack, who is still struggling with the many losses in his life, has come here in the hopes of losing himself in something other than those memories. He’s been hired by the Kingfisher Lodge, a lodge that caters to the wealthier members of society, and boasts of having rivers that remain unspoiled by pollution. Catering to wealthy clients, it offers certain perks to their very select, wealthy, clients looking to do whatever they can to maintain and retain the healthiest life they can. Jack’s client is Alison, an attractive, personable, popular singer, who is already fairly accomplished at fishing. By the time she arrives, he’s had time to familiarize himself with the area, and there isn’t much to his job except to carry her gear, and guide her to the best spots to fish. The only place he knows to avoid beyond the property of the lodge has posted warning signs, to ignore it one risks the penalty of being shot. Alison is a pretty independent woman, and is not used to being told what she can and can’t do, and while the lodge prefers their clients remain on their property, there aren’t measures to prevent them from going into town, but let’s just say that they would strongly prefer that they refrain from leaving the property. Jack is too new to know better, but he’s beginning to sense that things are not what they seem. Between the barbed wire surrounding the property, the signs warning ‘Don’t Get shot’ it’s clear to him that there is more to the Lodge’s neighbor than meets the eye. What is going on behind the neighbor’s walls, he doesn’t know, but he is sure it’s not good, and is determined to find out. Set three years in the future, this story is engrossing from the start, with a tension that builds slowly, soothing us with moments of the beauty of Nature. The pace of this story is perfection, the prose lyrical, his story one you won’t want to put down until you’ve reached the last page. Pub Date: 24 Aug 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Random House / Knopf

  7. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    2.5 stars: I am a huge fan of Peter Heller. He can write a mesmerizing thriller that sneaks up on you. It’s Heller’s style, his drifting narratives, his beautiful prose of the landscape. This one though, had a bit too much meandering at the beginning for me. What I did enjoy is Heller mixing in our current world-wide virus epidemic. In “The Guide”, the virus is older, over three years out. His descriptions of social distancing, and quarantining brings to mind our state of affairs. What Heller did 2.5 stars: I am a huge fan of Peter Heller. He can write a mesmerizing thriller that sneaks up on you. It’s Heller’s style, his drifting narratives, his beautiful prose of the landscape. This one though, had a bit too much meandering at the beginning for me. What I did enjoy is Heller mixing in our current world-wide virus epidemic. In “The Guide”, the virus is older, over three years out. His descriptions of social distancing, and quarantining brings to mind our state of affairs. What Heller did though, was show how social distancing/quarantining can be used for evil: culling the herd of humanity. In other words, separate those with knowledge and understanding to isolate those attempting to thwart an illegal enterprise. “The Guide” is a follow-up to “The River” featuring hapless Jack who didn’t fare well in the previous novel. But you don’t need to have read “The River” to follow “The Guide”. Heller did write is as a standalone, with a few references to Jack’s past. Jack takes on a job as a fishing guide at a high-end resort which offers fly-fishing expeditions as well as day spa luxuries. From the start, Jack gets a bad feeling about the place. There are too many rules, too many restrictions, too many questions. Jack is paired up with a woman, Alison, who he sort of recognizes but cannot place. She’s famous, and that’s all he knows. As Jack and Alison fly-fish, Alison relays her feelings about the Lodge being uncomfortable and a bit “suspect”. The two try to sleuth their way around, trying to ascertain why the bizarre rules are being enforced. Something is awry at this Lodge. As is my custom, I garnered my guesses about what was going on in this sketchy Lodge, one of which turned out to be correct. That didn’t bother me, that one of my ideas turned out to be correct. I think that I expected more from Heller. I was a bit let down. Only the last third of the novel began to be a page-turner. Half way through I almost ran out of interest, continuing to read because it was Heller and I had hopes. It was good, but not in the same degree as his last novels.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    Jack from THE RIVER is back, he has signed up to be a fishing guide for the rich folk at an elite fishing lodge in a remote canyon. He is assigned as a guide to a famous singer.. There is something very evil going on by the owners and even the local law enforcement at this claustrophobic lodge.. and Jack can’t help but get to the bottom of it after he comes across some evidence. This moved a bit slow for me at first but after 60% it flew by and got exciting. I like this author and there are still a Jack from THE RIVER is back, he has signed up to be a fishing guide for the rich folk at an elite fishing lodge in a remote canyon. He is assigned as a guide to a famous singer.. There is something very evil going on by the owners and even the local law enforcement at this claustrophobic lodge.. and Jack can’t help but get to the bottom of it after he comes across some evidence. This moved a bit slow for me at first but after 60% it flew by and got exciting. I like this author and there are still a couple more books of his I plan on reading.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Reading the The Guide was a superb treat! I love the generosity of Heller's writing - rich characters, a poetic respect for wilderness and space for reflection. And driven by an urgent underlying mystery. Very gratifying. Reading the The Guide was a superb treat! I love the generosity of Heller's writing - rich characters, a poetic respect for wilderness and space for reflection. And driven by an urgent underlying mystery. Very gratifying.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    *3.5 stars rounded up. Jack is back! I was pleasantly surprised to find that this new book by Heller is a sequel to The River. It can definitely be read as a standalone but the experience will be richer if you read them in order, imho. Three years have passed since the canoe trip in Canada where tragedy struck and Jack still suffers from PTSD and his grief. He's been helping his father on their ranch in Colorado but has now decided to take a job as a personal fishing guide at the fancy Kingfisher *3.5 stars rounded up. Jack is back! I was pleasantly surprised to find that this new book by Heller is a sequel to The River. It can definitely be read as a standalone but the experience will be richer if you read them in order, imho. Three years have passed since the canoe trip in Canada where tragedy struck and Jack still suffers from PTSD and his grief. He's been helping his father on their ranch in Colorado but has now decided to take a job as a personal fishing guide at the fancy Kingfisher Lodge near Crested Butte. This area is known as 'Billionaire's Mile' with some of the clearest water and best fishing on earth. Right from the first day, something feels off to Jack but he keeps asking himself, 'What could be better?' After all, he gets to fish every day with a beautiful and talented woman, a singer they call Allison K. On their very first day of fishing however, they are shot at by the 'crazy old coot' next door when they get too close to his property which they've been warned he will defend with deadly force. But during that episode, Jack spots something strange and is determined to figure out what is really going on here. This is a slow-burner of a thriller with a growing sense of menace as the story progresses. The tension contrasts dramatically with the peaceful natural setting that Heller describes so well. (Don't you love the cover art for this book?) Some might dismiss Jack as inconsequential because he's 'just a cowboy' and thought to be 'broken' by the tragedies in his life. But he is intelligent, well educated and well read and has great strength of character that comes from his good upbringing. One thing we know for sure about Jack is he'll always fight for what's right. Hang in there for some excellent action scenes as the story reaches its explosive conclusion. The epilogue has a scene that comes straight from the heart, which had me a bit teary eyed. I was so upset to be declined for an arc of this new thriller from one of my favorite authors so I was thrilled to find it on the new bookshelf of our local library just a few days later. So there, pfft, to the marketing team at Alfred A Knopf!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelly (and the Book Boar)

    Per usual I did not read the blurb before requesting this book from the library. Despite having a not so stellar reaction to The River I knew I wanted to give this author another chance. What I didn’t realize was that second chance was going to come via a new story starring one of the characters featured in The River. Another thing that should be known is this book takes place three years after a pandemic has ravaged the world. Those who have struggled during Covid might find this hits a little t Per usual I did not read the blurb before requesting this book from the library. Despite having a not so stellar reaction to The River I knew I wanted to give this author another chance. What I didn’t realize was that second chance was going to come via a new story starring one of the characters featured in The River. Another thing that should be known is this book takes place three years after a pandemic has ravaged the world. Those who have struggled during Covid might find this hits a little too close to home with the talk of variant strains of the virus that manage to inflict even the vaccinated. But back to the book. I’m so glad I decided to give Heller another go. Despite featuring a main character from a story I did not particularly enjoy and despite containing a lot of the same fly fishing content I complained about before, Heller seems to have found his rhythm here and all the fishing talk made perfect sense as Jack was hired for the summer a tour guide by trade. The pacing was better, the “whole lotta nothing” I bellyached about before either didn’t exist or had just enough plot progression to make it intentional. 4.5 Stars for this one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    CoachJim

    In the previous book by Peter Heller, The River, Jack and a college friend Wynn take a canoe trip in far northern Canada. The trip ends tragically and now Jack is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress. In this book Jack takes a job as a fishing guide at a luxury lodge in Colorado in an attempt to recover his equilibrium. The character of Jack is developed in The River, but it is not necessary to read that book first, although you would miss the better of these two books. He describes the events th In the previous book by Peter Heller, The River, Jack and a college friend Wynn take a canoe trip in far northern Canada. The trip ends tragically and now Jack is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress. In this book Jack takes a job as a fishing guide at a luxury lodge in Colorado in an attempt to recover his equilibrium. The character of Jack is developed in The River, but it is not necessary to read that book first, although you would miss the better of these two books. He describes the events that trouble him in this book. Also before long he leaves his troubles behind and becomes the fearless sleuth trying to solve the mysteries of the lodge. This book is a very gothic like novel with its remote location and sinister setting. You become aware of the foreboding atmosphere right from the beginning. The coronavirus becomes a major, menacing character of the story, adding to the sinisterness. In this book there are also some examples of the lyrical writing the author showed in the previous book. The fly-fishing described here is a metaphor for the story. Fly-fishing, according to Jack, requires stealth to solve the mystery of the river and the trout. He uses these same skills to pursue answers to the mysteries going on at the lodge. The story goes some places that I don’t like to go: torture and the abuse of children. These scenes happen mostly off screen so it is not in your face, but it becomes a big part of the story. There is a “shoot-em-up” ending where our gunslinging hero takes on a gang of armed bad guys and, of course, he wins. I was disappointed in this book. I raved about The River and was looking forward to reading this one. I pre-ordered a copy and started reading the day after it was released. I perhaps should have waited for some reviews first. It is too late for my next pre-order. I have ordered a copy of The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles, the author of A Gentleman in Moscow, another book I raved about. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice and shame on me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Anna Avian

    Overblown story, flat dialogue and implausible plot elements.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    The latest from Peter Heller, The Guide is the story of a man running from grief – only to find his way into something much worse. Kingfisher Lodge, also known as “Billionaire’s Mile” to locals, sits in the heart of Colorado and encompasses some of the most pristine river around. Offering guided fishing, it’s where Jack finds himself employed as a guide, following a tragedy he’d rather let himself forget. The idyllic surroundings can’t keep him from noticing that something just isn’t right, though The latest from Peter Heller, The Guide is the story of a man running from grief – only to find his way into something much worse. Kingfisher Lodge, also known as “Billionaire’s Mile” to locals, sits in the heart of Colorado and encompasses some of the most pristine river around. Offering guided fishing, it’s where Jack finds himself employed as a guide, following a tragedy he’d rather let himself forget. The idyllic surroundings can’t keep him from noticing that something just isn’t right, though – and the heavy gates and fences are starting to look less like measures to keep the public from private land, and more like they are keeping something in. What a stunning book. Jack may be the protagonist, but the main character is Colorado itself. Peter Heller’s stunning descriptions brought it to life around me – when I paused in my reading, I found myself taking a moment to come back, it was so vivid. It’s not overly flowery language, but precise and evocative; it made it so easy to sink into the story. Speaking of the story, that’s just as interesting and precise as the surroundings; and where they’re beautiful, what’s going on in them is anything but. The world Peter Heller describes is one not too removed from our own; ever-mutating coronaviruses have circulated for over three years, leaving tourism (and stability) mostly to the rich. There are hints of more, but it’s relatively subtle; some species mentioned as being almost extinct, nods to a world where inequality has surpassed our own. While this is a relatively short novel, there’s a lot going on in these pages. Jack is a surprising character, with the courage and confidence of a much older man. He’s knowledgeable about much more than just fishing and ranch life – he’s well read, insightful and follows his convictions up with action. He’s a protagonist that’s easy to root for, and who won’t let an invested reader down. The Guide is an excellent book, one to sink into and enjoy in one sitting, if you can. Readers will be transported, and find themselves just as wrapped in the mystery as Jack himself. Thank you to the publisher and mysteryandsuspense.com for a review copy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    J.K. Grice

    THE GUIDE is Peter Heller's fast paced new literary thriller and it's a winner from beginning to end! I really like how he further explored the character of Jack that we met in THE RIVER. Heller really let this 26 year old fisherman/rancher from Colorado struggle and even blossom as this wonderful story progresses. Jack takes a job as a fishing guide at the elite Kingfisher Lodge, where only the super wealthy come to fish trout for a $20,000 a week price tag. He is assigned to a client referred THE GUIDE is Peter Heller's fast paced new literary thriller and it's a winner from beginning to end! I really like how he further explored the character of Jack that we met in THE RIVER. Heller really let this 26 year old fisherman/rancher from Colorado struggle and even blossom as this wonderful story progresses. Jack takes a job as a fishing guide at the elite Kingfisher Lodge, where only the super wealthy come to fish trout for a $20,000 a week price tag. He is assigned to a client referred to as Alison K, because she is one of the many celebrities that commonly patronize Kingfisher, and they often like to keep a low profile. Jack thinks Alison might be a famous singer, but he really doesn't know her music or anything about her. Together, they form a bond rooted in shared passions for fishing and the natural world. Of course, Jack and Alison begin to realize that nothing at Kingfisher Lodge is as peaceful or as "good" as the proprietor, Kurt Jensen, wants his guests and staff to believe. So begins a deceiving and suspenseful tale that is equally brimming with beautiful prose and poetic writing from Heller. As a side note, I thought it was fun that Jack was a graduate from Dartmouth, which was also the alma mater of the Maclean brothers from A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT. Perhaps a nice little nod there from the author? If you enjoyed THE RIVER, this book is a must read. Well, I say that about most of Peter Heller's books... JACK: "The thing about fishing: it washed everything away but water and stone and wind. And bird cry. And blowdown. And a spiderweb's gleamings in the exposed roots of a cut bank. And in a tailwater pool: the spreading rings of rising trout, dapping silently like a slow rain. His heart rose to these things like a hungry fish and he could forget himself. It was why, after his mother died, he disappeared into the creeks. The only place aside from the books he could find a minute of solace."

  16. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

    Have you ever wondered how writers are going to tackle our current pandemic and the changes it has brought into our lives? Heller is the first author I have read who has tackled this obstacle and used it to the advantage of his plot, and I was impressed on how seamlessly he has woven it into the narrative of his latest book, THE GUIDE. If you have read THE RIVER, then you will have been introduced to Jack, who again stars as the main character in this story. It is now several years after the star Have you ever wondered how writers are going to tackle our current pandemic and the changes it has brought into our lives? Heller is the first author I have read who has tackled this obstacle and used it to the advantage of his plot, and I was impressed on how seamlessly he has woven it into the narrative of his latest book, THE GUIDE. If you have read THE RIVER, then you will have been introduced to Jack, who again stars as the main character in this story. It is now several years after the start of the pandemic, and America is still plagued by new strains of the virus that first forced the world into lockdown. As is usually the case, money can buy you a way out of many discomforts, and in this vein, Kingfisher lodge, a secluded fishing lodge in the wilds of Colorado, offers its wealthy clients a getaway from the restrictions imposed by the virus. Here, its clients can escape into nature and pretend that the outside world doesn’t exist. Jack, who is still trying to come to terms with his best friend’s tragic death, is hired by the lodge as a private fishing guide for a famous singer, who is booked in for a fortnight of fly-fishing on the banks of the picturesque river. “It doesn’t get much better than this”, Jack constantly reminds himself as he contemplates his new idyllic surroundings. But soon he finds that the lodge may not be the haven he has thought it to be. A barbed wire fence and killer dogs along its boundaries give the first hints that something sinister may be at play here. Jack is curious: what is the fence hiding? As he digs deeper, he soon finds that some people will stop at nothing to keep their secret protected. Heller is a master at creating an atmospheric setting and he did a fantastic job at bringing the river to life in front of my eyes. The descriptions of idyllic an pristine fishing spots made me yearn for the wilderness described here, but it wasn’t long until a sinister undertone crept into the story and created mounting tension. Just as Jack grows increasingly more suspicious of his surroundings, my hackles started rising at the mention of barbed wire fences, hidden cameras and fierce dogs that made this retreat more of a prison-camp than a holiday resort. As the evidence mounted that Jack’s curiosity would get him into danger, my heart rate also ramped up and kept me reading late into the night to find out the answers. I particularly loved Heller’s description of the wilderness setting and the fly fishing scenes, which evoked the landscape vividly in my mind and made the whole book play out movie-like in my head. Readers who enjoy atmospheric wilderness settings will appreciate Heller’s almost lyrical descriptions of nature and the way he sets the stage for the events to follow, even if the later half of the book is nightmare rather than relaxing fishing trip. Even though Jack’s character is from Heller’s earlier book, THE RIVER, the story easily stands on its own and gives enough background information to enjoy it on its own. All in all, THE GUIDE is a dark, sinister mystery relying strongly on an atmospheric wilderness setting that will stand out from the rest through Heller’s descriptive writing and trappings that will only become transparent as the story progresses. Set a few years into the future, Heller manages to incorporate the life changing effects of our current pandemic and use it to create a terrifying backdrop to his latest book. Lovers of isolated wilderness settings and a claustrophobic atmosphere should definitely pick this one up! Be prepared to be terrified. 3.5 stars Thank you to Edelweiss and Knopf for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review. *blog* *facebook* *instagram*

  17. 5 out of 5

    Peter Swift

    I have enjoyed every book Peter Heller has written, and even compared him to Cormac McCarthy to some friends. The richness and depth of his previous books made me hopeful that The Guide could exceed The River. Unfortunately, this book was far more “airport paperback” (I actually read it cover to cover on a 2 hr plane ride…) and pop-thriller than I was hoping. As a cohesive thriller with a backcountry setting, it works well. As a followup to The River, I feel like this cheapens the story of Jack a I have enjoyed every book Peter Heller has written, and even compared him to Cormac McCarthy to some friends. The richness and depth of his previous books made me hopeful that The Guide could exceed The River. Unfortunately, this book was far more “airport paperback” (I actually read it cover to cover on a 2 hr plane ride…) and pop-thriller than I was hoping. As a cohesive thriller with a backcountry setting, it works well. As a followup to The River, I feel like this cheapens the story of Jack and Wynne and takes the potentially powerful backstory and makes it a character development shortcut. I hadn’t realized how deeply I had been moved by the friendship and story in “The River” until I felt weirdly offended on Jack’s behalf that his story was used in this “sequel.” Read the book. It is enjoyable and scratches my flyfishing backcountry survivalist itch, but pretend they’re different characters and that it is a standalone and then go back and re-read the deeply more satisfying “The River.” I realize deadlines, contracts, publishers, etc have a lot of impact on what a finished work looks like, but this feels more “direct to streaming” than “theatrical release.”

  18. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Sorry to disappoint the Peter Heller faithful, but this book is - hmm, how to put this nicely - it is boring. My first introduction to Peter Heller was "The River" (with the same protagonist as "The Guide"), and I was immediately hooked on the lyrical prose, breathtaking descriptions, and the riveting plot. I thought I had found a new go-to author, but then I read two of his previous books and didn't really care for them, but as they were some of his earlier works, I chalked it up to that. Unfor Sorry to disappoint the Peter Heller faithful, but this book is - hmm, how to put this nicely - it is boring. My first introduction to Peter Heller was "The River" (with the same protagonist as "The Guide"), and I was immediately hooked on the lyrical prose, breathtaking descriptions, and the riveting plot. I thought I had found a new go-to author, but then I read two of his previous books and didn't really care for them, but as they were some of his earlier works, I chalked it up to that. Unfortunately, after this one, I think Heller and I may be at an impasse. "The Guide" sees the return of Jack, and this time he arrives three to four years into the post-Covid world at a remote wilderness lodge to work as a fishing guide for the wealthy elite who crave their privacy. From the start though, things don't seem to add up, and he wonders what happened to the guide before him. Things that go bump in the night, cameras in hidden places, and abandoned cell phones under beds, make him question all the more if the lodge is the tranquil place it advertises to be. He thinks he should leave, but he is also enamored with his assigned guest, a famous singer, Alison, so he stays and eventually tells Alison about his suspicions. The two of them start investigating on their own, regular Sherlock Holmes style, and they find themselves uncovering much more than they anticipated. First of all, there is A LOT of fly fishing in this book. I am not into fishing - I don't like to fish myself, watch other people fish, or even eat fish - so after the first overly-long fishing expedition, I was over it, and it just didn't seem to end. The fish were described in a manner that bordered on creepy, “It was sleek this brown, all muscle, and the flash of gold as it hit the air was better than any treasure, God." Um, okay, I just don't see it, but to each their own. I was still somewhat intrigued on what the sinister dealings were all about at the lodge, but about the time Jack and Alison encounter a girl running down the road in a hospital gown, I started getting an inkling, and it totally lost me. Maybe if I had read the USA Today's blurb, "An ever so subtly dystopian wilderness noir that speculates on the horrors of a post-pandemic society," I would have been better prepared, but a little late now. Nothing at all happens until about the halfway point of the book, and then the last half felt rushed, with a weird "shoot-em-up-cowboy" kind of ending where the good guys in white hats win over the evil establishment ... sigh. Not to mention, it also dabbles in animal cruelty and child abuse, two of my least favorite topics in books. Overall, Heller is a master at his nature scenery, and his descriptions of the Colorado mountains and streams are once again breathtaking, but the plot and dialogue are so flat that it all just felt stilted and underwhelming. 2 stars.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    A little over two years ago, I wrote this review about Peter Heller’s book The River: “Jack is rugged, pragmatic, and intuitive, with a heartbreaking back-story. Wynn, the “gentle giant”, is more emotionally driven, preferring to believe the best of the world and the people who inhabit it.” Wynn, the idealist, dies. Jack, the pragmatist, lives. And I never was able to get the heart-pounding story of what happened to them on the river out of my mind. So when I heard that Peter Heller was writing a A little over two years ago, I wrote this review about Peter Heller’s book The River: “Jack is rugged, pragmatic, and intuitive, with a heartbreaking back-story. Wynn, the “gentle giant”, is more emotionally driven, preferring to believe the best of the world and the people who inhabit it.” Wynn, the idealist, dies. Jack, the pragmatist, lives. And I never was able to get the heart-pounding story of what happened to them on the river out of my mind. So when I heard that Peter Heller was writing a sequel-of-sorts, I knew I had to be an early reader. It helps to have read The River before diving into The Guide, but it is not essential. Here we meet a slightly older and more somber Jack, who has become a seasonal fishing guide at the luxe Kingfisher Lodge, which caters to celebrities who can afford to spend a fortune to fish anonymously. Like in Dog Stars, another of Heller’s gems, the book takes place in the future where COVID-Redux is creating fear and uncertainty. Jack is assigned to Alison K, a well-known singer. It doesn’t take long before he, and his famous client, recognize that something is not right at the Lodge. In fact, the happenings take a downright sinister turn. Without delving deeper into the plot, I will say that this is the most cinematic of Heller’s novels. It ultimately requires a suspension of belief in its depiction of Jack as a futuristic yet old-fashioned hero, but I could absolutely see scenes being played out in my head. Whether that’s good or bad will be for the reader to decide. It is a satisfying, page-turning read that leverages the class distinctions that divide us, and it is filled with lush and lyrical descriptions about the river country that transport the reader right to the scene. And what other writer would have the confidence to intertwine a thriller with the exquisite poetry of eighth-century poet Li Xue (and actually pull it off). Packed with action, infused with grace, The Guide rates a 4.5 from me. Thank you to the publisher, Alfred A. Knopf, for enabling me to be an early reader in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hutchinson

    When Peter Heller writes a new novel, be assured that I will walk over hot coals or broken glass to purchase a copy. The Guide re-introduces us to Jack, who we met in Heller’s stellar novel, The River. Jack, along with a celebrity-singer client, Alison, realizes quickly that this beautiful and elite fishing lodge is not all it seems. Jack, who is still grieving over the loss of two loved ones, is hired by the exclusive club to work as a fishing guide, but he figures out quickly that his life, al When Peter Heller writes a new novel, be assured that I will walk over hot coals or broken glass to purchase a copy. The Guide re-introduces us to Jack, who we met in Heller’s stellar novel, The River. Jack, along with a celebrity-singer client, Alison, realizes quickly that this beautiful and elite fishing lodge is not all it seems. Jack, who is still grieving over the loss of two loved ones, is hired by the exclusive club to work as a fishing guide, but he figures out quickly that his life, along with Alison’s, is in danger. Bonus points for the heroine Alison, who gives as good as she gets. In Heller style, he writes so beautifully with a reasonable sum of words used to weave incredible stories. It’s a beautiful thing to find a writer who can do a lot with a little, and this book is terrific. When The Guide is published in August, rush out and buy this one. Another great book from one of America’s best authors.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tanja Berg

    Jack is engaged as a fishing guide at a luxury lodge. His predecessor left suddenly and there are signs that all is not as it should. Most of the super rich clients don’t even fish. He teams up with Allison, who does, to find out what’s real going on. This book was without any resonance for me. I did not like Jack, nor sympathize with his emotional damage. The plotting is okay, but there was a lot of repetition and too little forward tension. It was mind numbingly boring, from start to finish.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kari Ann Sweeney

    (PUB DATE 8.24) Thank you to @knopf for sending me an early copy of THE GUIDE by Peter Heller. I just love Heller. He has this way of using minimal text that makes each word count. I love how he can create such vivid, atmospheric scenery without it being superfluous. As soon as it arrived I jumped right in. I tried to take my time with it, but it was so well paced that I couldn't help gobbling it up. I loved the subtle tension. I loved how he addressed a post-pandemic world. I loved how he wrote (PUB DATE 8.24) Thank you to @knopf for sending me an early copy of THE GUIDE by Peter Heller. I just love Heller. He has this way of using minimal text that makes each word count. I love how he can create such vivid, atmospheric scenery without it being superfluous. As soon as it arrived I jumped right in. I tried to take my time with it, but it was so well paced that I couldn't help gobbling it up. I loved the subtle tension. I loved how he addressed a post-pandemic world. I loved how he wrote a female character with conviction. I loved the way he wrote about nature. ⁣I loved all of it. FWIW- I loved The River. This is not a sequel, but it does take place in the same space with a character whose story I was desperate to hear more of. SIDE NOTE: Heller’s style reminds me of Kent Haruf, who I also adore. Doesn’t Heller & Haruf sound like a great name for a band/wine/law firm?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alexander Peterhans

    Jack starts working at an enclosed fishing compound for the filthy rich, and he functions as a guide to Allison K, a famous singer/songwriter. They both start noticing curious incidents, hidden and not so hidden cameras, another compound to the south that supposedly is owned by a gun-toting crank, except that the surrounding fence is the same as the fishing compound's. This thriller is slow to get going, and when it finally does, it feels rushed. There's also a limit to suspension of disbelief, a Jack starts working at an enclosed fishing compound for the filthy rich, and he functions as a guide to Allison K, a famous singer/songwriter. They both start noticing curious incidents, hidden and not so hidden cameras, another compound to the south that supposedly is owned by a gun-toting crank, except that the surrounding fence is the same as the fishing compound's. This thriller is slow to get going, and when it finally does, it feels rushed. There's also a limit to suspension of disbelief, and when the two main characters keep seeing strange things but keep waiting to actually do something and go fishing instead, the limit is left far in the reader's back mirror. It doesn't help that Jack almost instantly falls in love with Allison, and here's where another limit to disbelief is torched, dipping into awkward romance writing - we get lines like "she turned her face back into the sun and her eyes lit and her laugh challenged the meadowlark".. calm down, Jack, you barely know her. When it finally becomes clear what is actually happening at the compound, it isn't properly explored, but quickly brought to an unconvincing end. The book feels a bit like a wasted opportunity, I'm afraid. (Thanks to Knopf for providing me with a review copy through Edelweiss)

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mary McBride

    Maybe this wasn't my favorite Peter Heller... but he still gets 5 stars. Just because I love his writing. His descriptions of nature are mesmerizing and reflect his love of the earth. Not sure there is another writer who masters the subtle building of tension as well as Heller. This is a bit of a mystery combined with all of the elements you have seen before. Don't miss. Due in August. Maybe this wasn't my favorite Peter Heller... but he still gets 5 stars. Just because I love his writing. His descriptions of nature are mesmerizing and reflect his love of the earth. Not sure there is another writer who masters the subtle building of tension as well as Heller. This is a bit of a mystery combined with all of the elements you have seen before. Don't miss. Due in August.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen R

    The first quarter of the book, I did not like. I skimmed. It was too descriptive and I felt I was reading a nature/fishing guide instead of a thriller. Glad I stuck with it, however. The further in I read, the more the story and its’ characters evolved and pulled me in. Something is not right at the fishing lodge and newly hired guide Jack knew it. Guests disappear and return looking haggard. The more Jack pokes around, the more danger he is in after discovering shady business practices. The pac The first quarter of the book, I did not like. I skimmed. It was too descriptive and I felt I was reading a nature/fishing guide instead of a thriller. Glad I stuck with it, however. The further in I read, the more the story and its’ characters evolved and pulled me in. Something is not right at the fishing lodge and newly hired guide Jack knew it. Guests disappear and return looking haggard. The more Jack pokes around, the more danger he is in after discovering shady business practices. The pace of this slow burn mystery ratchets up and becomes well-deserving of 4 stars. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Just when I think nothing can surprise me anymore, something does. This magnificent book is that something. The writing is exceptional and from the very first chapters I absorbed this unpleasant dread even though I was transported to the beauty and peacefulness of the Colorado mountains. It permeates the supposedly happy camaraderie of VIPs who want a private time out of the spotlight. But there is more than fly fishing going on here, much more and it will leave you with a rotten taste in your m Just when I think nothing can surprise me anymore, something does. This magnificent book is that something. The writing is exceptional and from the very first chapters I absorbed this unpleasant dread even though I was transported to the beauty and peacefulness of the Colorado mountains. It permeates the supposedly happy camaraderie of VIPs who want a private time out of the spotlight. But there is more than fly fishing going on here, much more and it will leave you with a rotten taste in your mouth and thankful for a guide such as Jack. I encourage you to read The River first if you have not done so. This will give you understandable background into the main character of Jack and his drive for redemption from his past. Highly recommended!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    Peter Heller is such a refined writer, but one with the ability to write a thriller containing literary references that are close to his heart. Jack, who we first met in The River, has never fully recovered from the losses he has sustained in his life, and despite a Dartmouth degree and love for literature above and beyond the ordinary, and still is living on his father's farm. Deciding to take a job as a fly fishing coach at a remote Colorado retreat for the uber rich, he finds himself partnere Peter Heller is such a refined writer, but one with the ability to write a thriller containing literary references that are close to his heart. Jack, who we first met in The River, has never fully recovered from the losses he has sustained in his life, and despite a Dartmouth degree and love for literature above and beyond the ordinary, and still is living on his father's farm. Deciding to take a job as a fly fishing coach at a remote Colorado retreat for the uber rich, he finds himself partnered with Alison K., a well known musician. In a recent interview, Heller admitted to his admiration for Alison Krauss, so .... (I don't know if Ms. Krauss loves fly fishing, but this character does and is proficient). Heller also said he admires Murakami and would read anything he's written, and Heller manages to work this into this book. There's a lot of grief in this book, a result of Heller's writing during the pandemic, incorporating that into the plot line, but also reflective of his own personal losses during this time. This is a real page turner that breaks the heart as well as stimulates the adrenaline.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sam

    This was a slow burn, short, Literary mystery set in a pandemic like time, much like what we are facing now. It held my interest through the whole book, but I’m definitely glad it wasn’t long 😂 there were some times where I wanted the story to get to the mystery. This story is quiet in a way, but has a lot to it at the same time. The protagonist deals with a lot of inner demons, while also trying to figure out the eeriness of the environment around him. If you like slow burn, character driven, Li This was a slow burn, short, Literary mystery set in a pandemic like time, much like what we are facing now. It held my interest through the whole book, but I’m definitely glad it wasn’t long 😂 there were some times where I wanted the story to get to the mystery. This story is quiet in a way, but has a lot to it at the same time. The protagonist deals with a lot of inner demons, while also trying to figure out the eeriness of the environment around him. If you like slow burn, character driven, Literary mysteries, this may be for you!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    Jack can catch fish, but he just can’t catch a break. He’s a true Renaissance man; he’s educated, a deep thinker, has many talents, loves nature, and a people person. He is still reeling from the death of his friend Wynn three years ago so, when he’s offered a job as a guide at Kingfisher Lodge, an exclusive fishing resort in Colorado, he thinks this will be the perfect thing to get himself back on track. He’s relishing the idea of just doing the things he loves, fly-fishing, reflecting, and enj Jack can catch fish, but he just can’t catch a break. He’s a true Renaissance man; he’s educated, a deep thinker, has many talents, loves nature, and a people person. He is still reeling from the death of his friend Wynn three years ago so, when he’s offered a job as a guide at Kingfisher Lodge, an exclusive fishing resort in Colorado, he thinks this will be the perfect thing to get himself back on track. He’s relishing the idea of just doing the things he loves, fly-fishing, reflecting, and enjoying nature in this post-pandemic tale. Almost immediately he begins to suspect something isn’t quite right with this place. He’s warned not to stray off lodge property while fishing with the famous singer he’s assigned to guide. The manager points out a cantankerous old neighbor who shoots on site, barbed wire, and vicious dogs that attack those that trespass. This is not the idyllic place it portrays itself to be. Jack and his client, Allison hit it off right away and both agree something fishy is going on at the resort and not just in the streams. Jack quickly realizes there are cameras everyone on the property and even finds one in his cabin. The cameras, plus a creepy manager and strange fellow guide, make Jake and Allison realizing they need to find a way out of there pronto. However, forces unknown are not going to let them go. The tension and suspense ratchet up quickly and I was on the edge until the end. This was a quick read for me as I couldn’t put the book down. Many thanks to NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Do yourself a favor and buy this book when it comes out on August 24th. I gave it four stars!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    Fishing fans will absolutely delight in Peter Heller’s THE GUIDE, but even those of us who don’t fish will fall in love with it. This is due to the phenomenal writing, the descriptions, the characters and the dark secret lurking in the story. The setting could hardly be more idyllic: Kingfisher Lodge, a retreat that caters to the richest among us. Actors, singers and politicians --- anybody who’s anybody who wants to escape without paparazzi and fans pestering them --- go to Kingfisher Lodge. The Fishing fans will absolutely delight in Peter Heller’s THE GUIDE, but even those of us who don’t fish will fall in love with it. This is due to the phenomenal writing, the descriptions, the characters and the dark secret lurking in the story. The setting could hardly be more idyllic: Kingfisher Lodge, a retreat that caters to the richest among us. Actors, singers and politicians --- anybody who’s anybody who wants to escape without paparazzi and fans pestering them --- go to Kingfisher Lodge. The cluster of buildings sits in the midst of meadows and forests, and on the beautiful waters of a river ideal for fishing. Each guest is assigned a guide to instruct him or her in fishing at whatever level they desire. What could be better? That’s Jack’s mantra, and it has always served him well. He’s arrived here now, needing time away to clear his head, and fishing does that for him. Kingfisher hired him when the last guide departed suddenly, so Jack will finish out the season. His client is Alison K (no last names here; guests prefer their anonymity), who is no novice when it comes to rods and poles and bait and lures. From the beginning, Jack can see that she gets into a rhythm, just like him. Fishing feeds her soul, like it does him. The first afternoon, Alison K gets a bite, fights the fish --- a big one with heart and stamina --- and ends up beyond the sign that proclaims “Keep Out! Private! Don’t Get Shot.” Kurt, the manager, warned Jack about that, but would a cranky neighbor shoot at someone just for an infraction as innocent as that? Apparently he would, as a bullet whizzes by Jack’s head almost immediately. Alison K turns, and he yells to run. Both of them are fuming. But Kurt says they can’t do anything about it. And, by the way, there’s some very mean dogs guarding the other boundary, so watch out. Within a day, Jack and his client have formed a quick bond, and they have many questions about what is going on at this billionaires’ getaway. Why don’t some of the other guests fish? It’s not a problem exactly, as Kingfisher Lodge has excellent spa and massage services. Maybe the rich and famous simply use it as a pleasant riverside resort. After all, it is surrounded by fencing and a locked gate, which should ensure great privacy. But Jack doesn’t think that’s the reason. Neither does Alison K. They keep fishing, but the odd happenings have pushed them to investigate and to flaunt the Lodge rules. Alison K herself is a bit of a rebel, so she invites Jack to dinner in the nearby town. Leaving the Lodge property does not make management happy. Not at all. Alison K is a paying guest who should not be hanging out with the hired help. For his part, Jack has felt on the wrong side of his boss since day one, and things have not improved since he and Alison K have been poking around. He feels that he is being watched. Then he begins to notice the cameras. And hears a scream in the night. Was it just an owl? One of Jack’s reasons for taking this job has to do with the death of an old friend. And his mother. Because fishing soothes him and provides solace, he felt this would be the perfect relief from his life on the family farm. Believing he failed his friend and his mother, Jack has something to prove. So whatever is going on at Kingfisher Lodge, he’ll die trying to find out. And stop it. What he discovers is a real shocker. THE GUIDE blew me away. Not only did it grab me from the first chapter, it never let go. Never. Jack and Alison K make an excellent team. Both have pasts that make them realize they can’t just pretend that the Lodge is all about fishing. Their futures depend on what they do now, in the present. This is thrilling action written without frills but with mesmerizing feeling. It’s a don’t-miss for certain. Reviewed by Kate Ayers

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