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Hunt, likewise, wants to know that his life, work and marriage after prison have brought him redemption. Saving Hunt, Drake feels as he circles the ex-con, may free them both. Parts of the book are somewhat obvious. But the meticulously calibrated prose, rushing narrative and sympathetic protagonists mark Waite as a rewarding, promising writer. There was a problem adding your email address. Please try again. Be the first to discover new talent! Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert.

Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. By clicking on "Submit" you agree that you have read and agree to the Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. Email Newsletter. Log In. Toggle navigation MENU. Email Address. Review Posted Online: Dec. Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. Email address:. Please provide an email address. Sadly, the book fails to be a compelling post modern crime story or a good hard boiled crime thriller.

View all 7 comments. Sep 25, Jason rated it it was ok. He sat in the near-dark, one finger running thoughtfully along the deckle edges of the pages, remembering how his dad used to love him an awful lot then less so. Or so it seemed. But you never know. Love worked that way. In another room in the city, the blond man ate his popcorn but it didn't fill. The hunger creeped up and tapped him on the shoulders, wondering politely when he was going to get his knife bag out.

The drug-runner ran some drugs, his hand on the pommel, guiding the horse along the He sat in the near-dark, one finger running thoughtfully along the deckle edges of the pages, remembering how his dad used to love him an awful lot then less so. The drug-runner ran some drugs, his hand on the pommel, guiding the horse along the trail.

He stopped and dismounted, his fingers on some very specific kind of flowers that they have here, remembering some very specific information about their biology, before sniffing the air cautiously. Like a bear. He was full of regrets. Not hungry at all. He thought of his dad. The blond man got his knife bag out. He smiled. It was still near-dark in the room, and the book read fast but flawed.

Twisted Trails

He didn't care. He was just trying to do what he was trying to do. And the world rolled on, the way worlds do. He wished he had some popcorn. Maybe that would satisfy. The drug-runner's drugs fell out all over the floor. They opened up a hunger in him, but not that other kind that drugs sometimes pretend to satisfy, but a different kind, about money, that drugs also don't fill. Hunger was like that. His dad went away when he was little. That opened up a hunger that the drugs couldn't fill. But neither could the drug money. Still, he was a good man, and he was full. Full of shame.

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The blond man smiled all the way, changing trains in the station, the hunger waiting patiently, not tapping his shoulders any more but occasionally looking at its watch, raising an eyebrow, meaningful-like. Then the blond man noticed he'd left the bag in that last train. It was so unlike him. The hunger looked pretty pissed now.

Someone was going to pay. This review is a bit snotty, maybe, or maybe just silly. The book was a bit silly, or maybe just slow. The action stuff moved, and once we get to it there's a clean crisp attention to the mayhem that is admirably achieved. There is also a lot of dad stuff, and Hemingway kept tapping me on the shoulders, at least until Cormac snorted with exasperation behind Hemingway, said he didn't know what the hell Hemingway was on about 'cause it was his stuff being all homaged and shit.

The two men stared daggers at each other, literal daggers. The reviewer again slipped into being an asshole, and decided enough was enough. The hunger wasn't filled. View all 6 comments. Feb 15, James Thane rated it liked it Shelves: crime-fiction. As a young man, Phil Hunt made a terrible mistake that sent him to prison and that has effectively dominated the rest of his life. For twenty years after being released, he has lived in Washington State. He's worked a variety of jobs but was fortunate enough to win the love of the proverbial good woman.

Now in their fifties, the couple is eking out an existence on a small horse farm and Hunt supplements their meager income with the occasional job that falls outside the letter of the law. As is al As a young man, Phil Hunt made a terrible mistake that sent him to prison and that has effectively dominated the rest of his life. As is almost always the case in a book like this, Hunt is hoping for one last score that will enable him to put his outlaw days behind him and allow him and his wife to live happily ever after, if not in great wealth, at least in some comfort.

But, as always happens in a case like this, the "last" job goes horribly wrong and Hunt finds himself on the run, chased by a deputy sheriff who is trying to appease the ghosts of his own past and a hired killer who is charged with extracting payback for the job that went wrong. This is a well-written book set in the majestic Northwest, and Waite captures the beauty of the setting as well as the thrill of the chase. The plot itself is hardly new, but the author puts his own spin on it and has produced a very enjoyable thriller.

View 2 comments. Oct 03, J. Grice rated it really liked it Shelves: mystery-thriller. Feb 25, Lou rated it really liked it Shelves: may-read , mystery-thriller. This story covers ground that's been covered so don't expect great surprises. The writing started off slow and i was bit hesitant from first 80 pages or so in finishing it, but it all picked up momentum halfway and leading to a showdown of sorts. The writing became more gripping and flowed better. Story is written in the similar vein of No Country For Old Me, involving drugs and things going wrong.

The story opens a view into a realistic world of drug mules. Jun 04, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: fiction. Powerful and engrossing this book reminded me so much of "No Country for Old Men" with its violence and relentless psycho killer. I'm not quite sure who the protagonist is in this one: Drake, the deputy or Hunt the drug smuggler. Hunt wouldn't be in the situation he was in if Drake hadn't stopped his drug delivery.

Hunt seems to be a decent guy who wants to do the right thing but just can't. Drake is living in the shame of his father, a crooked sheriff and trying to atone for his dad. Just a riv Powerful and engrossing this book reminded me so much of "No Country for Old Men" with its violence and relentless psycho killer. Just a riveting read-so much more than a thriller. I've read three of Waite's books and this might have been his first and is his best. There's a sequel to this story which I read first and even though I had read it first it didn't spoil anything in this book.

More people need to know about Urban Waite. Jan 04, Cynthia rated it really liked it Shelves: books-read-in I can't decide how to rate this. I might have to copy Mag and give it a 3. The law and the outlaw pit themselves against one another. Drake is the Seattle law man, Hunt is the appropriately named hunted drug runner. His dad was also a Sheriff but he combined that with drug smuggling and woun I can't decide how to rate this.

His dad was also a Sheriff but he combined that with drug smuggling and wound up in prison. The other is running towards a mystically secure utopia. The outdoor horsey setting and the casual killing reminds me of McCarthy. Aug 22, Debra marked it as to-read Recommended to Debra by: Gatorman. Shelves: sai-king-recommends. Stephen King recommended. August EW Summer Reading list. He says: "Phil Hunt is a decent guy who supplements his living by muling hard drugs in the Pacific Northwest. Bobby Drake is the deputy sheriff who's trying to hunt him down. The resulting chase is pure dynamite.

This is one of those books you start at one in the afternoon and put down, winded, after midnight. Feb 16, switterbug Betsey rated it it was amazing. A provocative thriller will fasten a reader to the proverbial edge of the seat, either by laying a trail of clues to "whodunit" or leading us on a mad and oscillating cat-and-mouse chase through the landscape of the novel.

In the case of Urban Waite's contemporary, reflective and rousing cat-and-mouse debut, I was glued to the pages of perilous pursuit and quickened by the torn and haunted rogue heroes--Deputy Bobby Drake, and ex-convict and owner of a struggling horse farm, Phil Hunt. There's th A provocative thriller will fasten a reader to the proverbial edge of the seat, either by laying a trail of clues to "whodunit" or leading us on a mad and oscillating cat-and-mouse chase through the landscape of the novel. There's the law Drake , the lawless Grady , and then there is that equivocal and tarnished outlaw, Hunt--the name brimming with metaphor--whose reckoning is tethered to Drake's by plaited doubts and dark obstacles reaching back to a coiled and inextricable past.

In short, they are each other's nemesis. The wives in this story are resolute and strong, providing a mirror for the reader to reflect on their moody tormented husbands. The northwest territory of Washington State becomes its own penetrating and terrifying, living character.

The Terror of Living

In the mountain wilderness passes between Washington and Canada, drug smuggling is a lot more challenging than it used to be, now that boundary crossing between Canada and the U. Bricks of cocaine dropped from planes in the blue-black night below the high treetops and picked up by horseback, as well as human "mules" carrying condoms full of heroin implanted by ingestion, are the methods used to foil the law. In the near-opening pages, newly married Deputy Drake, on his day off, sights Hunt's abandoned horse trailer on the logging roads of Silver Lake and suspects an imminent transaction.

He camps out and waits, haunted by memories, by the ghost of family history. Drake's father, a once formidable sheriff, is serving time in prison. He supplemented his earnings as a drug courier, as Hunt is doing now. Hunt's wife, Nora, is not too keen on her husband's extracurricular activities, but their love is a firm and unalloyed bedrock that never diminishes.

Hunt's curled past as a convict is something for the reader to discover, a piece of information that is teased out and explored over the course of the novel, magnifying the psychological heft of this better-than-genre story. Hunt's demons correlate Drake's, and propel them and the story. The plot mobilizes early on when Drake comes face to face with Hunt and Hunt's young rookie in the midst of collecting the goods. Phil is a skilled horseman who escapes, but the "kid" is apprehended and suffers a gruesome fate in jail.

The chase proceeds with a measured pace, hypnotic and bracing. The dead bodies pile up, thanks to the main supplier's lackey, Grady, a former chef and sociopathic killer on the trail of Hunt and Drake alike. Rounding out the cast are DEA agent and straight shooter, Driscoll, working with Drake; "the lawyer" nameless and drug deal maker; Hunt's long time friend, Eddie; Bobby Drake's perceptive wife, Sheri; and an array of cold-blooded, one-dimensional thugs.

Then there's the female mule, Thu, a Vietnamese women who lives in Seattle. The thugs and mule are necessary to the plot, but the theme is amply filled by the invisible relationship between Drake and Hunt. I was additionally impressed by the nuanced juxtaposition of Sheri and Nora, and how they counterpoint Drake and Hunt. Phil is used to Nora's capacity to know his essential nature.

Drake, a newlywed, still grapples with Sheri's tacit understanding of his confused motives. The counterpoint between the two marriages was lightly but substantively rendered, endowing the book with weighty subtext that accumulates as the story progresses. This was a testosterone-infused novel, and yet, in the final assessment, it is the women who impel their men. Waite may not have broken the mold in this somber thriller, but he deftly contributed his own achievement.

The spiritual struggle between good and bad is a conventional theme that the author probed with a fresh eye. There were a few scene contrivances to advance the plot, but they did not distract from this taut, intense story. The prose is stark and shadowy, lambent and sensuous, weaving in the geography of the northwest so ably that I heard the wind like a susurrus whisper--and sometimes a howl--through the trees, and I lurched through the snaking roads.

But I did relish at some of the turns of event that will inevitably be compared to McCarthy's work, and I suspect that Waite deliberately paid a nodding homage--as evidenced by the character although minor identified as "the kid" viz. Blood Meridian, but with a lower-case "k". Some readers may decry it as essentially formulaic, but that would be a limited view. What makes this novel stand out is the ethereal prose and the ever-strengthening bond between Hunt and Drake.

The events in this book are graphic, explicit and occasionally disturbing, but with a controlled restraint. There's also a choice twist on the Mexican standoff. For squeamish readers, this is a fair warning that the novel isn't for the faint of heart or for readers who abhor violence in literature. This was executed like a noir-western-opera-suspense-drama-slash-thriller fusion, with a harmonic equipoise of physical action and interior torment.

The story is a hybrid brew of nihilism and romanticism, summoning a cauldron of terror and stirring it with an ache and longing for tranquility. Hunt and Drake are two different people who will see they are very similar thanks to a connection from there past. Hunt is an ex convict who lives remotely with his wife doing the odd drug run to make ends meat.

Drake is a cop haunted by the shame of his dad who was a cop himself and is now in prison after shipping drugs. Hunt doesnt want to smuggle drugs any more but cant see anyway out. It will be a run that will almost take Hunt and his wife Nora's life. While taking drugs along nearby mountai Hunt and Drake are two different people who will see they are very similar thanks to a connection from there past. While taking drugs along nearby mountains along with a younger man Drake attempts to stop them while out on patrol.

The kid would be apprehended while Hunt gets away and after meeting a Vietnamese girl carrying drugs tries unsuccessfully to complete the run. This upsets the drug barons who try to have Hunt and Nora killed. All the while he has to avoid Drake and city cop Driscoll.

The Terror of Living by Urban Waite (, E-book) for sale online | eBay

This leads to alot of desperation, death and the realisiation from Drake that Hunt although doing wrong is an honest man. The connection with his father and what it reveals dramatic for Drake. The Terror of Living left me totally breathless, the pace of the book startling. The most dramatic thing for me was that Urban Waite did what i didnt think i could, have sympathy for a drug runner and showing him as a human who had regrets and hopes for the future.

In a way this book reminded me of American Rust with the two flawed but genuine characters. Warning this book is quite violent but if that doesnt bother you then you will be rewarded with what is a supurb read, beautifully narated and with enough spills and thrills to put most cop shows to shame. Feb 25, Jim Thomsen rated it really liked it. A remarkably smooth, self-assured debut, Urban Waite's literary thriller does a masterful job of keeping the action propelling forward while developing interesting characters, patiently plumbing themes of loss and redemption, and giving readers a sublime and deeply seated sense of place.

The prose in the Pacific Northwest tale of hot pursuit is wonderfully cool and controlled, giving readers the sense that they can settle back because they are in the hands of a strong storyteller. I could nitpic A remarkably smooth, self-assured debut, Urban Waite's literary thriller does a masterful job of keeping the action propelling forward while developing interesting characters, patiently plumbing themes of loss and redemption, and giving readers a sublime and deeply seated sense of place.

I could nitpick at a few things -- I wasn't particularly impressed with Waite's male-female interactions, and sometimes the dialogue steered away from how I feel that real people talk, and it was occasionally maddening, as a fellow Washington resident, to figure out just where the action was taking place -- but in the end, those things don't really detract from an absolute crackerjack piece of storytelling. Urban Waite does a first-rate job of stripping the story down to the bones in this bone-chilling exercise in terror.

His near-universal accolades from professional reviewers are well-deserved. Main players: Hunt—once killed a guy and has been helping put drugs on our streets for 20 years because a guy with a record finds it hard to get honest work yeah, right. Drake—cop whose father is in prison for doing exactly what Hunt is doing. Grady—garden variety psycho who likes cutting things up.

When a drug drop goes wrong, thanks to Drake, Grady is sent after Hunt. What ensues is a bloody chase that results in much mayhem. In fact, narratively speaking, Waite tends to be repetitive and overly poetic. She was pale, her eyes closed, the dark fall of her hair on the pillow seemingly the only living thing about her. Unfortunately, though, I found it impossible to care about any of these characters, either because of the shifting viewpoint, or perhaps because, with the exception of Drake, every one of them is a criminal.

Feb 27, Annet rated it really liked it Shelves: dark , crime , wilderness-books-can-usa , gritty. Great read. It's been said here by others, makes me think of Cormac McCarthy no country for old men , but also Castle Freeman go with me; all that I have , major favorites of mine. Great story, keeps you going continuously, beautiful style, especially the descriptions of the mountain area, rain, snow etc.

Loved it. I am a big fan of camping out in Canada, so I almost imagined being there much of the time. Understand this is a debut novel, I think this author is on his way to Great read. Understand this is a debut novel, I think this author is on his way to a great career. Looking forward to his next book. It wasn't. It was good enough to finish reading, sure, but it lacked something. I think it comes down to the fact that the writing just wasn't that good. Maybe it was all the commas. Yes, too many commas where there should not have been commas. It's weird that that bugged me. Also, I felt like I was reading the same sentence over and over again, " Where had it all gone wrong?

Mar 26, Jenny Orozco rated it really liked it. A drug deal gone bad has been written from here to there to everywhere. And that's what this book ostensibly is about? Instead of making a smooth delivery, the town sheriff hears the commotion you'll find out why he's nearby later in the novel foils the plan and takes one victim into custody.

What happens thereafter is that the gates of hell are swung open: the drug dealers have turned against A drug deal gone bad has been written from here to there to everywhere. What happens thereafter is that the gates of hell are swung open: the drug dealers have turned against their own man, Phil Hunt. But while a drug deal gone bad is the moving force behind it all, don't let that dissuade you literary-loving people from buying this one.

It reads like a dream. This gorgeously written suspense thriller is about desperation, about the pursuit of a little peace, about trying to carve out a place in the world for yourself and how sometimes you get lost on the way. It's about getting in over your head, and then having to run like hell to keep it from catching up with you. A little about the characters: "He'd gone through a door that only swung one way. They operate a small farm and raise several horses. Basically living hand to mouth, Hunt does a little on the side for extra income. He picks up the drugs and then shuttles them to their assigned destination.

He gets enough out of it to keep paying his mortgage, but never enough to quit. And because he's served time for a 2nd degree murder years before, finding decent work isn't an option. In his mind, he's doing what he has to, to survive. But it's more interesting than just that: Drake's father, the previous sheriff, was busted years afo for smuggling drugs at Silver Lake, and just like that, Drake's entire life changed.

He becomes a hardline man of the law, intent on integrity and honor. He makes it his personal mission to not be associated with the legacy of his corrupted father, and to sniff out the smuggling at its source. A hired hitman for the dealers, Fisher is more like the butcher and how appropriate, since he's also a cook.

Instead of killing efficiently with a gun, he prefers to slice and puncture and eviscerate with his cherished collection of knives. The drive to kill is ever present, "humming away like a little bird trying to take wing. But his thirst for the kill isn't so easily focused; he will indulge himself wherever and whenever he can.

This is the male triumvirate of characters that provides the bellowing locomotive that is the plot. The secondary characters include a namelss lawyer that coordinates the logistics for the deals; Eddie, friend and fellow drug-runner of Hunt; and the DEA agent, Driscoll, who's in charge of the federal investigation. Which brings us to the female characters, Nora and Sherie: Why would anyone want to marry a convicted murderer and live a life of unease and the potential for disaster at any given moment? That's what makes the character of Nora so fascinating: she s no simpering subordinate.

She owns up to choosing this fate and yet maintains some measure of morality and decency. In another writer's less skilled hands, this may not have worked. Sheri, Bobby's wife, is also an engaging character. Every step of the way, in every decision he makes, she is there challenging him, his perceptions, his judgments, his ideals.

She questions him relentlessly for his motivations and through her, we see Drake's development and transformation. All in all, a great read. Typically, I lose the thread and have to convince and cajole myself to get back to the story.