Cover Image: The Guide

The Guide

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Member Reviews

Following the events of the author's previous book, The River, Jack takes a job as a fishing guide at an upscale lodge in remote Colorado. Although the fishing and the clients are wonderful, something isn't right. As Jack and his client investigate, things get even worse. As with The River, this story has a lot of beautiful descriptions of nature and the beauty of the stream and the woods.
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Another brilliant, involving, resonant novel from this talented writer whose acutely described surroundings transport the reader to a luxurious secluded fishing lodge and introduces a complex protagonist hired as a guide whose love for the wild river g permeates every page . You don't have to love fishing the way he does, but you'll be captivated by the story, which involves a mystery, a murder, and a love story as well  Heller's command of language makes the river almost a central character, and every page makes you eager to read the next one
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In this follow-up to The River, seasoned wilderness writer Heller delivers a thriller set three years into the COVID-19 pandemic. After graduating from Dartmouth, Jack lands a cushy summer job at a luxe Colorado resort, serving as a fly-fishing guide to wealthy clientele. He’s content to spend the summer on the river he loves, finding solace from the past in the full absorption the sport requires. Jack’s first clue that something is amiss is the security camera on the water. He begins to quietly investigate its purpose with the help of the country music star he’s been paired with—and when the stakes become clear, the breathless chase begins. Though not a sequel, spoilers for The River are embedded in the plot, and while this book contains sensitive content, providing details would likewise reveal spoilers.
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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.
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I loved The River and it’s one of my go-to recommended reads so I was excited to delve into The Guide. Heller does an amazing job of making you feel like you are right on the river with him, guiding you to pick the right fly or make the perfect cast. However, the fishing guide, Jack, has realized that there is some “stuff” happening on the river that makes him question his decision on guiding this summer. I didn’t really know where this book was going, so that made it fun to read. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC!
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Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC. I requested Peter Heller's latest because of how affected I was by his 2012 book "The Dog Stars."

There is so much to love about author Peter Heller. When it comes characterization, he keeps it simple and trusts you to read the emotion between the lines. But when it comes to flora, fauna, and the natural world at large? Hoo boy, you are getting the kind of lush, sensual descriptions that make you feel as if you're standing in the middle of a river fly-fishing yourself, breathing in the mountain air and watching leaves fall into the water.

This beauty and reverence for nature is all an eerie contrast to the hidden horrors at the heart of the story (no spoilers ahead, promise). If you've kept up with current events over the past few years and wound up having one or two visceral nightmares as a result - well, "The Guide" will feel a lot like those terrors. I did have to stop a couple times toward the end to take a breather because the action was intense - this is a compliment! If I have any critiques, it's that the mystery takes a bit too long to unfold. Fortunately, the payoff is worth the wait.

I wouldn't call "The Guide" a sequel to "The River," but I eventually discerned they are companion pieces and, had I known the connection, would have read "The River" beforehand to fill in some of the gaps.
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The Guide by Peter Heller
Rating: 5 stars

Summary: Jack is a outdoorsman and is hired at a posh fishing resort catering to the very rich. Looking for a change and easy job guiding, he encounters a beautiful country singer and guides her catching some beautiful trout. Things though feel odd at this resort and both start to question what exactly is happening here. 

Comments: Heller is the new country noir writer I am glad I found. Outstanding story telling that places you like you are in the scene with the flowing water, the cold stream and the sounds of nature abound. Beautifully written must read.
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Fly-fishing and guiding have become Jack’s only solace since a series of accidents leaves him bereft and unsure. He hires on at the Kingfisher Lodge, where the rich and famous get away to enjoy nature and relax in peace with no hindrance from the locals. Jack has questions almost from the start as he finds things are not as they seem, from an aggressive neighbor to trail cams in the woods. What kind of spa treatments leaves the clients looking more depleted than when they’d begun? The Guide was a great read, though most the fly-fishing was lost on me, I do understand the art of it. The descriptions are in-depth and take you completely into the story, which had a few twists and turns by the end. I totally enjoyed The Guide and look forward to the next novel by Peter Heller.
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Peter Heller does it AGAIN. Absolutely devoured this book in almost one sitting... If you remotely enjoyed The River, you will love this book. It also has a bit of a Dog Stars-theme to it, so pick it up if you loved that book of Heller's. Heller has a way to offer minimal text (ie light dialogue, minimal actions) but each. Word. Counts. His writing style is so enjoyable bc there is a so much weight to each sentence to move the plot. I fell in love with Jack's character from The River, and here he is again, acting as a guide at a luxury fishing resort. But quickly, Jack notices things are not what they seem and Jack is on high alert... At first, with the mention of masks/virus, I was initially like 'oh no, please not a book skirting our real pandemic,' but Heller takes it a step further/darker... and I enjoyed it immensely. Also, for someone that knows ZERO about fishing, I enjoyed reading about this different techniques and types of rods, etc. I could almost smell the fresh water and pine tree scent off the pages. I own all of Heller's books and plan to add this to my collection.
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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!
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Jack is a seasoned fisherman from rural Colorado starting a new fishing guide job
At the very expensive and secretive Kingsfisher Lodge - a speciality hunting and fishing spa lodge for the very, very elite 

The strict rules of the lodge aggravate jack and as he navigates the bosses and visiting wealthy we learn that he’s trying to start over from incidents in his past 

It’s not long before he realIes that all is not what it seems at the lodge and something very bad is hidden beneath the adjective veneer.  

Befriending his current client, the two team up for an action packed week to try and solve the puzzle of the lodge before it’s too late 

Peter Heller’s signature writing style soars in describing the canyon and the beauty of the Forrest.  I am not a fisherman but I quickly could envision myself in the water with Jack casting a line. 

The beautiful prose holds up throughout the book as does the suspense and a plausible and gratifying conclusion.  Also included is our current international villain - the coronavirus.

Recommended for lovers of thrillers, the outdoors, short mysteries and beautiful writing
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I actually really really really really like this book.  It’s about a guide working with a celebrity during a mysterious epidemic at a strange resort.  The character is captivating and the plot intense.  I highly recommend this one.
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