If you ever feel the need to cool off and cannot get away, Killer View (2008) by Ridley Pearson might be just your ticket. This suspense novel is set in Sun Valley, Idaho during the dead of winter. One week in the life of Walt Fleming, sheriff of Blaine County, is covered in this action filled novel.
The tale opens when one of the characters is preparing for a night of tracking. While making preparations, he is imagining he is the narrator for the Discovery Channel…acting out a practice run through of who he is and what he is doing. It is all not made clear to the reader, but you do come to the conclusion this person is NOT a happy camper.
When a 911 call about a missing skier comes in, Sheriff Fleming finds himself out in a blizzard instead of spending that evening with his kids. The weather could not be worse. Finding the missing man alive was not a likelihood with a forecasted 18” of snow at 9,000 feet.
Mark Aker and his younger brother Randy join the search. Mark is Walt’s best friend and it is important to note, both of the brothers are veterinarians. Mark cares for cats and dogs. Randy specializes in large animals, cattle and horses.
The search and rescue teams split up. It was decided Randy, being the most experienced back country skier, would work alone. 20-30 minutes into the search the team heard what may have been a gun shot.
It was not the missing skier. The rescuers found Randy Akers…dead. Walt at first assumed he must have fallen. His sixth sense leads him back to where Randy was found to seek out any evidence of foul play before it disappears in the falling snow. He is joined in the search by Deputy Tommy Branson.
Tommy is Walt’s best deputy. But, there is one major problem. Tommy, and Walt’s soon to be ex-wife Gail, are living together. The department cannot afford to lose a good deputy. It is a difficult situation to have Tommy working so closely with Walt.
Fiona Kenshaw, photographer, enters the storyline to photograph the scene that Walt is thinking is a murder investigation. From this point on, other characters are introduced and situations are placed before the reader to encourage the turning of pages. It all works.
A radioactive leak, disease coverups, wealthy sheep ranchers, water bottling plant, the federal government, individual rights, environmental issues. You may be wondering whose side to take on some of these issues. Mix it all together and it spells Killer View. It is a fast, exciting read. Give it a try.
This next title takes the reader from the action packed outdoors to the mostly quiet hospital room of a lady named Lucy.
Initially Lucy Barton was in the hospital for the removal of her appendix. Unfortunately, her anticipated short stay blossomed into nine weeks due to some sort of infection.
My Name is Lucy Barton (2016) by Elizabeth Strout is a small novel and covers about five days of her time recovering. It is a mother-daughter story told in the first person by Lucy.
Lucy is surprised one day during her hospital stay. She awakes from a nap to find an unexpected visitor sitting in a chair at the foot of her bed. It is her mother.
Lucy did not have many visitors so that was part of the surprise. Mainly she was shocked because Lucy had not seen her mother for years. She was confused about why her mother looked so different.
It took some time before the two became comfortable enough to relax in each other’s company. Her mother asked about Lucy’s kids. But, she asked nothing about William, Lucy’s husband. Nor did she mention Lucy’s father.
In their time together, the two caught up with happenings in Lucy’s hometown of Amgash, Illinois. They gossiped about neighbors and friends Lucy would have known.
During these hours of reminiscing is when the reader will start piecing together Lucy’s isolated life in rural Illinois. Until she was 11 years old, Lucy and her family lived in a relative’s unheated garage. The one lone window in that garage is one of Lucy’s memories of that time. Her father’s temper plus her mother’s refusal or inability to protect Lucy are part of what shaped her.
Lucy was able to escape that life when she was awarded a scholarship to college. Her dream from third grade of becoming a writer became a reality.
Back in the hospital room. During the five days of her mother’s visit Lucy was concerned because her mother never seemed to sleep. Her mother explained that she rarely slept, only taken cat naps most of her life. It is this discussion that led her mother to open up about her own childhood.
And so the book goes. Each of the women catching up and learning about each other’s lives. Which in turn led each to understanding more about each other.
As I was reading My Name is Lucy Barton, I thought it was all a bit strange. I kept waiting for something to happen. But, I did not give up on the book. It was not until I finished Lucy’s story that “the something happened”. For me, it was the fact I kept thinking about Lucy, about her mother. Like her mother told her, “Look at your life right now. You just went ahead and …did it.”