Under Tower Peak: A Thriller
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With lean, efficient prose and dialogue that crackles with repartee, Bart Paul has written a contemporary thriller of steadily mounting suspense and ruthless action. He captures both the beauty of the high mountain wilderness and the laconic rhythms of the outfitters’ lives. In Tommy Smith he offers a protagonist whose cool competence, home-grown decency, and clarity of purpose in the face of danger suggest a brotherhood with heroes from the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy.
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for boys,” Harvey said. He had to shout over the noise, but he was smiling. The thing had a muffler running along the top as big as a water heater. After about a minute it sputtered and died and we couldn’t get it started again. “Jay-sus Chroist,” he said, “check the fuel filter and the damn alternator. I got a Delco-Remy down at my shop in Hudson might work on the sonofabitch. Damn.” In another half hour, after we’d talked about the generator some more, talked about which horses we’d keep here
turn above the bridge. I could see there was a horse in her trailer. She stopped when she saw me step out of the trees right in front of her, the rifle resting across my shoulder like a baseball bat. Sarah just looked at me as I walked past the cab of her pickup, took a foothold by the trailer wheel well, and swung up. She eased the rig on down the road and I looked in at the horse. It was a big sorrel colt and didn’t pay me any mind. I skipped off the trailer as Sarah circled the rig and parked
driving. “So. What if when GQ calls that wreck in, it ain’t there?” She gave me a funny look. “I don’t get it.” “If there’s no wreck, it’s old Gerald who gets put in the middle of a lie. A big-time hoax on cable news. The county’ll send in a chopper and there’d just be a bare hunk of mountain. The law will start asking him questions he can’t answer, and Nancy Grace and Anderson Cooper will be on his ass. Once folks call you a liar nowadays, you’re branded a liar for good.” “That would be
parking lot. We didn’t see a soul on our way to the room. I unlocked it, handed her the key, then did a quick look-through of the closet and bathroom. The walls were painted-over cinderblock and would slow down a high-velocity round if it came to that. She wanted me to stand guard while she showered off, so while I waited I turned off the lights and watched the street. I heard her open the bathroom door and felt her walk up warm and steamy behind me and felt her finger run along my back. “I
with this mess,” Lester said. “It’ll be about all that big black sucker can pack, though.” I filled a can from my catch basin and heated water so we could wash the grease off our hands. We watered the stock one at a time, picketed them on the lines, and saw to our bedrolls. That all took a long time. We sat there for a bit on our tarps then, drinking Crown Royal and watching the row of horses and mules standing quiet in the moonlight and the big pile of junk lying next to the plane. “It’s like