Nothing Short of Dying by Erik StoreyTitle: Nothing Short of Dying

Author: Erike Storey

Pages: 320

Publisher: Scribner

Publication Date: 16 August 2016

Rating: ★★★★★

I received a review copy of this book from NetGalley

Hailed by bestselling writer William Kent Krueger as “the year’s best thriller debut,” this furiously paced ride into harm’s way features a drifter with lethal skills, whose mission to rescue his abducted sister pits him against a ruthless meth kingpin and his army of killers.

Sixteen years. That’s how long Clyde Barr has been away from Colorado’s thick forests, alpine deserts, and craggy peaks, running from a past filled with haunting memories. But now he’s back, having roamed across three continents as a hunter, adventurer, soldier of fortune, and most recently, unjustly imprisoned convict. And once again, his past is reaching out to claim him.

By the light of a flickering campfire, Clyde receives a frantic phone call from his sister Jen. No sooner has she pleaded with him to come rescue her than the line goes dead. Clyde doesn’t know how much time he has, or where Jen is located, or even who has her. All he knows is that nothing short of dying will stop him from saving her.

Joining Clyde in his against-all-odds quest is a young woman named Allie whose motivations for running this gauntlet are fascinatingly complex. As the duo races against the clock, it is Allie who gets Clyde to see what he has become and what he can still be.

Vivid with the hues and scents of Colorado’s backcountry, and thought-provoking in its exploration of how past, present, and future collide to test resolve, Nothing Short of Dying is, above all, a propulsive, action-driven race against the clock.

I don’t think I have ever been so excited to try out a book from an author I have never read before, than I was when I first saw Nothing Short of Dying. As I have said many times before, I am a huge Jack Reacher fan and I am always looking for a new series to fill the gaps. Having read the book now, I had every right to be as excited as I was because it was such a great read.

Nothing Short of Dying is Erik Storey’s first mystery thriller novel featuring drifter Clyde Barr. Clyde Barr is enjoying the quiet life in the Colorado wilderness after being released from prison, when he receives a frantic phone call from his sister Jen, who is being held hostage. Barr has no idea who has Jen and where they are, but he knows that it is up to him to find her, bring her home and protect her from danger.

It would be an understatement to say that this book is fast-paced and action-packed. It is literally non-stop action from start to finish with a good story weaved in, just the way I like it. There is so much fighting and stuff going on throughout the book that it is a miracle that anyone is still able to stand at the end, but it is written so well that not once did I think that any of it was over the top. Erik Storey has the perfect writing style for the genre because he is efficient with his words but he is still able to get me to engage with the story and characters.

Like pretty much every other book in the genre, the plot is pretty straightforward. It’s got a little bit of mystery, but the real hero of the book is the action and the characters. The one thing that does set this book apart from the others in the genre is the use of the wilderness and the Western feel to it, which I thought was really cool and well done, especially as I am not overly interested in Westerns.

I think one of the best parts of the book is the characters. Barr is a great lead character because he is flawed, but he is still a good guy and he can kick ass when he needs to as well. He has such an intriguing back story that really shapes his character and I could tell that this book only scratched the surface of it, so I am really interested to see how that progresses. The other great character was Allie. I normally don’t find the secondary characters to anywhere near as good as the leads, but Allie was right up there with Barr. I found her to be the most relatable of all the characters in the book, so that is a real bonus.

To sum it up, I was super excited when I first picked up the book and I was even more excited when I put it down at the end. I definitely feel that I have found a new author to add to my must-read pile. I am always looking out for ways to get my Jack Reacher fix and Nothing Short of Dying is written in a similar style, but is still different enough to not be a clone. It would be an understatement to say I am excited to see what happens to Barr next!

Worth a read?  If you like action-packed mystery thrillers with strong characters and a simple, but effective story, then Nothing Short of Dying is definitely worth a read. The best way to describe it is that Clyde Barr is what Jack Reacher would have been if he was a cowboy instead of a military policeman.



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