PETER HELLER is the best-selling author of The Dog Stars. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men's Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook,The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
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Peter Heller, the celebrated author of the breakout best seller The Dog Stars, returns with an achingly beautiful, wildly suspenseful second novel about an artist trying to outrun his past.
Years ago, Jim Stegner shot a man in a bar. The man lived, Jim served his time, and he has learned to control the dark impulses that threaten to overtake him. Jim lives a quiet life. He doesn't drink. He goes fishing. He works as a painter, selling his art for good money at a gallery in Santa Fe. One day, driving down a dirt road, Jim sees a man beating a small horse. Without thinking, he stops, jumps out of the truck, and tackles the man, punching him and breaking his nose. The man is Dell, an outfitter notorious among locals, and the altercation awakens an anger inside of Jim. At night Jim paints. He paints a man digging a grave. Horrified, Jim hides the painting, but he can't hide his rage over the horse. Under a full moon, Jim goes to the river, and running into Dell, drunk and unaware, Jim kills him in cold blood. As Jim tries to come to terms with what he has done, he must evade the police-police who know his past, who know he hit Dell days before, who are hot on his trail-while also evading Dell's brother, an equally dangerous man set on revenge. Traveling from the rough adobe cottages and rivers of Colorado to the bright streets and galleries of Santa Fe, aching with grief for all he has seen, Jim tries to reconcile the love he feels in his heart with the violence that comes so easily.