A Novel

Book - 2017
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"From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter, a luminous, spine-tingling novel of suspense--the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780451493897
Characteristics: 333 pages ; 22 cm


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Aug 12, 2019

I thought I was going to really love this character Celine, a 70 year old PI, but further into the book, her bravado became harder and harder to believe. Interesting story line about a client, young woman, who lost her mother at a young age, and a few years later her father disappears and is assumed to have been killed by a bear up near Yellowstone. But did he really die, or did he just stage his death and disappear? Celine takes the case of trying to determine the truth. We hear all about Celine's childhood, too, as it parallels her client...both of them growing up abandoned by their fathers. I just didn't feel engaged in this story like I did in Heller's The River. And there was NO spine tingling suspense in Celine.

ArapahoeAnnaL Jul 24, 2019

Another road-trip novel by Peter Heller where he shares his love for the landscape of the American West. The protagonist is a 70 year old PI partially disabled by breathing problems, tough, brilliant, and kind.

Jun 29, 2019

Finished it, but only by skimming the final quarter and my issues lay with the main character, Celine. She's a sharp-shooter, brilliant, beautiful, elderly, entirely without flaw whose partner is continually enthralled with what an incredible, almost unbelievable woman he's found. And that was the problem; she was unbelievable and past a certain point incredibly annoying. The plot was very thinly worked out and the ending was ridiculous and, guess what?!, basically unbelievable as well. Really disappointed in this one.

JCLTiffanyR Jun 04, 2019

Readers looking for a twisty mystery or an edge of your seat thrill ride will be sorely disappointed. This book is not that kind of mystery. In fact, the mystery plays a distant second fiddle to getting to know Heller's beautifully rendered characters, including the heroine, Celine, a 70+ year old, blueblood P.I. with emphysema. Celine and the entire secondary cast are worth getting to know, and Heller's prose is beautiful to read!

May 09, 2019

5/2019 - Book Club recommended when discussing mysteries -
by author of Dog Stars

Hillsboro_JulieB Jan 09, 2019

Celine is a blue-blood, private detective who takes on the 20-year old case of a missing father. Rich in description and details, the author slowly reveals a fascinating backstory of Celine through a combination of her memories, her son's perspective, and her husband's observations while the mystery of the missing father unfolds.

Mar 05, 2018

Heller's novel The Painter was a real disappointment after the great work he did with Dog Stars. The characters in Celine are even thinner and the back story more disjointed. Suspension of disbelief proved impossible. It looks like Dog Stars might have been a fluke which is a real shame.

Nov 27, 2017

Very descriptive, well written book with interesting characters but the plot got lost somewhere and the ending was disappointing and unbelievable.

Jul 17, 2017

Young women, I hope we all agree, should be able to find the occasional superwoman heroine in various entertainment genres. Justice therefore demands senior women such as myself should be able to enjoy Peter Heller's private investigator Celine. Even if Celine's talents, nerve and luck strained my ability to "suspend disbelief" somewhat. However, Heller's style is so unique and the novel so beautifully written that I won't quibble, simply enjoy.

Jul 09, 2017

Very very good book - loved the characters !

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ArapahoeAnnaL Jul 24, 2019

They were watching and listening with an intensity that was as ferocious as their deaths's- heads. Celine did not break his gaze. She licked her own dry lips... "Young man," she said finally, very clear, "I am already dead." The words hit the assembled watchers like a gust. It was the Samurai creed... In every warrior's heart is a respect for simple courage, and every Son saw it in the woman... "Just a minute," she said...She held to the back of a chair and breathed. Nobody moved. She nodded to Pete. He switched on the condenser and handed her the cannula, which she pressed to her nose..."I strongly suggest you boys quit smoking while you still have the best of life ahead of you..." Bikers all around the room let out a breath, shook their shaggy heads, murmured "Fuck was that?"

ArapahoeAnnaL Jul 24, 2019

He was not surprised that the sere landscape of eastern Wyoming was not to his mother's taste. She'd be happier as they moved north and west into the mountains. She was a New Englander at heart, a shaded-brook and hard woods gal. He remembered the almost vertiginous sense of exposure he had experienced when he first encountered the vast sky of Colorado.

Jul 11, 2017

Celine, my new novel, was a bit different, and very special, because it is about my mom. She died two and half years ago, and I think I wanted to spend another year with her. Like the protagonist she was a crack investigator who specialized in reuniting birth families. Like Celine, she could shoot—the scene in Idaho with the gun dealer when she blows seven cans and bottles off the log is true—and she really did bring in a bank fraud perp for the FBI—after spying on him with her opera glasses, and executing a high speed car chase in her old Volvo. She really was courageous and elegant, and the family backstory in France during the war is all true. I tried to write her as closely as I could.

The book, I guess, was a coming home for me. As writing fiction was, after so many years as a journalist.

-- Peter Heller, From an interview published online by Amazon Book Review March 2017.


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