A NovelBook - 2017
From the critics
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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?"
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.
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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