All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Nothing Short Of Dying by Erik Storey

on August 26, 2017

Nothing Short Of Dying (Clyde Barr #1)
Erik Story
Simon & Schuster UK
2016, 400p
Freebie via iBooks

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Clyde Barr has been on the run for sixteen years. Now he’s back in the Colorado wilderness, hoping for some peace and quiet.

Then Clyde receives a frantic phone call for help from his sister Jen. But the line goes dead. She’s been taken.

Clyde doesn’t know where Jen is. He doesn’t know who has her. He doesn’t know how much time he has. All he knows is that nothing short of dying will stop him from saving her… 

Finding this as the week’s freebie on iBooks was fortuitous as I received the second novel in this series for review last week and it’s always preferable to me to be able to read a series in order. Even if they’re kind of stand alone, if they contain the same main character, I like to have all the information.

In this first book, Clyde Barr has been recently released from prison. He’s called his sisters – two of them want nothing to do with him but then the third sister rings him, begging him to ‘come and get her’. She makes him promise and Clyde’s idea of a peaceful life in the Yukon vanishes. A promise to him is unbreakable. His sister knows that if she makes him promise then ‘nothing short of dying’ will prevent him from fulfilling it.

Clyde has led an….interesting life. He’s spent a lot of time in Africa working on game reserves and as a ‘gun for hire’ for various warlords or clans. He’s been through South America and up into Mexico, where he was imprisoned. After he gets the phone call from his sister he heads to a dive bar to determine who she might’ve been seen with in an attempt to track down who has her. There he finds himself acquiring a sidekick named Allie, a bartender who has some motivations of her own.

Clyde is a loner, it’s clear that for the most part, his life has been spent drifting from one place to the next, working odd jobs, spending little time with others and the others he probably did spend time with were those like him. His reluctance for Allie to accompany him stems from not wanting to put her in danger but she’s probably in more danger if she gets left behind and it appears that Clyde has his own strict moral code that he adheres to although you can tell he’s wary about having her along, for many reasons.

This series is marketed for fans of the Jack Reacher novels I think and there are some similarities. The drifter main character with no roots who is generally pulled in to some sort of quest where their personal morals don’t allow them to walk away. This one has a familial tie for Clyde – he and his sister Jen were very close as children and share some very devastating secrets. Their life together growing up wasn’t easy and the two of them probably came to rely on each other quite a lot and stood together. Clyde has been away for some 15 or 16 years but the ties are still strong. Even his two other sisters, who made it clear that they weren’t interested in seeing him, could probably call him in trouble and he would drop everything to help them. I understand the appeal of the drifter – I think it taps into a fantasy for many people to live with no ties – no 9-5 job, no mortgage, no bills. Clyde has a junker car, a stash of cash, weapons and some camping equipment and that’s honestly about it. His dream was to hunt and fish and live a simple life in a sparsely populated area. His background probably has him well adjusted to life without luxuries and the solace doesn’t seem to be something that would bother him – in fact it might be the biggest drawcard.

I liked Clyde. I found him a very entertaining main character with an interesting look on life and the ability to really take care of both himself and others. He’s smart – very smart. It might not be university style smarts but he was capable of tracking down a basically ‘invisible man’ and infiltrating his high security compound. He was outplayed and outgunned several times during the story and still managed to come up with plans to reverse the odds. He strikes me as the sort of person you would definitely want at your back if stuff was going down. To use a very old quote, he’s a badass motherf***** who don’t take no shit from nobody. He’s also incredibly tenacious – nothing would’ve prevented him from tracking down Jen and freeing her, unless he was killed trying. He never gave up, even when he was told that no one would be able to track this person down, that he wasn’t even ever seen.

I quite enjoyed this – it’s an appealing story written very well with a tight plot. Clyde carries the role of main character well and the supporting characters ran the range from sweet and interesting to dubious as hell. I’m definitely keen for the next in the series now. I hope Clyde makes it to the Yukon, because I’d like to read about that before he gets drawn into his next adventure.


Book #144 of 2017

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