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The Guide


The Guide

Fishing fans will absolutely delight in Peter Heller’s THE GUIDE, but even those of us who don’t fish will fall in love with it. This is due to the phenomenal writing, the descriptions, the characters and the dark secret lurking in the story.

The setting could hardly be more idyllic: Kingfisher Lodge, a retreat that caters to the richest among us. Actors, singers and politicians --- anybody who’s anybody who wants to escape without paparazzi and fans pestering them --- go to Kingfisher Lodge. The cluster of buildings sits in the midst of meadows and forests, and on the beautiful waters of a river ideal for fishing. Each guest is assigned a guide to instruct him or her in fishing at whatever level they desire. What could be better?

"THE GUIDE blew me away. Not only did it grab me from the first chapter, it never let go.... This is thrilling action written without frills but with mesmerizing feeling. It’s a don’t-miss for certain."

That’s Jack’s mantra, and it has always served him well. He’s arrived here now, needing time away to clear his head, and fishing does that for him. Kingfisher hired him when the last guide departed suddenly, so Jack will finish out the season. His client is Alison K (no last names here; guests prefer their anonymity), who is no novice when it comes to rods and poles and bait and lures. From the beginning, Jack can see that she gets into a rhythm, just like him. Fishing feeds her soul, like it does him.

The first afternoon, Alison K gets a bite, fights the fish --- a big one with heart and stamina --- and ends up beyond the sign that proclaims “Keep Out! Private! Don’t Get Shot.” Kurt, the manager, warned Jack about that, but would a cranky neighbor shoot at someone just for an infraction as innocent as that? Apparently he would, as a bullet whizzes by Jack’s head almost immediately. Alison K turns, and he yells to run. Both of them are fuming. But Kurt says they can’t do anything about it. And, by the way, there’s some very mean dogs guarding the other boundary, so watch out.
Within a day, Jack and his client have formed a quick bond, and they have many questions about what is going on at this billionaires’ getaway. Why don’t some of the other guests fish? It’s not a problem exactly, as Kingfisher Lodge has excellent spa and massage services. Maybe the rich and famous simply use it as a pleasant riverside resort. After all, it is surrounded by fencing and a locked gate, which should ensure great privacy. But Jack doesn’t think that’s the reason. Neither does Alison K. They keep fishing, but the odd happenings have pushed them to investigate and to flaunt the Lodge rules.

Alison K herself is a bit of a rebel, so she invites Jack to dinner in the nearby town. Leaving the Lodge property does not make management happy. Not at all. Alison K is a paying guest who should not be hanging out with the hired help. For his part, Jack has felt on the wrong side of his boss since day one, and things have not improved since he and Alison K have been poking around. He feels that he is being watched. Then he begins to notice the cameras. And hears a scream in the night. Was it just an owl?
One of Jack’s reasons for taking this job has to do with the death of an old friend. And his mother. Because fishing soothes him and provides solace, he felt this would be the perfect relief from his life on the family farm. Believing he failed his friend and his mother, Jack has something to prove. So whatever is going on at Kingfisher Lodge, he’ll die trying to find out. And stop it. What he discovers is a real shocker.
THE GUIDE blew me away. Not only did it grab me from the first chapter, it never let go. Never. Jack and Alison K make an excellent team. Both have pasts that make them realize they can’t just pretend that the Lodge is all about fishing. Their futures depend on what they do now, in the present. This is thrilling action written without frills but with mesmerizing feeling. It’s a don’t-miss for certain.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on August 27, 2021

The Guide
by Peter Heller

  • Publication Date: May 10, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage
  • ISBN-10: 1984898965
  • ISBN-13: 9781984898968