Hayden's Ferry Review


Book Review: The Terror of Living by Urban Waite

The Terror of Living by Urban Waite, 2011. Little Brown and Company, New York, NY. Review by Debrah Lechner.

The Terror Of Living is a purebred, full-blooded thriller. If you want a book that will keep you up all night and make you look forward to coming home to finish it up the next day, this is all of that.

My enjoyment of the novel was increased by the variation in characters. All are flawed, and the hero is criminal, but is also more than that. He's human; he's compassionate; he's realistic about who he is; but the trouble in which he becomes entangled inspires him to transcend the limitations he was once content to live with. At the same time, there is also a vicious killer in the mix, and I do so appreciate unrepentant psychopathology in a villain. Along the way, the reader will meet a number of other well-drawn characters, including an engaging law-enforcement officer and a woman who is motivated by love, but is not a stereotypical character.

The plot is absorbing, building through several harrowing and violent crescendos to a satisfying finale. The setting is rural; finely drawn, easy to get comfortable with and settled into, which only makes the mayhem that ensues all the more shocking. The reader also comes to identify and empathize with most of the characters. It's reminiscent of Tony Hillerman, but with the terrifying twist of a full-throttle thriller.

The Terror of Living is going to take off like a bottle rocket when released this Monday, February 7. Remember that you heard it here first.

Urban Waite has published in a number of prestigious journals, including the story "Don't Look Away" in Hayden's Ferry Review, issue 42. For those of you who are interested in the process that writers use to produce their work, you will find two special treats below: the Hayden's Ferry Review Contributor Spotlight, written about and by Urban Waite himself in 2008, and the Hayden’s Ferry Review blog interview with the author in 2009.

Pick up an advanced copy of The Terror of Living, here.