by Urban Waite
Published in February 2011 by Simon & Schuster
There could be no better way to spend today, with the snow building high on the window sill, than to simply sup cup after cup of tea whilst reading a great crime chase novel, particularly one whose final section was entitled ‘Snow’.
The Terror of Living is a tremendous first novel from Urban Waite (now 30) who wrote this finely tensioned tale at a mere 28 years of age. If this is anything to go by, I think I’ve been introduced to another author to whom I’ll have to clear some shelf space in years to come.
Following Phil Hunt and his run following a drug smuggling mission which ends badly, we see him pursued both by the police, in the form of Deputy Sheriff Drake, and an evil assassin/hitman called Grady who is sent by the mysterious ‘Lawyer’ to hunt him down and kill him.
The Grady character is a fantastic creation and almost something from a gothic horror tale rather than a straight crime thriller, his methods, so the blurb’s links to the work of Thomas Harris sit well with me.
His creative and evil ways of offing characters in his pursuit of his main prey are a gathering of some of the best we’ve come to know from other books and movies – the flick mechanism to release a blade from his shirtsleeve is pure Travis Bickle with his guns from Taxi Driver – but, hey if you’re going to steal, steal from the best, right?
Essentially the tale is, as with many crime tales, one of morality and, as is stated more than once in the book, sometimes bad things just happen to good people.
A perfect wintry chill of a tale – made my December and it’s just right for curling up with during February when The Terror of Living hits the shops here.
Keith B Walters