Crime fiction fans take note: there’s a new Seattle author you need to check out. His name is Urban Waite and his debut novel is The Terror of Living. The novel, set all over Puget Sound, careens at a breakneck pace shifting from character to character quickly. Waite leaves readers dangling at the end of each chapter waiting to see what will happen next, yet thrilled to jump back into the lives of the other characters to see where they are headed.
The story is not a new one— a drug deal gone bad causing many people to suffer the consequences. Deputy Sheriff Bobby Drake is out in the woods when he sees something fall from the sky. It turns out to be a whole lot of heroin. The two men on the ground waiting for the drop are caught in Drake’s crosshairs—literally. He tries to apprehend the men, but they flee. He wings one but the other escapes.
This blown drug pickup starts into motion a series of violent events. Those who made mistakes must be silenced or punished. We are introduced to a sociopathic butcher-assassin, a crooked lawyer, and Vietnamese mobsters. We also become more intricately involved in the story of the man who escaped the busted drug pickup, Phil Hunt.
While assassins and mobsters add color (as well as graphic violence and mayhem), the story is really that of Bobby Drake’s pursuit of Phil Hunt. Hunt is a man in his fifties who has made choices he regrets and doesn’t have his heart in the crimes he commits. He just wants to raise horses and spend time with his wife.
Drake is a young deputy sheriff living in the shadow of his father, a former sheriff exposed as a drug runner. As Drake chases down Hunt, he gains an understanding and compassion for Hunt and sees that the world isn’t just good guys versus bad guys. We humans just happen to be too darn complicated for that.
I won’t spoil the end, but the plot accelerates chapter by chapter until its bloody but satisfying finale. This book is not for the weak-stomached, but if you can make it past the scenes of graphic violence (which I found anxiety-provoking but not gratuitous), you’ll be waiting excitedly for Urban Waite’s follow-up to The Terror of Living.