Just once I’d like to see a book end in disaster. After having just finished “Celine,” by Peter Heller, a book I enjoyed, I realized it was time for me to return to nonfiction. This book marked my third novel in a row, each ending with a comprehensive, complex melding of story and character alike. There is always a certain level of predictability to novels like these, and this is where the quality of writing comes into play. If the writing is good, heck, I’ll put up with just about anything. But I still long for the novel that comes with a “What the F&^%,” as I turn the final page.
If you don’t know Peter Heller, start with “The Dog Stars,” and then venture to “The Painter.” If you love the west, love nature, love fishing, love a tinge of darkness here and there then Heller might work for you. He also writes for Outside and a few other adventure magazines and has also done some nonfiction.
Celine felt like the foundation of what could be a great episodic character. An older woman with skills she shouldn’t have, skills that even her partner doesn’t know the origin of. A mystery, death, love and a western palette that becomes one of the main characters. An easy, fun read that takes the reader from coastal California to the edges of the country via remote wilderness. There is a bit of gun action, some photography talk and humor. One of the characters is a Mainer, so reading this book from where I’m sitting right now felt just about right.