The Guide

Knopf. Aug. 2021. 272p. ISBN 9780525657767. $27. F
Heller’s readers will recognize Jack, the rugged outdoorsman and survivor of a terrifying canoe trip in his previous novel, The River. Three years later, in a post-pandemic world, Jack is still reeling from the deaths of his mother and his best friend, Wynn. He hopes to find inner peace as a guide at an elite fishing resort in the Colorado mountains, whose rich and famous guests gave the resort riverfront the nickname “Billionaire’s Mile.” His first day on the job, he discovers hidden cameras in the trees, in his room, and in the lodge and its outbuildings. Another guide warns him about neighboring property boundaries that are protected by vicious dogs. Jack takes it in stride, especially since his fishing client is a likable superstar singer, Alison K., who knows how to handle a fishing rod as well as a gun. Both find solace in the pleasure of fishing and being with each other. But after Jack sees a line of children in hospital gowns being manhandled by goons in black outfits, he has to confide to Alison all that he’s learned. Wasting no time, and with the help of Alison, guns, and sticks of dynamite, Jack brings down an unimaginable scheme at Billionaire’s Mile.
VERDICT Heller’s chilling tale of twisted minds playing on pandemic fears is all too realistic. One heckuva read; don’t miss it.
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