A well-written and insightful look at the complexities of late middle life, with a murder mystery added in for good measure. Performer James Jenner's deep, rich voice skillfully narrates the interwoven tales of a fraught father-daughter relation and a murder investigation that ensnares the main character, a fly fishing guide approaching 60 who has a lot to mull over. The beauty of the Oregon setting stars as a main character here, and those who love the Northwest are sure to feel a twinge of recognition.
A fresh new voice in fiction - one steeped in tradition, stirred by devotion, and struck by tragedy.
With Holding Lies, John Larison takes us deep into a thriving subculture of the Northwest, one born of the ferns and firs, rain and hot-springs, firebombs and whitewater. He takes us even deeper into the troubles of Hank Hazelton, a 59-year-old river guide, as he struggles to reconnect with his only daughter after a 14-year estrangement. His failure as a father haunts him, along with other deep regrets, tragedies, and longings.
In the days before his daughter's arrival, Hank discovers a drift boat stranded below a rapid, empty except for a long smear of blood on its seat. Search and Rescue fails to discover the owner, and within days the sheriff has begun a murder investigation, which, to Hank, appears to be more about old grudges than objective evidence. When Hank himself becomes a suspect, he begins his own search - one that will lead him deep into the violent past of his home valley.
In a novel about fathers and daughters, friends and mentors, sins ancient and repeated, Larison illuminates our commitments to those who've come before and those who'll come after. Holding Lies is a taut, big-hearted novel. It brings to life a tapestry of community sustained by the river, with the steelhead at its core. Steeped in the ecology of place and peopled with unforgettable characters, Larison creates a world we will want to return to again and again.