The Painter (Paperback)
Meet Jim Stegner, mid forties, a fly-fisherman, painter, and killer. He is the masculine protagonist in Peter Heller’s new novel entitled The Painter.
The opening line is masterful and captures our attention: 45 year old Jim reflects “I never imagined I would kill a man.” From then on, Heller holds us until the very last sentence.
On his way to fish one afternoon, Heller kills a man for beating a horse. Living low with an air-tight alibi from his lover and model, Sophie he bursts forth with a new body of work for his Santa Fe gallerist to sell. Stegner’s psychological tension as he is questioned and stalked by revenge seekers and detectives is the undercurrent that flows through Heller’s beautiful prose.
Tormented by his guilt over not preventing his daughter’s death, Heller cannot out-fish or out-paint the memories of their last exchange. Heller’s tumultuous state- of- mind can range from quiet contentment as he casts along a secluded mountain stream to violent deadly outbursts at perceived injustice.
Heller, like Stegner, is a man’s man, as reflected in his rock solid prose. Read this novel for the plot and appreciate it for poetic insights into the human condition; either way, you’ll be glad you did.— Sarah Bagby
An Oprah.com "Must-Read" Book
After having shot a man in a Santa Fe bar, the famous artist Jim Stegner served his time and has since struggled to manage the dark impulses that sometimes overtake him. Now he lives a quiet life. . . until the day that he comes across a hunting guide beating a small horse, and a brutal act of new violence rips his quiet life right open. Pursued by men dead set on retribution, Jim is left with no choice but to return to New Mexico and the high-profile life he left behind, where he'll reckon with past deeds and the dark shadows in his own heart.
About the Author
Peter Heller is the best-selling author of The Dog Stars. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men's Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook, The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.