The Terror of Living
Little, Brown, Feb 7 2011, $24.99
In Auburn, Washington, horse farm owner Phil Hunt keeps his ranch afloat by occasionally escorting an illegal delivery though the nearby mountains to Canada. Phil still feels remorse over what he did two decades ago when he killed someone while transporting a load though he spent time in prison.
Nearby in Silver Lake, Deputy Sheriff Bobby Drake struggles with the reputation of his father who was a highly regarded lawman until he was arrested for smuggling drugs into Canada. He has not seen his disgraced dad in a decade.
Drake happens to notice a horse trailer parked in a strange area. He goes to investigate and interrupts an illegal shipment. The operation that seemed benign when it worked smoothly now reveals to Hunt just how deadly his sideline has become. Phil flees from the law while his employers angrily send the Chef to collect their stolen goods and kill the transporter and lawman.
The aptly titled The Terror of Living is a great character study that looks deep into the souls of two men. Each makes it clear that life is not a simple choice between two forks in the road, but instead consists of multiple opportunity cost options in which going down an illegal path may be the best avenue, but how far one goes is the key. Phil like Bobby’s dad knows he is breaking the law when he transports illegal drugs into Canada, but does so to care for his family while also understanding he could go back to jail if caught. When does he and to a degree Bobby draw a line each refuses to cross become the focus of this excellent personalized thriller.