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In High Places Hardcover – March 1, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764203460
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764203466
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,068,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


" a suspense-filled cliffhanger ... it will keep you on the edge of your seat." -- Cindy Crosby,

"I'm extraordinarily impressed. This is easily Morrissey's best work, and now I'm truly interested to see what he does next." -- Tim Frankovich,

"In High Places is a wonderfully written story full of colorful imagery, and realistic characters." -- Laura V. Hilton,

"Morrisey's experiences as a travel-adventure writer make this a page turner, one that will leave you stunned." -- Heather Ivester,

"This book would make a great gift for Father's Day or to a teenage or college-age boy." -- Tyler R. Tichelaar,

"I recommend this book to anyone who loves a detail-rich story with plot depth." -- Alyssa Curry, Christian Book

"Morrisey paints a more realistic picture than many Christians novels, making it a more satisfying read..." -- Randy Brandt,

About the Author

Tom Morrisey is the author of four novels and short stories, a world-renowned adventure-travel writer whose work has appeared in Outside, Sport Diver (where he serves as Executive Editor) and other leading magazines. He holds an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Toledo and an MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University.

Customer Reviews

The plot is good, and well developed.
This book is one that will cause conflict in the reader's emotions; it will make him question what happens as surely as if it were his own life.
Christian Review of Books
I recommend this book to anyone who loves a detail-rich story with plot depth.
Christian Book Previews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Christian Review of Books on May 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Review by David White

In High Places is not an average coming of age story. It's a story of continued hope and faith made real by the fact that even years later the narrator continues to struggle with those events.

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Seneca Rocks in West Virginia in 1976, we're introduced to our main character, Patrick, and his father as they climb. At first it seems like an adventure story, giving an intimate account of what it's like to be a climber. In High Places does indeed give its readers an in-depth look into the life of a climber, sharing the experience with unexpected clarity and honesty.

The death, an apparent suicide, of Patrick's mother causes Patrick's father to move from their home in Ohio to Seneca permanently, where they set up a small climbing shop and can escape their pain. Of course, their loss follows them, and while Patrick's father only finds solace by making terrifying solo climbs, Patrick is befriended by the beautiful Rachel who helps him make a new life for himself.

Of course, Rachel is not any beautiful girl; she's a pastor's daughter, and religious folks have always been viewed with skepticism in Patrick's family. His infatuation brings him back to church week after week with even more frequent visits to her house. Patrick's conversion is not miraculous. If anything, it is accidental. It's his father's reaction that is of Patrick's greatest concern.

Revelations about Patrick's mother's death, and the faith she apparently came to just before it, brings about two major shifts in the novel. While both draw Rachel and Patrick closer together, they also bring unexpected consequences. If anything, In High Places is about such consequences.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By on June 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Tom Morrisey's best novel to date, IN HIGH PLACES, cost me a good night's sleep and a set of chewed-off fingernails. As a young boy's coming-of-age story, it is superb; as a suspense-filled cliffhanger (pardon the pun), it will keep you on the edge of your seat. I found I couldn't put it down until the very last page.

In several previous novels such as YUCATAN DEEP and DEEP BLUE, Morrisey (executive editor of Sport Diver magazine) took readers under the water in scuba thrillers. This time, he takes the adventures topside. Morrisey poignantly unfolds the first-person story of Patrick Nolan, a 16-year-old rock climber who returns from a father-and-son climbing trip to his home in Toledo to discover his mother's apparent suicide. Patrick and his dad leave Toledo to open a climbing shop in West Virginia, where Patrick must grow up fast in matters of family, faith and love.

Morrisey has always been a good adventure writer (his work has appeared in the adventurer's Bible --- Outside magazine --- as well as other publications). What sets this book apart from Morrisey's previous efforts is the appealing first-person point of view, strong, tight editing, refusal to succumb to clichés and lovely prose. His chapters begin and end so compellingly, you can't help but turn the pages.

The opening lines are especially beautiful, almost poetic:

"It was not the rock --- it was never the rock; it was the air. Air: gusts and threads of it, rustling my hair at the edge of my faded red rugby shirt collar. Air: swaying the thin red climbing rope that dropped beneath me in a single, brief, pendulous loop.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By t.e. George on December 28, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Patrick Nolan is not the typical teenage boy. He is a good student, reasonably well grounded, and enjoys spending every free moment hanging out with his father. On one of their weekend rock climbing excursions father and son make a pact. The woman in their life has been asking for a patio for a very long time. Together they decide it is time to quit being so selfish and fulfill their promise. But, as they arrive home a neighbor meets them with grim news. The promise can never be realized because mother and wife has been found dead of an apparent suicide while they were gone.

In the weeks following the death, everything changes about the two men's lives. And like typical men, both son and father seek to deny their pain by selling everything and moving to the mountains they both love to climb. What begins as a unique bonding experience ends up driving a wedge in their relationship that only something bigger than both of them can mend.

In High Places highlights yet another of Tom Morrisey's real-life passions for adventure, the close-knit yet highly competitive world of climbing. As in his other adventure novels, Morrisey displays first-hand knowledge wrapped in expert prose. His stories suck you into a world, foreign to most of us, and leave you wishing you had gone there before. Blink and you will find yourself hanging from a piton dangling over the wilds of West Virginia.

Like the sport it depicts, this is not a safe story. While faith or lack thereof, is a key element in the lives of both Patrick and Kevin, there is no neat conclusion. Both father and son must confront the shallowness of their lives and the paths they choose. Written from the son's point of view as he looks back on the defining period of his life, In High Places reads like a memoir. Deep questions are left unanswered leaving nothing left to cling to except hope. But hope, set on the right thing, is all we need to hold us even when we fall from the high places.
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