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Under Tower Peak Hardcover – April 1, 2013

4.2 out of 5 stars 181 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Paul’s story bounces off the Steve Fossett mystery of 2008, when the businessman and aviator disappeared with his plane over the Sierra Nevadas. High in the mountains, Paul’s narrator, Iraq War vet Tommy Smith, and his partner, Lester Wendover, stumble upon a plane wreck that has eluded myriad searchers. That’s how the Fossett case developed, but then Paul spins his story in new directions. Unknown to Tommy, none-too-bright Lester steals a fancy watch from the pilot’s body, as well as several thousand dollars from a suspicious sack of cash. Before Tommy can put a lid on things, return the loot, and report the accident, Lester and his girlfriend have contacted lawyers and (unknown to them) criminals across the U.S., seeking a reward and their 15 minutes of fame. Lawyers from L.A. and thugs from Miami are soon crawling all over the mountains, and bodies start piling up—until Tommy and Lester, ignoring legal counsel, decide to dismantle the plane and hide components all down the mountain. This almost solves the problem of their involvement, but the thugs keep coming even as former-sniper Tommy cuts them down. He’ll have to find out what they’re after before his mountains become peaceful again. A superior blend of thriller and contemporary western, full of gun lore and with a fine appreciation of the Sierra Nevada wilderness. And Paul’s spare, reflective style recalls Hemingway. --John Mort

Review

 A scenic, suspenseful debut novel turns out to be one of the best of the season. . . . The nonstop action in Under Tower Peak is well-paced, the plot twists surprising (even shocking) and the occasional humor welcome. In the end, it's that right-stuff quality known as true grit that may save Tommy Smith's bacon—and that elevates this fine first novel into a must-read book.

” (Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal)

“A superior blend of thriller and contemporary western, full of gun lore and with a fine appreciation of the Sierra Nevada wilderness.” (John Mort, Booklist)

“Paul writes with spare, clean, hard-driving prose that skates along morality's knife-edge—writing reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy and James Lee Burke—all the while layered with lush, keenly observed descriptions of the natural world and man’s place in it.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Under Tower Peak is a great western thriller. Bart Paul knows how to keep things interesting and his attention to detail is pitch perfect--from how to pack a horse to the relationship between two modern-day cowboys. In Tommy Smith, he has created a western hero that is part John Wayne and part James Bond. Under Tower Peak is a hard book to put down.” (Dan O’Brien, author of Stolen Horses and Buffalo for the Broken Heart)

“Bart Paul's UNDER TOWER PEAK is a superb contemporary western thriller. Paul's Tommy Smith is right up there with James Lee Burke's Dave Robichaux. He's a decent, sympathetic man struggling with inner demons and with a mystery that threatens to destroy him and his community. Bart Paul knows his High Sierra country inside out. UNDER TOWER PEAK is a beautifully-written, searingly honest literary thriller by a first-rate storyteller and outdoorsman.” (Howard Frank Mosher)

Under Tower Peak has everything I look for in a thriller–big characters, big action, sharp dialogue, and the magic of place. Bart Paul brings the California mountains to life through Iraqi war sniper Tommy Smith, a tough soul who would like to forget that war and get on with his life in the great outdoors. Circumstances conspire against heroes, though, as they often do in thrillers and in life. This book is engaging as a firefight and haunting as a campfire story.” (T. Jefferson Parker, author of The Famous and the Dead and The Jaguar)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Arcade Publishing (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611458366
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611458367
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 5.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (181 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #781,099 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book for the most part, but the ending was terrible. It just kind of stopped without much of a conclusion. When I read the last page (on my kindle) and swiped to continue to the next chapter, I was shocked to find out it was over.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bart Paul's second book, Under Tower Peak, is a compelling, clearly written story of human experience where the traditional western ranching culture intersects with the international drug business. Bart paints vivid word-murals of the high country Eastern Sierra and the folks who make their life there. The book is exciting, beautiful, and a great read.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Suspense/ thriller novels are not usually in a Western story, which made this book so fun to read. Extremely well written, in fact the writing made me think of good literature. The story line had lots of surprising twists, the dialogue was realistic and the detailed description of events were superb. I hope Mr. Paul comes out with another novel soon.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel is so well written and so entertaining that I really hated for it to end. It's a modern Western about cowboys with Cubans filling in for the Indians. And, the plot has the neatest twist I've come across in ages. I certainly hope that Mr. Paul is hard at work even as we speak; I would certainly like to read more from him.

Coy Carpenter
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Light reading. I enjoyed getting to know the characters because I like cowboys; however, these cowboys made childish choices that were compounded by unbelievably poor decisions. Given all of that, I enjoyed the story and recommend it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is billed as a Western thriller, and I suppose it is, but it's more Western than thriller. The plot was a bit ridiculous and convoluted; and the story was marred (at least for me) by long and extraordinarily detailed narrative on horses, packing, and back country geography. That may be of interest to some, but for me it became boring and didn't seem to add much to the story.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It is an easy read. The author paints an excellent picture of the country, the horses, tack etc, so the reader has no problem visualizing everything. The description of this book as a thriller is about right as there is no mystery, no real twists or turns. The reader can tell almost from the beginning what is going to happen, who is going to die,etc. The main character's skills are realistic given his background, so the reader is not left saying "No way". There is really only one incongruity but it is so glaring that the main character has to acknowledge it and admit that he will spend the rest of his life trying to understand how he could make such a bone-headed decision. Nevertheless, the tale is an easy read and doesn't punish the reader in any meaningful way.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Under Tower Peak was recommended by a daily e-mail I get suggesting well-priced e-books. It is not a bad book. Predictable plot (locals find crashed plane in the mountains, drama ensues), and fairly shallow characters, but I still liked it for a quick read on a business trip. The book is as much about the area as the story; I'm sure those familiar with the setting really liked it. One thing I found amusing is how much time the author spends writing about packing. On pretty much every other page they are packing their horses, unpacking them, cinching stuff down, loosening stuff up, laying stuff out, rolling stuff up, unrolling stuff, setting up "kits", feeding horses, hobbling horses, watering horses, etc. As constructive feedback, I think some of that ink could have been better used to further explore the bad guys, background, etc.

I'd give this book 3 1/2 if I could, because four stars seems too high, but three too low, and I appreciate people self publishing, so four it is. ;-)
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