Wednesday, July 09, 2008

CFBA Tour - Wind River

The CFBA tour is highlighting the latest book from adventure writer Tom Morrisey, entitled Wind River.

The Wind River mountain range in western Wyoming is known for its wild beauty and abundant fishing. It is figuratively and literally a world away from Iraq. Ex-marine Ty Perkins returns to this wilderness paradise to escape demons from the Iraq war. He also returns to fulfill a promise to 86-year-old Soren Andeman, the older man who took him fishing when his own dad was dying.

Ty doesn't realize that deadly secrets can be hidden in the idyllic scenery of the Wind River range, and as he helps a weakening Soren, he finds that "you can't outrun the sins of the past."


Tom Morrisey has excellent credentials for writing about adventure, the outdoors, and sportsmen. He is a mountaineer, aviator, shipwreck diver, and explorer, who holds a Full Cave certification from the National Speleological Society - Cave Diving Section. He writes for several travel/adventure magazines as well.

His first novels tapped into this wealth of knowledge. They were straight forward adventure and suspense novels involving diving and other adrenaline-laced activities. Then he took a turn with his last novel, In High Places (with my review here), using his experience of climbing as the setting for a tale of the heart; a relationship between a father and son.

Wind River continues this new direction, spinning a tale of forgiveness, confession, and justice to the tune of peaceful mountain lakes and the camaraderie of fly fishing between an old man and his protege. Morrisey skillfully combines his vast knowledge of the outdoors with a touching tale of relationship and even deeper themes to ponder.

Young ex-marine Ty Perkins struggles with consequences from his time in Iraq, even to the point of shunning his wife Angela. Some of the emotion conveyed here is very well written, portraying real life in a way that maintains a dignity about it. The struggles of Soren Andeman, a mountaineer who pioneered trails all over the Wind River range and who is now fighting is aging body for one last trip, is also deeply felt. The characters are deep pools for reflection and highly enjoyable.

Any fan of fly-fishing should delight in Morrisey's care with details. The reader sees his extensive knowledge shine through, without losing anyone with too much detail. I live a few hundred miles from the setting of the book, and I can attest to his great touch in using the setting effectively in the story.

There were two aspects that caught my attention as drawbacks. The back cover paints a more suspenseful picture than the book actually gives. The blurb makes the book seem like it was more of a cross between his earlier pure suspense work and In High Places. It actually falls firmly in the shadow of High Places, which is not a bad thing at all, but I expected a little more jeopardy through the book. Morrisey does very well with the emotional suspense, but it isn't as adrenaline fueled as I thought. There's also a little letdown with some characters that are introduced for potential conflict that seem to fade away later in the book. I expected a little more out of them.

This is an excellent summer read, perfect for reading while cooling feet in a mountain stream or imagining you were there while on a noisy commute. Tom Morrisey is proving to be a writer of the heart as well as building quality suspense in the context of outdoor adventure. He is a writer that fans of fiction, both men and women, should pick up.


  1. Excellent review, Jason, and I totally agree about the over-hyped blurb. It isn't even close to being a suspense novel. I also agree it follows in the footsteps of In High Places, although I loved In High Places while just liking Wind River. Good job!

  2. Hi Jason. I found your blog through randomly surfing and since I also love writing and am Christian thought I'd say hi!