A Book Spy Review: ‘A Promise To Kill’ By Erik Storey

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Clyde Barr, Erik Storey’s highly-skilled, Jack Reacher-like protagonist, returns in A Promise to Kill, the head-turning sequel to last year’s Nothing Short of Dying.

Storey kicks off his second novel with Clyde Barr, a nomad with few worries or concerns, stumbling upon Bud Nicholas, a friendly man who owns a farm just off the Ute Indian reservation in Utah. Barr and Bud hit it off right away, bonding over their shared interests, but the old man starts to have chest pain and falls into cardiac arrest.

Clyde manages to get him to a hospital, where he meets Bud’s daughter, Lawana, a doctor who runs a small clinic in town when she’s not helping with the farm.

Upon finding out that Lawana is widowed, Barr offers to stay and help out until the old man is healthy enough to resume his normal routine. No stranger to hard work, Clyde fits right in and strikes up a friendship with Lawana’s son, Taylor, who immediately looks up to and admires Barr.

After settling in, Barr is happy–for the first time in a long time–and enjoys the simple, yet physically demanding life of a ranch hand…but things don’t stay simple and happy for long. 

After a few run-ins with a violent biker gang called the Reapers, who set up camp ten miles north of town, all hell breaks loose when Barr defends a teenage Ute boy who takes a serious beating from two leather-wearing, hog-riding thugs. After a face-to-face spat with the Reapers’ leader, a mountain of a man named Jury, Clyde is warned to get lost or suffer some painful consequences. 

Choosing door number two, Clyde stays in town, and things begin to escalate, especially after the Reapers kidnap a young girl and Clyde promises to do whatever it takes to protect the small town and the non-violent Ute people who reside on the reservation. What’s unclear, though, are the Reapers’ motives and why they’re interested in the area to begin with. 

As the story unfolds, Clyde and Lawana make a shocking discovery, revealing the truth behind the Reapers and why they’ve shut down and taken over the small town–setting up an impressive, lights-out final act that’s impossible to put down.

For those who haven’t yet discovered Storey and his protagonist, imagine Jack Reacher, but set in the Wild West. Barr is a skilled brawler who has honed his fighting skills all across the globe for one reason or another, and isn’t someone to mess with. Storey, whose style falls somewhere between Lee Child and Craig Johnson, is a natural storyteller who understands what readers are looking for–and delivers in a big way. 

Erik Storey–one of the genre’s brightest new stars–avoids the dreaded “sophomore slump,” delivering another fun, satisfying thriller that’s perfect for fans of C.J. Box, Lee Child, Craig Johnson, and Ace Atkins. 

Book Details

Author: Erik Storey
Series: Clyde Barr #2
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1501124188
Publisher: Scribner 
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 7.5/10  
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