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Peter Heller Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Dog Stars (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Painter (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Celine (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The River (2019) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Hell Or High Water (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Whale Warriors (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Kook (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Peter Heller is an American author of mystery, thrillers, science fiction, and literary fiction books. He is a contributing editor for the Outside Magazine and a longtime contributor for NPR. Additionally, Peter is also an award-winning adventure writer of several nonfiction books. He holds a master of fine arts from Iowa Writers Workshop in both poetry and fiction.

The Dog Stars

The Dog Stars was a 2012 debut novel by the Denver based author Peter Heller. The author’s previous books documented his Kayaking expeditions in Nepal under the title Hell or High Water, the fight against Japanese commercial whalers under the title The Whale Warriors. These two books laid a strong foundation to explore how an average American man while basic outdoor skills would fare when the apocalypse strikes.
The Dogs Stars is narrated by Hig, a man in his forties who (without complete sentences or quotation marks) begins to fill all the blank spaces in his life almost a decade after a strain of flu has wiped out most of the United States population. He is based in a small Erie country airport in Colorado where he flies twice a day in his 1956 Cessna to patrol the fence, between the airport and the wooded foothills. He was once a construction contractor with dreams to write but his dog Jasper is only what remains in his life.

His only human company in the old deserted airport is a man named Bruce Bangley. Bruce is a soldier who showed up one day in the airport with handguns, assault rifles, grenades, mortars, body armor and much more. His rules are relatively simple; to have a clear mission with an exit strategy and never to negotiate. Hig is a huntsman and fisherman who can read terrain maps track and also take care of himself as his human Bangley, but he violates the rule. His loneliness makes him question whether there is more to living than surviving. He dislikes killing anything and only shoots when no more options left or when he’s almost killed.

On the edge of the airport perimeter fence is a camp of Mennonite, who Hig’s friend calls them “Druids.” They are sickened by a strange blood disease that infected some of the flu survivors. Much to Bangley’s un-liking; Hig visits the Druids, giving them supplies when signaled by them. The other people Bangley and Hig make contact with are the raiders, a group of people drawn across the prairie by the porch light that our man Hig leaves burning at night while he and his dog Jasper take a nap hundred yards away. But during this encounter, only Bangley’s Assault Rifle-10 sniper rifle does the talking. No negotiations.
We also come to know that Hig is unable to let go of his beloved wife Melissa, whom they spent their time in Denver. He makes a trip back home for a single item, a collection of poems Stories That Could Be True written by William Stafford. One of his favorite poems is The Farm on the Great Plains, a story about a man who each year telephones the family home even though his parents are dead and all he hears on the other end is hum. Hig still tunes on the emergency channel every time he flies near airports and phones the tower. One day he receives a response from Grand Junction and decides to investigate much to his partner’s displeasure.

If you’ve ever had a roommate, you’ll quickly recognize Bruce Bangley’s qualities. Hig requires him to pay the bills but soon realizes how distinctively they see the world. Like men mostly do, they don’t communicate with each other much, and after nine years, the two already begin to wear on each other nerves as married people do. It’s surprising that Hig considers that regardless of the of all the room they share, that Bruce might one day kill him. But that’s before something extraordinary happens that brings the two together and makes them remember why they met, to begin with.

The Dog Stars is a true depiction of Peter Heller’s laser-sharp research. Not only does the author tells a fiction story about the end of the world but also educates the reader on important survival skills and how to survive doomsday as an average man with no outdoor skills. The author narrates in detail how fishing, aviation, camping, garden, pet relationships, ballistics and much more would affect the daily routine of the last men on earth.

The Painter

After attaining a bestseller status thanks to his debut novel The Dog Stars, Peter Heller makes a stunning return with a blistering beautiful and wild suspenseful story about an artist trying to escape from the demons of his past.

James Stegner has had a share of equal violence and loss. Several years ago, his marriage went south, and he shot a man in a bar but only grieved one thing he ever loved. In the wake of this tragedy, Jim is now a well-known painter, deserted the art scene of Santa Fe to begin a fresh new life in the valleys of remote Colorado. Now he spends most of his days fly-fishing and paint, trying all means possible to live a life without the dark impulses of the past that sometimes overwhelm him. He works alongside a beautiful model and his paintings fetch him fortunes. However one afternoon, he comes across a man assaulting a small horse, and once more this result to a brutal encounter that rips open his quiet and peaceful life. Hunted by men seeking vengeance, James flees Colorado into New Mexico haunted by his persistent conscience.

Peter Heller’s second novel is a stunning tale of love and grief, art and violence. The story of a man who longs for freedom from his dark past, a man determined on using the losses he’s suffered in his life and transform them into a meaningful life. The Painter can be read on two distinct levels. On the surfaces, it’s the story of a tortured artist escaping from the cops and men seeking revenge. On a deeper level, it’s a story about grief and the sinister places it leads us to.

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