Cover image for Black Mountain
Black Mountain
Standiford, Les.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, [2000]

Physical Description:
320 pages ; 24 cm
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Through five Deal novels and a stand-alone thriller, Spill, Les Standiford has acquired a passionate readership of fans, critics, and fellow writers. Nothing in his past work, however, is comparable to the adrenaline rush that is Black Mountain--the story of a Wyoming wilderness trek beset by men of dark intentions, and the extraordinary battle for survival that follows. It is a novel filled with intricate plotting, razor-sharp prose, and surprising characters--but Standiford's colleagues tell it best:"Black Mountain is a fabulous tale set in the rugged wilderness of the American West. What begins as a simple hike in the woods for a group of city dwellers quickly turns into a perilous trek, where every step is more harrowing than the last. Just when you think it's safe to take a breath, Standiford tops himself with another pulse-rattling surprise. Complex and stylish, Black Mountain makes James Dickey's Deliverance seem like a frolic in the park with the local Cub Scout troop. Featuring the wildest bad guys who ever pulled on hiking boots, this is Standiford's richest and most compelling work yet. And that's saying something." --James W. Hall"A compelling story, beautifully told by someone who knows the peaks and valleys of Wyoming, and those too of the human soul. Simply wonderful." --Robert B. Parker

Author Notes

Les Standiford is the director of the creative writing program at Florida International University. He has lived in Miami since 1981.

Les Standiford is a historian and author. He has been awarded the Frank O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, a Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Fiction, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and belongs to the Associated Writing Programs, Mystery Writers of America, and the Writers Guild.

Standiford's main non-fiction writings include: Bringing Adam Home: The Abduction that Changed America; The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits; Washington Burning: How a Frenchman's Vision for Our Nation's Capital Survived Congress, the Founding Fathers, and the Invading British Army; Meet You in Hell: Andrew Carnegie, Henry Clay Frick, and the Bitter Partnership That Transformed America; and Last Train to Paradise: Henry Flagler and the Spectacular Rise and Fall of the Railroad that Crossed an Ocean. The last title was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2014. His fiction novels include: Done Deal; Raw Deal; Black Mountain; Bone Key; and Havana Run.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

This latest page-turner by Standiford, author of Spill (1991) and the five Deal novels, is a crime thriller with political overtones. When the governor of New York and potential presidential candidate, Fielding Dawson, sets out on a preplanned wilderness expedition with his wife and a small entourage, he decides to take along Richard Corrigan of the New York City transit police. Corrigan had just saved his life, and the publicity wouldn't hurt. But is Corrigan a hero? He himself doesn't think so and neither does the reader. From the very beginning, the expedition is plagued by strange accidents, which are no accidents. The problem is not who is responsible, but who is ultimately responsible. When the accidents and fatalities pile up beyond statistical probability, the characters, Corrigan especially, begin to have their doubts and fears. Standiford hooks readers from the very first chapter by letting their expectations play out in one direction and suddenly reeling them in from a different angle. Once this tone is set, and reinforced, one can't let go. --Frank Caso

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1991, before Standiford launched his popular and acclaimed John Deal thriller series (Presidential Deal, etc.), he published Spill, an undistinguished novel about environmental disaster in Yellowstone. Now he's written another non-Deal novel. It, too, is set in Wyoming, in the Absaroka wilderness, and, though it boasts vigorous writing with lots of action, it, like Spill, lacks the pungent edge of the Deal stories. Standiford's new hero is Richard Corrigan, a NYC transit cop who takes down a homeless man apparently threatening New York governor Fielding Dawson. In reward, Dawson invites Corrigan to join him and 15 others, including a film crew and pretty USA Magazine reporter Dara Wylie, on a highly publicized foray into the Absaroka. In Wyoming, meanwhile, a pair of hired killers, one man, one woman, are--for reasons revealed only at novel's end--plotting to wipe out the Dawson expedition. They begin by blowing up the plane that deposits the party deep in the mountains. As expedition members struggle by foot back to civilization, they die a few at a time--two are caught in an avalanche, several tumble into a gorge when a bridge collapses. Each mishap seems accidental, but soon Corrigan and the other survivors suspect they're being stalked. More are murdered during a blizzard, leading to a final confrontation between the killers and Corrigan, and to a poorly contrived twist ending. Standiford makes terrific use of his spectacular setting, and his characters carry some depth despite their familiarity, but the plotline is so linear--now one death, now another--that it approaches tedium, despite tense sequences. This is a respectable thriller, but for Standiford fans it's only a so-so deal. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved