Celine: A novel (Vintage Contemporaries) (Paperback)
Heller (The Dog Stars and The Painter) has outdone himself with his latest novel, the story of a feisty and elegant aging private investigator who specializes in missing persons cases. Her latest case involves a young woman whose father disappeared 23 years earlier, apparently dragged to hi death by a grizzly bear near Yellowstone Park. Sixty-eight year old Celine and her husband, Pete, borrow her son's camper, and, traveling through Wyoming and Montana (beautifully described by outdoor writer Heller) try to track down the truth of what happened to the missing man. Not age nor emphysema nor a young Navy Seal can stop our crack-shot heroine who may be the most delightful private investigator since Miss Marple. Along the way we learn something about Celine's background, her patrician upbringing and her closet's skeletons, the experiences that have made her compassionate and passionate about her work. There's a lightness to this third of Heller's novels, but it's enough of a thriller to keep the pages turning as some dark secrets are uncovered. Recommended.— Alice
March 2017 Indie Next List
“There should be an excused absence from life when a new Peter Heller novel is released to the world. There is a pace and a quality to his writing that will make you want to drink it down in one gulp. Heller's strong narrative voice and complex plotting have always stood out to me and Celine is another example of this. Loosely based on Heller's mother, Celine is a hard-nosed - if a bit worn down - private investigator living in post-9/11 Brooklyn. She has a stellar reputation, but when she is sent on a case to locate a young woman's missing father, it's clear that her age (and lifestyle) has caught up with her. You will fall in love with Celine and connect with everyone who populates this book. I would give just about anything to follow her on more adventures.”
— Katelyn Phillips (E), WORD, Brooklyn, NY
Esquire Best Books of 2017
Minnesota Public Radio Best of 2017
The Morning News 2018 Tournament of Books Pick
New York Times bestselling author of The Dog Stars
“[A] gorgeously wrought story.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Heller is a gifted writer…Celine is such a joy to be with.” —NPR
“Ingenious… Like Mark Twain and Toni Morrison, Heller is a rare talent.” —Elle
Celine is not your typical private eye. With prep school pedigree and a pair of opera glasses for stakeouts, her methods are unconventional but extremely successful. Working out of her jewel box of an apartment nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge, Celine has made a career out of tracking down missing persons nobody else can find. But when a young woman named Gabriela employs her expertise, what was meant to be Celine's last case becomes a scavenger hunt through her own memories, the secrets there and the surprising redemptions.
Gabriela's father was a National Geographic photographer who went missing in Wyoming twenty years ago and while he was assumed to have been mauled by a grizzly his body was never found. Celine and her partner set out to Yellowstone National Park to follow a trail gone cold but soon realize that somebody desperately wants to keep this case closed. Combining ingenious plotting with crystalline prose and sweeping natural panoramas, Peter Heller gives us his finest work to date.
About the Author
PETER HELLER is the best-selling author of The Painter and The Dog Stars. He holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and a longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men's Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the author of several nonfiction books, including Kook,The Whale Warriors, and Hell or High Water: Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River. He lives in Denver, Colorado.
"Heller impresses in this fine novel about parents and children and the secrets we try to keep from one another… The novel glows." —Marc Bojanowski, The New York Times Book Review
"In this gorgeously wrought story—equal parts character study and mystery—a young woman asks Celine, a badass Brooklyn private eye, to investigate the death of her father, a nature photographer who may or may not have been mauled and eaten by bears in Yellowstone… Captivating." —Entertainment Weekly’s "The Must List: Top 10 Things We Love This Week" Grade: A-
"Terrific... Celine is tough, tired, and very funny—exactly the sort of person you want to spend 300 pages with... It’s a pulpy, twisty plot... Heller stuffs it with tingling mysteries and thrilling solutions. He keeps everything moving thanks to an increasingly tense plot... Still, the best thing about Celine is that it’s a terrific piece of fiction." —Craig Fehrman, Outside Magazine
"Ingenious... Like Mark Twain and Toni Morrison, Heller is a rare talent... Irresistible suspense... Masterful, emotional and action-packed... One of this year's most unforgettable characters. It's as if Heller took the tender yet tough-as-nails personality of writer Annie Proulx and cast her on the page, in all her plainspoken, intellectually impeccable, deeply wise—and wise-ass—glory." —Lisa Shea, Elle
"Celine and Pete... launch a deceptively leisurely investigation showcasing Celine’s appreciation for public libraries and passion for firearms, venturing into international cover-ups, and culminating in hilarious showdowns in which wit is the mightiest weapon... This captivating, tender, brainy, and funny tale of the mysterious powers of beauty and grief, nature and family will leave readers hoping that Heller is planning a National Park series featuring this stealthy, irrepressible duo." —Donna Seaman, Booklist (Starred Review)
"Celine is a paradox, a Sarah Lawrence blue blood who is also a licensed PI, living near the Brooklyn Bridge... Heller blends suspense with beautiful descriptive writing of both nature and civilization to create a winner." —Robert E. Brown, Library Journal (Starred Review)