Celine A novel

Peter Heller, 1959-

Book - 2017

"From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter, a luminous, spine-tingling novel of suspense--the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past"--

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Subjects
Genres
Suspense fiction
Mystery fiction
Published
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2017.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Item Description
"This is a Borzoi book"--Title page verso.
Physical Description
333 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780451493897
0451493893
Main Author
Peter Heller, 1959- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Heller's The Painter (2014) verged on crime fiction, and now he takes the plunge, once again portraying an artist, this time a blue-blooded sculptor with a fondness for skulls who also happens to be a righteous PI. Living in Brooklyn and about to turn 70 two years after 9/11, former avid smoker Celine is suffering from emphysema and determined to concentrate on her art and her "strange cat" husband, Pete, whom she met in AA. But Celine became a sleuth to help people find missing family members, having survived high-society scandals and wrenching losses, so she can't say no when young, striking Gabriela asks her to determine if her father, a famous National Geographic photographer, was actually killed by a bear in Yellowstone 23 years ago. Celine and Pete head West, borrow her son's camper, and 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. As for laconic Pete, he's got his beloved's back and her oxygen. 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. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Heller caught everyone's attention with his debut novel, The Dog Stars, and did even better with The Painter; both were national best sellers, and the latter also received MPIBA's Reading the West Book Award, the Colorado Book Award, and a nomination for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His new novel is literary suspense featuring elegant private eye Celine, far from her home base near the Brooklyn Bridge, as she tries to locate a photographer who vanished on the border of Montana and Wyoming. With a 100,000-copy first printing and a six-city tour.. Copyright 2016 Library Journal.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Celine is a paradox, a Sarah Lawrence blue blood who is also a licensed PI, living near the Brooklyn Bridge. She and her partner/husband, Pete, specialize in finding missing persons, with a success rate higher than that of the FBI. The main plot centers on a daughter's quest for her father, who "disappeared" at Yellowstone many years back, supposedly mauled by a grizzly, while a parallel plot has Celine's son seeking the identity of a child Celine birthed in her teens. Hired by the desperate daughter, Celine learns that local trackers and lawmen doubt the bear story, and as she and Pete approach the park, they realize they're being shadowed by an FBI sniper. Clearly, this is meant to remain a closed case. The missing father was a charismatic, world-famous National Geographic photographer who had been in Chile during the overthrow of President Salvador Allende; eventually we learn that he had pictures that compromised the current government. Near the conclusion, the G-man tries to take them out, but the 68-year-old asthmatic Celine is also a quick draw and a crack shot, although to say more would be a spoiler. VERDICT Heller (The Painter) blends suspense with beautiful descriptive writing of both nature and civilization to create a winner. [See Prepub Alert, 9/19/16.]—Robert E. Brown, Oswego, NY Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Despite its intriguing premise, Heller's (The Dog Stars) third novel is a missing persons mystery that never quite finds its mark. Celine, descended from the original governors of the Plymouth Colony, is a well-heeled investigator, the "Prada PI," whose age (68) is still well below her success rate (96%). Gabriela hires her to look into the disappearance of Gabriela's father, a famous nature photographer who years ago was presumed dead after a grizzly attack just outside of Yellowstone National Park. Agreeing with Gabriela that the death appeared staged, Celine and her husband, Pete, retired and almost as resourceful as his wife, head out West. The plucky Celine has her charms, but other characters, such as Elbie Chicksaw, the Montana tracker who studied comparative literature at Dartmouth, ring false, as does some of the dialogue: "You sound like that Neruda poem I love so." The case slowly breaks open, but long flashbacks to Celine's uber-WASPy childhood summers on Fishers Island, N.Y., sap the narrative of momentum, as does a subplot involving Celine's son, who embarks on an missing persons investigation of his own in New England. The majesties and dangers of Yellowstone supply a compelling backdrop against which to set a story about "how easily parents can disappear and families fall apart," and Heller, a gifted nature writer as well as novelist, handles certain set pieces well. But too often the novel seems lost in the wilderness. 100,000-copy announced first printing. (Mar.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter, a luminous, spine-tingling novel of suspense--the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Establishing an excellent record as a missing-persons tracker who specializes in reuniting families to make amends for a loss in her own past, Celine searches for a presumed-dead photographer in Yellowstone only to be targeted by a shadowy figure who would keep the case unsolved. By the best-selling author of The Dog Stars.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A missing-persons tracker who specializes in reuniting families to make amends for a loss in her own past, Celine searches for a presumed-dead photographer in Yellowstone, only to be targeted by a shadowy figure who wants to keep the case unsolved.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter, a luminous, masterful novel of suspense--the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past. Working out of her jewel box of an apartment at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, Celine has made a career of tracking down missing persons, and she has a better record at it than the FBI. But when a young woman, Gabriela, asks for her help, a world of mystery and sorrow opens up. Gabriela's father was a photographer who went missing on the border of Montana and Wyoming. He was assumed to have died from a grizzly mauling, but his body was never found. Now, as Celine and her partner head to Yellowstone National Park, investigating a trail gone cold, it becomes clear that they are being followed--that this is a case someone desperately wants to keep closed. Inspired by the life of Heller’s own remarkable mother, a chic and iconoclastic private eye, Celine is a deeply personal novel, a wildly engrossing story of family, privilege, and childhood loss. Combining the exquisite plotting and gorgeous evocation of nature that have become his hallmarks, Peter Heller gives us his finest work to date.