The Abrupt Physics of Dying by Paul E Hardisty
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The Abrupt Physics of Dying

Published Date: 5th November 2014

Available in

Ebook

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EBook
9781910633069
£6.99
December 2014
Paperback
9781910633052
£8.99
March 2015
Audiobook
B011VPHX8O
£22.99
August 2015

Description

Claymore Straker is trying to forget a violent past. Working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen, he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has a choice: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company’s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die. As the country descends into civil war and village children start dying, Clay finds himself caught up in a ruthless struggle between opposing armies, controllers of the country’s oil wealth, Yemen’s shadowy secret service, and rival terrorist factions. As Clay scrambles to keep his friend alive, he meets Rania, a troubled journalist. Together, they try to uncover the truth about Al Urush. But nothing in this ancient, unforgiving place is what it seems. Accused of a murder he did not commit, put on the CIA’s most-wanted list, Clay must come to terms with his past and confront the powerful forces that want him dead. Gritty, gripping and shocking, The Abrupt Physics of Dying will not only open your eyes. but keep them glued to the page until the final, stunning denouement is reached.

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The Abrupt Physics of Dying was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger!

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‘A stormer of a thriller – vividly written, utterly topical, totally gripping’ Peter James

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‘This is a remarkably well-written, sophisticated novel in which the people and places, as well as frequent scenes of violent action, all come alive on the page…This is a really excellent debut’ Literary Review

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‘A page-turning adventure that grabs you from the first page and won’t let go’ Edward Wilson

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‘An exceptional debut, beautifully written, blisteringly authentic, heartstoppingly tense and unusually moving. Definite award material’ Paul Johnston

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 ‘A big, powerful, sophisticated and page-turning thriller – thought-provoking and prescient’ Eve Seymour

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Part of the CWA #DaggerReads promotion with booksellers & libraries

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‘Sharon Wheeler, visiting lecturer in journalism, Birmingham City University, is reading Paul E. Hardisty’s The Abrupt Physics of Dying (Orenda, 2015). “A hero with a sherpa’s worth of personal baggage, backed up by a feisty female journalist: it sounds like standard thriller fare. But this is anything but: it’s as bleak and stunning as its Yemen setting – and also topical and fiercely intelligent. And it’s not often you can say the latter of a thriller!’

The Times

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Wonderful interview on BBC World Service’s Outlook programme: From Goat Herder to Top Geologist

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‘This debut thriller by a Canadian author with a wealth of experience in the Middle East and the oil industry has a ring of truth, but the author’s deep knowledge of the settings never slows down the non-stop action, with distant echoes of a more-moral minded Jack Reacher or Jason Bourne. A forceful first novel by a writer not afraid of weighty issues and visibly in love with the beauty of the Yemen and desert landscapes his protagonists travel through’
Maxim Jakubowski, LoveReading UK

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‘So begins a labrynthine journey through the politics and economics of Yemen disguised as a breathless conspiracy thriller. Straker gets wind that the oil company is despoiling tribal lands but when he tries to bring the issue to light, international and local forces try to stop him. A trenchant and engaging thriller that unravels this mysterious land in cool, precise sentences’
Stav Sherez, Catholic Herald

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‘So what was it that grabbed me about this book? Was it the stunning setting? Was it the beautifully written prose or powerful characterization and the fact that Clay Straker is a man you’d follow to the end of the line? Was it the timeliness of a story that chimes with the fact that we all need to wake up to the importance of nurturing and protecting the planet on which we depend? All of this played with me … I’m a sucker for genuine thrillers with powerful redemptive themes, but what spoke to me more strongly than anything was the courage, integrity and passion with which this novel is written’ Eve Seymour, Cheltenham Standard

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‘Smart, gripping, superbly crafted oil industry thriller’ Helen Giltrow (author of The Distance)

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‘Just a superb debut from Paul Hardisty, and an inspired reconfiguration of the genre. With all this going on, perhaps the world needed a great eco-thriller in 2015 a little more than we needed another superhero infusion. We got one.’
Yusuf Toropov

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The Abrupt Physics of Dying has been described as an eco thriller as it exposes the dark side of the oil business where money is all and children poisoned by polluted water are seen as acceptable collateral damage in the quest for wealth and power. What I thought was going to be a forgettable page turner actually turned out to be something far more thoughtful, both on a wider scale and at a more personal level as the story examines the dehumanising effect of conflict on Straker. The writing is beautifully descriptive, Yemen is vividly and evocatively brought to life yet alongside this the action is often unflinchingly and brutally violent’ Karen Cole

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‘Far from being your average page-turner, Hardisty has a superb command of language, creating evocative images of land which many will be unfamiliar with. The issues covered are very contemporary with seemingly impossible battles against overbearing figures and organisations. It’s an exciting, absorbing and provocative stormer’

Kevin Freeburn

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‘Think Jack Reacher and then some … adventurous and fascinatingly topical’ Tracey Walsh

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‘A brilliant thriller, with so many twists and turns it will make you dizzy’ Tracy Shephard

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‘The story is action packed, brilliantly paced and written in a voice that you simply don’t want to let go of. I found myself pulled back to its pages time and time again as I hungered to know what was going to happen to Clay next. At 430 pages it is a longer read than many other books I have read lately but is so beautifully written that you won’t mind it’s length one bit. In fact by the end you’ll find yourself wishing it was a little longer’ Gunnar Davíðsson

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‘Wow. Just wow. The author knows his subject incredibly well but he doesn’t hit you over the head with his knowledge. Instead he leads you through the tale, at a breakneck pace, littering the narrative with painful and thought-provoking truths. The sense of place is conjured beautifully and the author’s fondness and respect for the people and the region comes across in spades. If you need a point of reference think, John Le Carre’s A Constant Gardener.
The Abrupt Physics of Dying is a thriller with heart and a conscience. Absolutely recommended’

Michael J. Malone

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The Abrupt Physics of Dying has a number of interesting psychological and sociological themes. Other than corruption and greed, fear and faith/trust are juxtaposed throughout the novel … The Abrupt Physics of Dying is a tense, gritty thriller with a gripping plot and wonderful descriptive writing’ Vicky Newham

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Top Reads of 2015, Sarah Ward, Crime Pieces

Top 10 of 2015, Dave Hardy

Top Thriller Reads of 2015, Crime Thriller Girl

Top Crime Novels of 2015, The Telegraph

Books of the Year, Anne Cater, Random Things Through My Letterbox

First person feature, Culture, Irish Times

 

Author

Canadian by birth, Paul Hardisty has spent 25 years working all over the world as an engineer, hydrologist and environmental scientist. He has roughnecked on oil rigs in Texas, explored for gold in the Arctic, mapped geology in Eastern Turkey (where he was befriended by PKK rebels), and rehabilitated water wells in the wilds of Africa. He was in Ethiopia in 1991 as the Mengistu regime fell, and was bumped from one of the last flights out of Addis Ababa by bureaucrats and their families fleeing the rebels. In 1993 he survived a bomb blast in a café in Sana’a, and was one of the last Westerners out of Yemen before the outbreak of the 1994 civil war. Paul is a university professor and Director of Australia’s national land, water, ecosystems and climate adaptation research programmes. He is a sailor, a private pilot, keen outdoorsman, conservation volunteer, and lives in Western Australia with his family.

 

Visit: paulehardisty.wix.com/paulehardisty

Online Reviews.

‘A thriller of the highest quality, with the potential to one day stand in the company of such luminaries as Bond and Bourne … The narrative twists and turns, you have no more idea than Straker who to trust, who to believe, and you share in his fear and frustrations … This is intelligent writing that both entertains and challenges and it deserves a wide audience’ Live Many Lives

 

The Abrupt Physics of Dying is compelling reading and tackles subject matter not often encountered: I urge you to grab this book, it is both dynamic and different and I enjoyed it immensely’ Grab this Book

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‘From the beginning to the end – both of which are played out at gunpoint – this novel is non-stop action. It’s thrilling, but also highly sophisticated, and offers a startling look at what developed countries will do in their hunger for resources’ CrimeFictionLover

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‘I was a big fan, in 2013, of Terry Hayes’s I Am Pilgrim  and I hadn’t up to now read a conspiracy thriller which came close to it in terms of quality. But Hardisty’s book was an excellent read with a similar sweep across the politics of international money-making’ Sarah J. Ward, Crime Pieces

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‘A great page-turner with all the elements that make a cracking thriller. There’s plenty of action, twists and turns, skulduggery and an evil oil company – what more could you want?! This is one of those books that makes you want to turn to Google and find out how much is fact and how much fiction’ Novel Heights

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At heart this is first and foremost a cracking good thriller … a lot of good stuff here not often found in a crime novel’ Crime Novel Reader

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‘Hardisty details Yemen, the political climate and the science with an authority that’s never questionable and with a delivery that’s polished enough to make you wonder whether he hasn’t secretly been publishing thrillers under a different name for years … Everything you look for in a good thriller is here in abundance: a brooding hero with a troubled past, faraway locations, shady characters with even shadier motives, a love-interest, taught dialogue, corporate and moral deceit, the underdog risking it all with potentially disastrous ramifications, plot twists and counter twists and, of course, a bit of action … a thriller as assured, gripping, well paced and finely detailed as they come’ Tony Hill, Mumbling About Music

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The Abrupt Physics of Dying is a tense thriller, the violence and corruption is vividly portrayed, yet there is nothing in the story that shouldn’t be there … If you enjoy a story that is well-written with a plot that twists and turns, and leads you astray, then I’d recommend this. If you want a hero that is a little bit unusual, with his own issues, but is determined and so well created, then I’d recommend this. If you want a complex and intelligent thriller, then I’d really really recommend this’ Anne Cater, Random Things Through My Letterbox

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The Abrupt Physics of Dying was one of those books that nothing could make me put down. It’s an eco-thriller, which in my eyes was a pretty epic thriller made different and perhaps more relevant, with its focus on the politics of oil … For Abrupt Physics of Dying to be a debut novel, a brilliant debut novel, there’s surely only exciting things to come from Paul E. Hardisty, starting with next year’s sequel The Evolution of Fear. I half-expected [this] to be a little cautious, a little held-back but the author writes like you’d expect from an established thriller writer – a protagonist blessed with fantastic characterisation, a detailed setting and twists to boot. A sensational first novel for author and publisher’ Sophie, Reviewed the Book

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‘When I first heard about this book in Reykjavik last year, I immediately had a “that sounds cool” response, and was curious. Now I’ve read more about the author and the story, I’m very, very intrigued. Yemen is also a new setting to me for a crime novel, and I’m curious to see how Hardisty, who worked there, evokes its atmosphere and setting” Craig Sisterson

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‘I read the Koran. Twice. I didn’t understand it at all the first time. I have a lot of Muslim friends. One of them called me from Egypt the day the Twin Towers came down, crying over the phone for an hour, he was so upset. I flirted for a while with letting myself be converted. It’s a compelling faith, in a lot of ways, it infects you’

Q&A with Paul Hardisty, DEBUT SPOTLIGHT Shaz’s Book Boudoir

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‘The story rockets along, twisting and turning amid clouds of dust from the Yemeni deserts, pausing occasionally to put aside the AK 47s and take tea amid the generosity of an Islamic culture Hardisty clearly understands and admires His descriptions of landscape are excellent, drawing you into the hard land of Yemen … Hardisty is a Canadian by birth but has been around the globe a few times in countries tailor made to produce a book which can take you to places most of us do not go; where power comes from the barrel of a gun, honour is a life and death matter, and politics is truly tribal. An exceptional debut’ Tim Marshall, The What and the Why

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‘Just occasionally, a book comes along to restore your faith in a genre – and Paul Hardisty’s The Abrupt Physics of Dying does this in spades. So if you’re terminally bored with ‘perm two from the UK, US, Russia, China or Israel and then find a maverick and feisty gal to save the world in 400 pages’, this stunning debut from both the author and new indie publisher Orenda Books is for you. It’s absolutely beautifully written and atmospheric – and it provides an unrivalled look at Yemen, a country few of us know much about. And secondly, it’s horribly prescient. I was reading it when the Charlie Hebdo shootings took place in Paris. Like Dan Fesperman, Hardisty has the unerring ability to show us the real people behind the headlines – often on the other side of the world from the usual suspects of the UK, US and Russia … Hardisty resists the temptation to tie everything up too neatly – so it’ll be an impatient wait for a year until Clay and his demons return … In the meantime, take your time with The Abrupt Physics of Dying and appreciate intelligent, quality writing’ Sharon Wheeler, Crime Review

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‘I am due to meet Paul Hardisty for a chat about his new and debut thriller … What a BOOK!’ Interview with Paul E. Hardisty, The Book Trail

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‘Not only is the plot well-developed and entirely intricate, but the written content is so tight, and so polished, it deserves individual commendation here. Hardisty is a true wordsmith with respect to his ability to transfer a literal landscape onto a page … A well-crafted, admirably constructed, and convincing tale of modern corruption, touching on topical issues, The Abrupt Physics of Dying has introduced Hardisty as a serious player in the (eco-) thriller genre, and I expect impressive things from him over the coming years’ Charley Barnes, Mad Hatter Reviews

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‘Claymore Straker, the protagonist, is (inevitably, I suppose) someone I might have been, had decisions and circumstances been different (except that he’s braver, stronger and gutsier than me, better looking, and a lot more screwed up). I do the same work that he does’ Q&A with Paul E. Hardisty Ayo Onatade, Shots Magazine

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Stunning debut thriller from Canadian writer Paul E. Hardisty … Orenda Books is onto a winner. This is a well-written, pulsating read, diving head long in to the dangerous world of Middle Eastern Politics, religion, oil and Western oil companies. From beginning to end you are left wondering on who can be trusted to tell the truth. An exceptional debut thriller … well-written, the prose clear and crisp, the voice clear and authentic. Tense and moving, it grabs you by the throat’ Atticus Finch

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‘This thrilling debut opens with a tense, utterly gripping roadside hijacking. In an instant, we’re flung headfirst into an unforgiving, sun-scorched landscape, a lawless country riven with corruption and tribal tensions … Hardisty’s prose is rich, descriptive and elegant, but break-neck pace is the king. You feel Straker’s pain every step of the way. The beatings, bone-shattering gunshot wounds, and his desperate, parched-throat quest through the pitiless Yemen landscape. Set in the run-up to the country’s 1994 civil war and against a rising tide of Islamic terrorism, The Abrupt Physics of Dying asks big and often unsettling questions. But above all, it’s an exhilarating, white-knuckle ride’ Paddy Magrane, Guest Review, Crime Book Club

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‘A knowledgeable and intelligent thriller which, despite being set two decades ago, feels fresh and thoroughly relevant to today’s geopolitical situation. This is a story of the Middle East in chaos, fear of Islamic terrorism and the deliberate environmental destruction wrought on communities by businesses only interested in profits rather than social responsibility … We can hear the noise, feel the heat and even taste the poisoned water. Hardisty clearly knows his stuff and has created an evocative portrait of Yemen’ Louise Reviews

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‘It is clear that the author’s background and experience has enabled him to write a thriller that is so rich and detailed in description that you can almost feel the searing heat and visualise the vast endless desert … a very powerful and compelling message of corporate greed and the deliberate destruction of life and land. One to be recommended’ Karen Cocking, My Reading Corner

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‘Where this book stands out is the fantastic writing, the stunning imagery … the heat, the fear, the colour, smells, and tension of each scene. I felt sympathy for the so called terrorists and extremists whose land was being plundered, something that the Western media does what it can to suppress. Within the plot the reader is shown how populations are manipulated into supporting damaging causes for economic benefit. Distant races are dehumanised and presented as a threat. Those who do nothing become passively complicit in allowing the rape of lands to sustain power. These messages, while uncomfortable to consider, are a part of the plot but do not overshadow a fast-moving and compelling story. The intrigue is gripping, the characters complex, the denouement satisfying’

 Jackie Law, Never Imitate

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I seriously cannot remember the last time I was this gripped by a thriller … Mr Hardisty brings Yemen to vivid colourful life, the people and the hardships, the politics and the realities and wraps it up in a beautiful package of really exceptional storytelling, with an authentic edge which means you honestly believe every moment of it … a modern thriller with a literary edge, one that could equally win the highest awards’
Liz Loves Books

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‘I know the place, or rather parts of the place, reasonably well. I’ve met some amazing people there, seen some pretty sad and beautiful and scary things there. I hope, one day, the people of Yemen can enjoy a time when it might be possible for people to travel the country in relative safety, maybe even make a film version of The Abrupt Physics of Dying there. I think it would make a pretty good movie’ Guest Post with Reader Dad

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When a novel opens this way, you know it’s not for the faint-hearted … From the beginning, The Abrupt Physics of Dying grabs you by the throat and never really lets go. In true Bond and Bourne tradition, Clay is a maverick who often operates outside the rules. The novel’s plot is fiercely gripping yet labyrinthine; each time you think you’re nearing a solution, you find instead another twist … his experience shows in the urgent authenticity of his writing. Here we have a novel, a writer and a publisher to watch’ Claire Thinking

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‘I’ve realised that I don’t need much to be happy’ Guest Post with Crime Thriller Girl

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‘Through the years I’ve learned that my most creative and productive writing time is morning. I still work full-time, at a job I think is important for the world. So whenever I can, I sequester a morning (eight ‘til noon), get up fresh from dreaming and go and sit outside somewhere (our back yard in Perth), put on my headphones, crank up the music, and write. These days, that’s one maybe two days a week. Not nearly enough. Writing hurts. It hurts most when you can’t do it’ Guest Blog with Susi Holliday

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The Abrupt Physics of Dying is not the sort of book I would usually read, but I enjoyed it immensely. The sex, violence and corruption had shades of Robert Ludlum, and the relationship between Clay and Rania was reminiscent of a Bond romance (of the Daniel Craig, as opposed to Sean Connery, era).  If you fancy a fast-paced thriller to brighten up this winter, this is it’ Amy Pirt, This Little Bag of Dreams

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‘This epic story is a spell-binding read. Highly atmospheric, it is grounded in the Yemen landscape, with the tension of a country on the brink of civil war sparking from every page … a thought-provoking and heart-wrenching book. A real page-turner with a pulse-poundingly fast pace’ Crime Thriller Girl

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‘Well-paced with plenty of action … I look forward to reading more from this author. Definitely a cracking debut’ Bleach House Library

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 ‘It is set against the harsh terrain that is Yemen “the flat stone strewn uplands, the hogback mesas, the thermal blur of the edge of the world …” This book is a sensory and gripping read’
Trip Fiction review followed by interview with Karen Sullivan about Abrupt Physics
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‘The story and setting remind me of Taylor Stevens’ series of thrillers starring Vanessa Michael Monroe: international intrigue, sophisticated treatment of non-western cultures – which means neither demonized nor romanticized, abundant gray areas where there are no simple choices, and peopled with the sorts of psychopaths addicted to adrenaline. The science reminds me of Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta novels. All of these similarities are good things but Abrupt Physics is not derivative. This is a modern treatment of a centuries-old conflict between indigenous peoples and usurpers bent on exploitation, us and them’ Texas Book Lover

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‘The well-written almost-poetic vivid descriptions are unusual in a book of this genre, showing how the author Paul E. Hardisty has a gift for detailed but fast-paced writing’ Victoria Goldman, Off-the-Shelf Reviews

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‘Civil war, terrorism, corporate ruthlessness and corruption, and harsh global realities are examined in a thrilling action fuelled style that has enough authenticity and atmosphere to sink the reader into the story’

Crime Thriller Hound

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‘With fiction, you can tell the truth’ 9mm Interview with Paul Hardisty

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Novelist Paul Hardisty writes about Yemen: A country he knows and loves. Guest post, 

The What and the Why

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‘Think Jack Reacher and then some. This book is adventurous and fascinatingly topical. The author brings home to us the realities of the world today with themes of global exploitation and discomfort. Recommended for action thriller fans who’d like to try a bit more realism with the thrills’
Tracey Book Lover

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‘This is a fantastic novel and the character of Clay Straker holds great promise for future novels. Hardisty writes with incredible passion and technical precision and the reader can never be quite sure who is good and who is bad, which keeps the reader gripped to the end. His exquisite descriptions of Yemen and the extensive scientific knowledge that he brings to the narrative provides the reader with an epic reading experience that will have them yearning to know what happens next’ Segnalibro Blog

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‘Perth-based Canadian writer Paul E Hardisty’s first novel The Abrupt Physics of Dying (from new publisher Orenda Books) is an eco-thriller set in Yemen. Claymore Straker, the novel’s protagonist, is an South African ex-veteran schooled in the physical aspects of warfare, now a scientist working for an oil corporation. He starts the novel as an institution man through-and-through, but when he’s kidnapped at gunpoint he’s introduced to the deeper ethnic, religious, moral and socio-political complexities of a country at war with itself. Fast-paced and cleverly written, this novel has bestseller written all over it’ Writing WA (Western Australia)

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‘This gripping debut eco-thriller is largely based on the experiences of its author Paul E Hardisty. Here he explains how Yemen has become an unwitting battleground for conflict between the West and Islamic militants’ Foyles guest blog

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‘The decisions we make right now’ Guest feature at The Life Sentence

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‘The land is Yemen, the protagonist an engineer in country to check water quality for an oil company, and you know what happens next: restive tribesmen, a violent and oppressive central government,  a venal corporation,  a military veteran questioning his own past, a— but I don’t want to make the book sound more melodramatic than it is, because Hardisty portrays the milieu (its rugged topography and, in judicious glimpses, its history) so well’

Detectives Beyond Borders

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Interview on Talk Radio Europe. Click here to listen.

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WALKING THE RIDGELINE: Interview with Paul E. Hardisty in Don’t Do It magazine

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‘What I thought was going to be a forgettable page turner actually turned out to be something far more thoughtful, both on a wider scale and at a more personal level as the story examines the dehumanising effect of conflict on Straker. The writing is beautifully descriptive, Yemen is vividly and evocatively brought to life yet alongside this the action is often unflinchingly and brutally violent’ Half Past a Freckle Blog Spot

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‘The story is gritty, action packed and topical. Paul’s background as a Hydrologist and engineer comes out in the scientific detail and his experiences from working in various parts of the world including Yemen flow off the page and you can feel the desert heat and the sand swirl around you … prepare to be wowed by a new kid on the block’ The Library Door

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‘It’s a measure of the wonderfully descriptive style of writing that The Abrupt Physics of Dying works as well as it does. The sense of place, and the way that the climate, the landscape and the people all combine within a location very foreign to that which many of us live in is evocative’ Australian Crime

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Announcements: shortlisted for The John Creasy (New Blood) Dagger,=, The Guardian / The Times (South Africa)

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Paul Hardisty talks to the NZ Herald

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‘The book is a well-paced thriller. The protagonist, Claymore Straker, is working as an oil company engineer in the wilds of Yemen when he is hijacked at gunpoint by Islamic terrorists. Clay has two choices: help uncover the cause of a mysterious sickness afflicting the village of Al Urush, close to the company?s oil-processing facility, or watch Abdulkader, his driver and close friend, die.’ Friends of Lake Claremont Newsletter

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‘Paul is a geologist working in the oil business in the middle east, and some of his experiences inspired him to write this book about corruption and exploitation in that business. Loosely based on his experiences it is a work of fiction. Again a fun read, well paced and not challenging in technical details the story carried on further than I expected and there will be a second book. The main character reminds me a little of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, a little too perfect in his capabilities but not quite that bad.’ Gameplanet forums

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Recommended Father’s Day reading by Ray Glickman

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‘This is an exceptional and innovative novel.  And an important one.  Hardisty appears to know his territory intimately and describes in mind-grabbing detail its culture, its beliefs and its hopes.  I can’t praise it highly enough’ review by Susan Moody in Promoting Crime

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‘Paul E. Hardisty dazzles, his strong writing and talent of a sharp narrative configuration impresses. A rising author worthy of notice, his future promising. I’m impatient for more from Hardisty and Straker’ The Discerning Reader

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‘It’s been a long time since an action packed narrative has commanded my full intention; talk about a white-knuckle, nail-biter ride. Action, adventure, greed, politics, even a subtle romance forms a rip-roaring plot’ My Book Self

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Interview with Paul Hardisty in The Big Thrill

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‘This is a morality tale for our times. In Yemen, the poor are dying and no one is bothered. Everything is about money and oil. Lives are a price worth paying. The oil company operates above the law, complete with bribery and corruption. As a thriller, we get thrust into this world and get to smell, taste and feel the wretchedness of the situation. The Abrupt Physics of Dying is shocking, exciting and completely believable. With a touch of romance, a fascinating and colourfully vibrant Yemen and a lovely hero in Claymore Straker, this all adds up to an impressive début thriller. A book to keep you up all night!’ Northern Crime

Reviews