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The Wall, by Jeff Long
Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: 2006
Review Posted: 1/21/2007
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

The Wall, by Jeff Long

Book Review by Ray Wallace

Have you read this book?

Jeff Long, author of a number of excellent books including "The Reckoning," "Year Zero," and the amazing subterranean adventure, "The Descent," (no, nothing to do with the British horror movie of the same name) is back with his latest novel, TheWall, a thriller set on and around El Capitan, the three-thousand-foot-high rock formation located inside Yosemite National Park. The story centers around a duo of fifty-something climbers, Hugh and Lewis, who have reunited for one last ascent of the titular wall, their first climb together in about thirty years. In the sixties they were a pair of hotshot wall rats who had become legends after trailblazing a path up the side of the mammoth stone monolith. Now, after the death of Hugh's wife, Annie, and with Lewis on the verge of losing his wife Rachel in a divorce, the two simply wish to spend this time together, to rekindle their friendship and maybe relive a little of their past glory.

But on the day before they are to make their ascent there is an accident. One of a trio of women near the summit of El Cap falls to her death when her rope inexplicably breaks. It is Hugh who discovers her body in the woods. He also has a strange encounter with a homeless man named Joshua at the scene of the young woman's death. Soon there is news that the two other women are trapped upon the wall's face. Bad omens indeed, but Hugh and Lewis know that if they do not go through with what they have come here for then odds are they will never climb El Cap again. With the morning they begin their ascent.

More omens confront the climbers and it isn't long before Lewis loses his nerve. Just as the duo is about to abort the ascent, Augustine, a young rescuer who works for the park rangers, approaches them and recruits Hugh in an attempt to save the two women still stranded near the top of the wall. Augustine has history with one of the women and he is desperate to get to her. He and Hugh undertake a harrowing journey toward the eye, an indentation in the wall where the women are believed to be stranded. It has been days since there has been any contact with the women and there is considerable doubt, at least in Hugh's mind, whether anyone will be found alive there. Once Hugh reaches the eye he realizes too late that he should have heeded the omens and never come here, that there are dark and mysterious powers beyond his comprehension at work along the wall. And there is nothing accidental about any of the terrible incidents that have taken place since Hugh and Lewis returned for there one last confrontation with El Cap.

With The Wall, Jeff Long presents us with another top notch thriller. Plenty of tension and action, confrontations with mysterious and possibly supernatural powers, all written with a rock climber's expertise in what is probably the author's most streamlined narrative to date. With each novel, Mr. Long further establishes himself as one of the best thriller/adventure writers working today. And as with all of his works, this one should not be missed.
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