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Suspenseful Novel: The Painter by Peter Heller

Updated on August 29, 2014

The Painter by Peter Heller

Fishing is integral to story in The Painter.
Fishing is integral to story in The Painter. | Source

Jim Stegner Comes to Life

Peter Heller is a master storyteller using spare language to tell tales that draw the reader in, savoring each page, wanting more. The Painter is a novel that keeps you turning the pages.

Jim Stegner is the painter. He's a big man, tall with a bushy beard, who loves to do two things: fish and paint.

Set in Colorado and New Mexico where the painter travels, crisscrossing back and forth in this story, the landscape is vividly painted for the reader in words.

The painter lives in his head as well as his scenic world, reliving the past and his regrets while working to stay alive in his present.

Danger and Suspense in The Painter

Jim Stegner, the main character in The Painter, has a past that he's not exactly proud of. He killed a man and served time in prison for a remark the man made about Stegner's daughter.

This fact along with circumstances that arise keep Stegner in a cycle of violence that makes you nod your head yes and shake your head no while reading this gripping novel.

The beautiful scenery of the region plays off the dangerous path Jim Stegner takes throughout this book.

Discover Colorado Through The Painter

Telluride, Colorado in the vicinity of where The Painter is set.
Telluride, Colorado in the vicinity of where The Painter is set. | Source

The Painter Available on Amazon

This novel about the diverse topics of art and fishing as well as being suspenseful as all get out will draw you in and keep you reading to find out how Jim Stegner, the painter, fares.


Scenic Colorado and New Mexico

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

I first read Heller's novel The Dog Stars and was hooked. I knew I'd want to read anything else he wrote (well, any other novels; he's written some nonfiction books that I haven't checked out yet).

The Dog Stars is set in the future, which is not the type of book I would normally spend my time on, but the characters were so real and came alive in Heller's writing that I was able to quickly overlook this small detail.

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Quote from The Painter

What I mean is: you get this pressure, this internal pressure that builds like a swelling lake and you paint.

It's all you want to do, all you know how to do. And if you focus in the right way, a way you had to learn, you let yourself go.

Landscape painting.
Landscape painting. | Source

Peter Heller, Author

When I read an exceptional book, I always like to check out the author to find out what else they've written and to satisfy my nosy streak.

Peter Heller's website provides just that. His body of work includes two novels:

  • The Dog Stars
  • The Painter

He has also authored the following nonfiction books:

  • Kook, What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave
  • The Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals
  • Hell or High Water, Surviving Tibet's Tsangpo River

Peter Heller lives in Denver, Colorado and writes for NPR, Outside Magazine, Men's Journal. and National Geographic Adventure.


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    • BarbRad profile image

      Barbara Radisavljevic 

      4 years ago from Templeton, CA

      Sounds like this one may have a bit too much violence for me, but I'd love the painting part.

    • wetnosedogs profile image


      4 years ago from Alabama

      Fantastic review.

      Thanks for following me on HP. However, I haven't been here in the longest time since I am on Bubblews now.

      But you will find fantastic people here. Enjoy your time here.

    • Joyce Mann profile image

      Joyce T. Mann 

      4 years ago from Bucks County, Pennsylvania USA

      I need to check out this author. I especially love novels where the setting plays an integral role to the storytelling .

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 

      4 years ago from Earth

      Thanks for sharing this as I was not at all familiar with Peter Heller.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 

      4 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      what an excellent book review. Ive never read any of Peter Heller's books, but I will look him up.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      That does sound like a good book worth reading and the fact of it being set in those 2 states that he beautifully describes would make it even more fun to read. Thanks for the review. Will share this with HP followers and also tweet.

    • Pam Irie profile image

      Pam Irie 

      4 years ago from Land of Aloha

      I truly enjoy authors who bring their characters to life. Larry McMurtry is a favorite of mine. This author, Peter Heller, sounds like he's right up my alley.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Very intriguing. I wish I had more time to read.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      although I don't read fiction, this sounds good

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Thank you for sharing. Looking forward to new and old content on your future hubs! ;-)

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      Welcome to the hub!! How are things in Bubblews land these days??

    • Necessity profile image


      4 years ago from Canada

      I will be checking out this book The Painter. Thank you.

    • MelRootsNWrites profile image

      Melody Lassalle 

      4 years ago from California

      I enjoy books with unusual story lines. This sounds like an interesting read.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 

      4 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Sounds like an interesting novel The character a full one, with good and bad, just like all of us, fully three-dimensional

    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 

      4 years ago from Minnesota

      That really does sound like a very interesting character to read about. I just might read the book.


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