The Life and Death of Seals
10 Installments—Entirely free
“The Life and Death of Seals” is a story about a family in turmoil, dealing with the ups and downs of love. Two brothers are forced to deal with the complicated relationship between their parents, a rift threatening to tear the entire family apart. It is during the course of one afternoon on a desolate beach that the boys must sort through their complicated memories and find a way to move forward.
Praise for Urban Waite’s novel The Terror Of Living
“A hell of a good novel, relentlessly paced and beautifully narrated. There's just no let-up. An auspicious debut.”
“The Terror of Living opens with gentle beauty, calm before a bloody storm, before building intensity with swift, jarring, and confident storytelling power. A fine debut from a writer of obvious and substantial talents. Readers—including this one—will certainly be following Urban Waite for years to come.”
—Michael Koryta, author of So Cold the River
“In the tradition of No Country for Old Men, Urban Waite has written a nail-biter that takes off from the get-go and never stops, a book chock full of memorable characters and kick-ass writing. Clear your calendar before reading this one, folks, because once you start there's no stopping until the end, which arrived much too quickly for this reader. A smashing debut.”
—Tom Franklin, author of Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
“A supercharged suspenseful thriller peopled by colorful characters and driven by terrifying events that begin at mach speed and never slow for a moment. Supremely cinematic.”
—Joseph Wambaugh, author of the Hollywood Station novels
“Urban Waite is a writer who knows what he’s doing and this killer novel drives that home every hard-charging step of the way. In Waite’s hands, scenes come at you like bursts of machine gun fire, and it’s testament to his skill – setting that pops off the page, dialogue that crackles, characters you can’t help but care about – that you won’t want them to stop hitting.”
—Josh Weil, author of The New Valley
“The Terror of Living is a smart, swiftly-paced and bloody Western for our moment. Urban Waite is a writer who won’t let a reader wander away—he keeps you reading, and reading, and rewards all your attention with a powerhouse story and prose to match.”
—Daniel Woodrell, author of Winter’s Bone and The Bayou Trilogy
“This is the Golden Age of literary crime fiction, and Urban Waite delivers a beautiful and powerful new voice with The Terror of Living. Washington State in his hands comes as alive as Louisiana does in the novels of James Lee Burke.”
—Otto Penzler, editor of Best American Noir of the Century
“Never eases the throttle, but even at high speed, it’s the interplay between the characters that gives the novel its power. An outstanding debut.”
—ALA Booklist starred review
“[A] fine novel...The characters are well-developed, and the complicated plot is well-structured. The action never falters...[a] remarkable debut, full of character and bleakness and written with vim and intelligence [that] will linger in the reader’s mind long after the book is laid aside.”
—Library Journal starred review
“The past is a terrible thing in Urban Waite's first novel, a crime thriller that will please those who prefer their noirs straightforward and gritty with a minimum of philosophizing... One cannot help but recall Cormac McCarthy's "No Country for Old Men" while reading Waite's novel...Soon, though, Waite's own story and his smooth prose take over so completely that all that matters is what happens next.”
"Reads like a Pacific Northwest remake of Cormac McCarthy's classic....Waite brings a nimble touch to the material. Throwaway lines are rendered with surprising delicacy, and [his] knife-fetishist villain makes for an oddly endearing sociopath. Also, what a title!"
“Urban Waite nearly became, as his author bio puts it, ‘the next big Mexican-Italian-Welsh engineer’...Fortunately for fans of crime fiction, Waite instead turned to writing...Waite writes convincingly about the joys of the wilderness, and he wisely keeps the focus on the interplay between his two main characters in this sure-footed debut.”
“[A] formidable fiction debut...the author allows characters room to wrestle with private demons as the intense, often gruesome tale races towards its satisfying conclusion.”
—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal
“One fine specimen [of a Modern Western]...His descriptions of the stark beauty of the mountains have a calming effect on the intensity of the cinematic action scenes. And the surprising delicacy of the writing also makes it easier to bear the raw violence done to man and beast...Waite is most eloquent when he’s probing the interior lives of the men locked in this contest of will and endurance...No matter who fails to survive, these characters all deserve to mourned.”
—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
“Strong debut... [with] assured and skillful prose. The action is dynamic and cleverly choreographed, but the lush intricacy of the novel springs from the inner lives of these two men where, woven through the brutal mayhem, is an odd, indelible core of sweetness.”
“Superbly written...What is [rare] is the finely honed literary sensibility of the writer, who conveys the sensory reality of his settings with evocative exactitude...considerable talent.”
“A drug deal gone wrong, a determined deputy, a running man, a psycho killer. Don’t forget compelling dialogue, well-developed characters, the Pacific Northwest as a backdrop and a relatively happy ending.”
—Allen Pierlioni, Sacramento Bee
“There's much to praise about The Terror of Living, including the relentless pacing and Waite's stunning prose, but what really makes it compelling is the humanity of its characters...Waite's richly imagined characters spring to life in the reader's mind.”
—Mystery Scene Magazine
“The meticulously calibrated prose, rushing narrative, and sympathetic protagonists mark Waite as a rewarding, promising writer.”
“Promising debut. Waite eloquently depicts men in turmoil for whom the choice isn’t always between right and wrong but where to draw the line.”
Extended Copyright Information
Copyright 2007 by Urban Waite. All rights reserved.
Originally published in Gulf Coast Magazine. Published on DailyLit with the permission of Urban Waite.
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Urban Waite grew up in Seattle and attended the University of Washington. He went on to study writing at Western Washington University and Emerson College and now lives in Seattle with his wife. His short fiction can be found in The Best of the West Anthology, The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Hayden's Ferry Review, AGNI, West Branch, and many other publications.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
_*We were down at the beach*_. I was lying in the bed of my father’s truck with the doors pulled open and the radio playing an oldies tune. The waves were up and I could taste the salt on my lips. My brother, Juan, lay on the sand. If I raised my head I would see him, his body flat on the beach ...Back to top
Copyright 2007 by Urban Waite.
All Rights Reserved.Back to top
Reviewed by dreamdust on May 24, 2011
This captured the grief and bewilderment like a time capsule, at such a difficult moment.
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Ratings for 'The Life and Death of Seals' by Waite, Urban