Joe is the caretaker at Hugh Longline (aka “High Lonesome”), a remote way station high in the Rocky mountains. He has lived there for four years, isolated from most of the world. When a freak summer snowstorm hits, Joe figures he will have a few days of quiet while his customers make for lower ground.
Tanner has no plans to leave High Lonesome, despite the storm. Addicted to heroin, Tanner has arranged a dangerous meeting in order to get some much needed money to pay his dealer.
Pyotr is a spy, come to track down a traitor and stop a deal that will put crucial information in the wrong hands. He braves the storm to make it to the cabin in time to intercept the deal.
All three men end up stranded at High Lonesome. All three find a connection with one another. But even as they start to hope there might be something real between them, the men face countless hurdles. Tanner’s addiction. Joe’s need for isolation. Pyotr’s duty to stop the deal that Tanner has struck. And even if they can get past all that, someone is out there waiting for the snow to stop and is determined to see the deal completed… whatever it takes.
As soon as I saw the blurb for High Lonesome, I was eager to check it out. I love snowbound stories, and add in the idea of these three very different men all trying to learn to trust and figure one another out, and I was totally sold. Tanya Chris does an amazing job with this one and I was captivated from the very start.
We learn early on the basics of who these men are — Joe, the former addict who has retreated to the wilderness to avoid the temptations of life; Tanner, the current addict who has resorted to treason in desperation to keep his high; and Pyotr, the spy who was sent to catch him. What makes this work so well is that while we as readers know about these men, they don’t know the truth about each other. So we get to watch them meet and slowly begin to figure each other out as their secrets are unveiled. It is really captivating writing and I was drawn in immediately. The alternating POV chapters really help, again giving us an understanding of each character’s motivations, while keeping the others figuring things out.
Chris creates three really fascinating characters in Joe, Tanner, and Pyotr. They are so layered and well developed, each so much more than they seem at the start. Again, even as we know the basics of these men, more is uncovered as the story goes on. Chris makes their connection as a threesome believable to me, showing how each man offers something to the others and how they work together as a triad. For a story that has a lot going on plot wise, I appreciated that Chris still takes the time to develop the characters.
The story here is fascinating and Chris pulls together all the pieces well. Once the men learn to trust one another and share their own stories, they still must face an unknown enemy, someone who is coming to complete the deal wth Tanner. They don’t know who the person is, and so even as they are working things out between them, there is this looming threat to everything they are building, particularly for Tanner who is in way over his head in this international espionage. As I said, I was totally engrossed from the start in the suspense plot.
I did have a couple of small issues here. First, Tanner is an addict and the first time he and Joe have sex, he is high as a kite. It gave me a bit of a dubious consent vibe that isn’t really acknowledged in the story. Also, early on Tanner is a mess of highs and lows from the drugs. He isn’t really himself, and it was at times hard for me to see how the others were connecting with him on a real level as the drugs were really such a huge factor. That said, as the story develops, I did begin to get more of a sense of him as a person beyond the drugs and could really see how these guys interconnect.
I’ll also note that there is on-page drug use here. We see Tanner using drugs, as well as suffering from withdrawal, along with some frank discussion on the highs and lows he is experiencing. So be aware if that is a trigger issue for you.
Overall, I found this one fabulous. Chris creates three really fascinating characters here and lets them develop and intertwine over the course of the book. Added to that we have an exciting and engaging plot within a great setting of this remote mountain cabin. I really loved High Lonesome and it is definitely recommended.