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In High Places by [Morrisey, Tom]
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Product Description

Product Description

A Breath From Tragedy, a Whisper from Glory

For Patrick Nolan, every climb tells a story. And now maybe it's his own .... He's right at the rim, staring over the cliff's knife edge and wondering how things went wrong so quickly.

It all started after arriving home from a weekend climbing trip with his father, Kevin. That's when word reached them. In a silent moment, they'd lost the person most important to them--her death raising unanswerable questions and dangerous doubts.

Launching a new life in a new town to escape their pain, son and father find themselves in danger of being torn apart forever. As his father seeks a route to solace on the dangerous high face of the rock, Patrick finds a path to hope with the unlikeliest of allies--a pastor's daughter. Together they must discover the one answer that can bring Patrick and Kevin back from the brink of the precipice

Sometimes There's No Place to Go But Up

About the Author

TOM MORRISEY, the author of four novels and short stories, is a world-renowned adventure-travel writer whose work has appeared in Outside, Sport Diver (where he serves as Executive Editor), and other leading magazines. He holds an MA in English Language and Literature from the University of Toledo and an MFA in Creative Writing from Bowling Green State University. He lives in Orlando, Florida.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 999 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (April 1 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B85AN4Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #466,377 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 34 reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In High Places is my personal pick for best book of the year. May 9 2007
By Christian Review of Books - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Review by David White

In High Places is not an average coming of age story. It's a story of continued hope and faith made real by the fact that even years later the narrator continues to struggle with those events.

Set against the backdrop of the beautiful Seneca Rocks in West Virginia in 1976, we're introduced to our main character, Patrick, and his father as they climb. At first it seems like an adventure story, giving an intimate account of what it's like to be a climber. In High Places does indeed give its readers an in-depth look into the life of a climber, sharing the experience with unexpected clarity and honesty.

The death, an apparent suicide, of Patrick's mother causes Patrick's father to move from their home in Ohio to Seneca permanently, where they set up a small climbing shop and can escape their pain. Of course, their loss follows them, and while Patrick's father only finds solace by making terrifying solo climbs, Patrick is befriended by the beautiful Rachel who helps him make a new life for himself.

Of course, Rachel is not any beautiful girl; she's a pastor's daughter, and religious folks have always been viewed with skepticism in Patrick's family. His infatuation brings him back to church week after week with even more frequent visits to her house. Patrick's conversion is not miraculous. If anything, it is accidental. It's his father's reaction that is of Patrick's greatest concern.

Revelations about Patrick's mother's death, and the faith she apparently came to just before it, brings about two major shifts in the novel. While both draw Rachel and Patrick closer together, they also bring unexpected consequences. If anything, In High Places is about such consequences. These revelations and Patrick's actions in response to them pushes Patrick's father from a kind of reckless sadness to anger, and then, perhaps, to hope.

But actions have consequences, not only for Patrick's father but for Patrick and Rachel as well. Once their relationship reaches its climax, it's never quite the same again, and apparently neither is Patrick. But In High Places is a book about hope above all else. There is hope for Patrick, Rachel, and, most of all, for Patrick's father.

This book is one that will cause conflict in the reader's emotions; it will make him question what happens as surely as if it were his own life. From a personal standpoint, I thought that this book held an attraction for me because it took place only fifty miles or so from where I grew up, but now I know that Tom Morrisey's writing, with its honesty and liveliness, is what made it truly gripping. In High Places is my personal pick for best book of the year.

In High Places shows so clearly that there is no hope without fear of disappointment. As Rachel once points out, movies have a tendency to make people think that things turn out as they should regardless of the actions of the characters. This is a trap into which In High Places never falls, but there is always hope.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't wait to see what he has next. June 6 2007
By - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Tom Morrisey's best novel to date, IN HIGH PLACES, cost me a good night's sleep and a set of chewed-off fingernails. As a young boy's coming-of-age story, it is superb; as a suspense-filled cliffhanger (pardon the pun), it will keep you on the edge of your seat. I found I couldn't put it down until the very last page.

In several previous novels such as YUCATAN DEEP and DEEP BLUE, Morrisey (executive editor of Sport Diver magazine) took readers under the water in scuba thrillers. This time, he takes the adventures topside. Morrisey poignantly unfolds the first-person story of Patrick Nolan, a 16-year-old rock climber who returns from a father-and-son climbing trip to his home in Toledo to discover his mother's apparent suicide. Patrick and his dad leave Toledo to open a climbing shop in West Virginia, where Patrick must grow up fast in matters of family, faith and love.

Morrisey has always been a good adventure writer (his work has appeared in the adventurer's Bible --- Outside magazine --- as well as other publications). What sets this book apart from Morrisey's previous efforts is the appealing first-person point of view, strong, tight editing, refusal to succumb to clichés and lovely prose. His chapters begin and end so compellingly, you can't help but turn the pages.

The opening lines are especially beautiful, almost poetic:

"It was not the rock --- it was never the rock; it was the air. Air: gusts and threads of it, rustling my hair at the edge of my faded red rugby shirt collar. Air: swaying the thin red climbing rope that dropped beneath me in a single, brief, pendulous loop. Air all around me and above me and behind me, open and empty and unsubstantial, drying the sweat on my dread-paled, beardless face, an entire sea of air, an ocean of it, lying vacantly beneath my jutting, quaking heels."

If you're not a climber (like me) you'll struggle a bit with the plethora of gear, technical terms and climbing lingo. The epigrams of gear drawings and their uses at the beginning of each chapter lend insight, but most non-climbers will skim some of the climbing jargon as they read. For climbers, however, this might well be the meat of the book. Even non-climbers though will enjoy some of the catchy names of various rock face climbs ("Ye Gods and Little Fishes," "Thin Man") and glimpses into a world that us vertically-challenged folks may never explore.

One of the final and succinct but devastating scenes of the novel takes place at K2, a climbing venue I had just read about in detail in the fascinating THREE CUPS OF TEA. Morrisey's book will remind readers of a very abbreviated version of Jon Krakauer's INTO THIN AIR, with all the attendant disasters that climbing can bring.

I think I'd know a Morrisey novel anywhere by the inclusion of at least one character wearing Ray Bans (does he get endorsement credit for this from the company?), although he's much more restrained about brand names in this novel than in previous ones. Most impressively, Morrisey eschews the easy Christian fiction ending without eschewing faith. This is not one of those happily-ever-after tales; there are no assurances that right choices have been made. Unlike some previous books, where Morrisey tended to be a little preachy, he strikes a good balance of faith themes with reality. Choices, after all, have consequences. And there are regrets when we make the wrong ones and our lives turn out differently than we expected. But, as he writes in the final scene, "Sometimes, hope is all we have. And sometimes, hope is enough."

Morrisey has taken a giant step forward with this novel. I can't wait to see what he has next.

--- Reviewed by Cindy Crosby
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars when all you have is hope Dec 28 2009
By Tim George - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Patrick Nolan is not the typical teenage boy. He is a good student, reasonably well grounded, and enjoys spending every free moment hanging out with his father. On one of their weekend rock climbing excursions father and son make a pact. The woman in their life has been asking for a patio for a very long time. Together they decide it is time to quit being so selfish and fulfill their promise. But, as they arrive home a neighbor meets them with grim news. The promise can never be realized because mother and wife has been found dead of an apparent suicide while they were gone.

In the weeks following the death, everything changes about the two men's lives. And like typical men, both son and father seek to deny their pain by selling everything and moving to the mountains they both love to climb. What begins as a unique bonding experience ends up driving a wedge in their relationship that only something bigger than both of them can mend.

In High Places highlights yet another of Tom Morrisey's real-life passions for adventure, the close-knit yet highly competitive world of climbing. As in his other adventure novels, Morrisey displays first-hand knowledge wrapped in expert prose. His stories suck you into a world, foreign to most of us, and leave you wishing you had gone there before. Blink and you will find yourself hanging from a piton dangling over the wilds of West Virginia.

Like the sport it depicts, this is not a safe story. While faith or lack thereof, is a key element in the lives of both Patrick and Kevin, there is no neat conclusion. Both father and son must confront the shallowness of their lives and the paths they choose. Written from the son's point of view as he looks back on the defining period of his life, In High Places reads like a memoir. Deep questions are left unanswered leaving nothing left to cling to except hope. But hope, set on the right thing, is all we need to hold us even when we fall from the high places.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Detail-rich story May 31 2007
By Christian Book Previews - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In High Places by Tom Morrisey is a story about rock climbing, and climbing over life's unexpected rocks. Patrick Nolan didn't think he'd come back from a rock climbing trip with his dad to find out that his mother had committed suicide. He also didn't expect to start his life over in West Virginia, or to find a beautiful girl. Life isn't always what we expect, but readers can feel the hope that exists throughout this book, a hope that is more than enough.

Morrisey brings readers into the valley of Seneca Rocks, in the rolling hills of West Virginia, and teaches them how to rock climb. He explains things while Patrick and his father make their many climbing excursions, so that any readers who have no experience with rock climbing will feel as though they are experts. While his description is vivid and entangling, the journey he sends Patrick on is even more complicated.

After his mother's death, Patrick and his father relocate to Seneca Rocks, West Virginia. As a part of starting over, his father opens up a store for rock climbers and people involved in other outdoor hobbies. Both men are trying to cope with their loss and are left wondering why there weren't any signs to warn them. Patrick worries about his dad when his dad starts taking very risky climbs. One morning Patrick runs into a girl. He is taken by her with his first look. She tells him to come with her and the next thing he knows, he's dressed in his hiking shorts while attending a very conservative Baptist church service. There he finds out that the girl, Rachel, is the pastor's daughter. The story moves quickly, uncovering clues of his mother's death, expanding the relationship between Patrick and Rachel, and revealing another relationship that Patrick begins to explore with God.

At first glance, this book looks like it's a book for guys, but anyone who loves a story deep with characters will easily relate. The first person narrative also appeals to people who enjoy reading memoirs. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a detail-rich story with plot depth. It is a great narrative of the hope we have and the journey it takes to find it. [...]
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Praise. April 4 2007
By Kelly Klepfer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I didn't know what to expect when I cracked open "In High Places."

Would it be a traditional action-packed guy type of read, or would I find something to take with me?

The cover hinted that I might find some richness, and depth, so I took a deep breath and opened it.

From the first paragraph I was pulled into a world of stark beauty and unforgiving landscape. I didn't expect to get as involved with the characters in this novel as I did, and I'm glad I invested the time and heart into their story.

This is not a plot-driven, adrenaline-adventure as much as a character study. Yet it is a fast-paced read because of the constant tension. There was no place that I wanted to set the book down, and I ended up reading late into the night several nights in a row.

From the detailed teaching, and interweaving of mountain climbing techniques and tools, to the richness of relationships, to the agony and ecstasy of the human condition, I was sucked in.

This is a novel for readers who want to savor story.

Tom Morrissey took me to mountaintops and taught me things I never knew I wanted to know.

I'm not into techie stuff, most of it leaves me cold, but Morrissey has done an amazing job of throwing in enough technical jargon and details to make his story crackle with intensity and foreshadowing.

Some might be frustrated with the slightly slower pace of the literary style. If you hate literary, you might not enjoy this book, but then again, you might. Some will be disappointed at the reality of life and how it taints our hopes and expectations. If so, you may want to avoid reading this book that doesn't follow sit-com formatting.

If you want a beautifully penned, powerful story of redemption, one full of sadness, reality, pain and heart breaking starkness, then I believe this book will touch your soul.

I am a new fan. I intend to find his other novels and read them.