The Bottom Line: This truly original terrorism thriller set in Idaho hits all the right notes. Highly recommended.
Clif Petty’s debut novel takes the real-world annual gathering of business luminaries at Idaho’s Allen & Co. Conference as the centerpiece for a frighteningly plausible terrorist thriller. For those not in the know, the ultra-exclusive Allen & Company Conference rivals Switzerland’s annual Davos Conference for sheer star power, attracting titans of industry like Elon Musk and Warren Buffet. That makes a juicy target for terrorist group The Guardians.
Well before we get to the novel’s main course, we’re treated to the dirty dealings of Jim Crowfoot, a tribal police officer, and Rueben Axtell, a troubled college student who appears to have killed his roommate. Along the way, we meet Professor Derrick Anderson and his brother Ray, both former military combat veterans. Before long, the Anderson brothers – who just happen to be in the right place at the right time – form an unlikely alliance, realizing it’s up to them to prevent a devastating terror attack.
Credit Petty for thinking well outside the box and treating us to a riveting novel set in the American west. Gone are the usual CIA tropes, mega-city targets and slick superhuman spies that have become so commonplace. The Andersen brothers may not be the most exciting heroes in the literary landscape, but they make perfect sense in Petty’s world. Furthermore, the well-crafted layers of tribal culture and neo-tribal nationalism found here only further distinguish Before the Sun Goes Down from anything else on bookshelves right now. Read it.