In Russell Hill’s The Egret, a grieving father wreaks vengeance on the hit-and-run driver who caused his daughter to die. This father, never named in the book, begins stalking the uber-rich and conscienceless Earl Anthony Winslow. As the tension escalates, so do the attempts on Winslow’s life, moving up from a gunshot to a poisonous snake bite to a Molotov cocktail and even to a hastily assembled IED. Although the book is deadly serious, this escalation of violence is faintly reminiscent of Wile E Coyote’s constant attempts to kill the Road Runner. Winslow somehow survives everything the grieving father throws at him, although several bystanders aren’t as fortunate. The father sees himself as an egret: patient, and deadly. Finally confronting his daughter’s killer, he says, “There’s a bird that is a stalker. It moves silently and when it finds the thing it wants to eat, it remains motionless until the thing is right where it wants it and then it strikes. Right now I have you right where l want you.” It isn’t the final act of revenge itself that makes this 161 page novella so fascinating, it’s the look deep inside the mind and soul of a man who compares himself to a bird. Author Russell Hill likes birds. He is best known for the magical realism of The Lord God Bird, in which two teens taking refuge in the Great Dismal Swamp encounter a bird long thought to be extinct. In that book, Hill visualized the ivory-billed woodpecker as ecology’s bellwether: learn or die. In this deftly handled novel, an egret delivers a lesson on how to kill. – Betty Webb, Mystery Scene Magazine
I was so engrossed by The Egret that I read it in one straight sitting. It’s brilliant, concise, poetic, gritty and deceptively simple with all the dark undercurrents of anger and nostalgia. – Max Jourdan, London filmmaker
In his novella, The Egret, science fiction writer turns to realistic—all too realistic—fiction. In this suspense tale, Hill writes in a lean, mean prose style that I associate with some of my favorite writers, including those household names of fame, Chandler and Hemingway….I also admire Hill’s use of a daring device–1st person POV, where it becomes ominously more and more clear the narrator, who has suffered what he believes is a terrible injustice, may not survive his obsession with revenge, that his elaborate plans to get even may end in ways he did not foresee. – Edward Harkness, The Law of the Unforeseen, Beautiful Passing Lives & Saying the Necessary
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