Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Somewhere West of Roads

Rate this book
Please Note: This book is the print version of the novel that was first released as an e-book in December of 2012.

On the same day John Barstow lost his girlfriend and his job, he got a letter from a lawyer in Anchorage, Alaska, summoning him to that frozen place. John doesn’t really care that his uncle, Hank Grant, has died. He didn’t really know the man. Hank had been the black sheep of the family, spending his life in remote reaches of Alaska, far from his Southern California family.

In Anchorage, John learns that as his uncle’s only legal heir he must make a decision: sign onto an agreement to take over his uncle’s business, or walk away with a trailer house and twenty-five grand.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, John is sure a trailer house in Nikiski, Alaska, is no temptation. The business? Well, it’s also out of a city boy’s comfort zone. Last Chance Adventures is a pay-to-mine tourist operation on the west side of the Cook Inlet; fly in only, as remote as it gets.

There’s a catch, however. If John can’t make Last Chance Adventures show a profit in one season, it goes to a secondary, unnamed beneficiary. But hey, he’ll still get the trailer house!

Fortunately, there’s good news. John’s uncle had an assistant, Harley Pepperdine, who is knowledgeable, helpful and reliable – when he’s sober. His uncle also had plenty of other helpful friends – all of them quirky Alaskan characters shaped by the country John will have to survive. And too, there’s a woman. Maggie Peters is smart, attractive and friendly – that is, whenever she’s not pissed at Harley and John.

314 pages, Paperback

First published December 12, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

A.E. Poynor

3 books7 followers
I started writing early as a child. It wasn't so much a desire to express myself, but a way to keep my lies straight.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
16 (47%)
4 stars
12 (35%)
3 stars
5 (14%)
2 stars
1 (2%)
1 star
0 (0%)
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews
Profile Image for Georgia.
1 review
December 5, 2013
I found this book to be a delightful, and fun read! It is a totally believable story about a fellow who really has pretty much failed at everything in his life. He finds himself through the people and events that happen in this book. I had a great time reading it and truly want to know what happens to these characters next! Is there a sequel? I hope so.
Profile Image for Katherine.
649 reviews30 followers
January 16, 2014
Despite lengthy travels throughout the U.S. the only two States I have not yet reached are Alaska and Hawaii. When I saw this book's subtitle--An Alaskan novel --I was intrigued. Reading the synopsis of the plot further interested me since I, a city girl ( NYC) had relocated to a rural, deep freeze winter area ( boonies of Vt). Though the main character of the book, John Barstow, made his move from LA to Nikiski under very different circumstances, I was curious if there might be some similarities to my experiences with such a drastic life style change. So, I entered to win a copy to read and review.

Upon opening the book for the first time I was greeted with a stanza from a Robert Service poem. Oh, I thought, I'm going to love this book. And I was not disappointed. John, a recovering alcoholic, whose most recent relationship with a live-in girlfriend has gone South, is fired from his job as a life insurance salesman. Going to a bar, though he's been sober awhile, he winds up in a brawl, gets his eye blackened, is tossed into a cab with a surly cabbie and arrives to his almost bare apartment and a letter from a lawyer in Alaska.

Seems his uncle, whom he barely remembers, has died and he is Hardrock's only legal heir. There are a couple of choices he can make--take a trailer in Alaska and $50,000 and be happy, or take over a tourist mining operation for a season and make a profit and all is his. Last Chance Adventures is a fly-in, that is West of Roads, as in there are NO ROADS. At the lawyer's insistence he gets the almost next plane out of LA to check out the options. He is to see the place, meet the staff, the accountant etc and make his decision. He opts to take the shot at making a mining operation, about which he knows nothing, a go.

The characters he meets, Doorway, Harley, Maggie, Cynthia, Wes,Reeder, Billy McCrane and my favorite, Dawg are so well developed I felt as though I'd recognize every one of them should I ever walk into the Shuttle Inn for breakfast. How they help, hinder, aggravate, teach, ensnare John is a wonderful story. How Hardrocks set up the trust to lead John to the place where the business will be saved is just perfect.

Once upon a time, a fellow with whom I'd broken up about ten times, called and left the message on the answering machine "There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold!" and hung up. Recognized the voice, did not know Robert Service poetry, but we reunited and have been married almost thirty years. The book ends with this stanza from The Cremation of Sam McGee. McGee was from Tennessee so you see, John, Sam and I are all nuts--moving to a place where winter lasts 6 months, snow is sometimes thigh high and walking on snowshoes is a trick. The book is as much a keeper as that husband of mine. Both are terrific.
Profile Image for Karen M.
623 reviews18 followers
September 8, 2016
Okay, I admit I've had a thing for Alaska ever since I fell in love with a little TV program called Northern Exposure which was actually filmed in Washington but in my heart it was still Alaska.

I wanted to love this book. I fell head over heels in love with this book and some of the most interesting small town Alaska characters you could ever dream of meeting. This is a wonderful "fish out of water" story. LA guy who is very down on his luck is handed an opportunity to start all over again courtesy of his estranged uncle. A trip to Anchorage and a meeting with his uncle's lawyer is the beginning of his Alaska adventure and the challenge set for him by his uncle who owned a tourist attraction/resort that is only accessible by plane. I won't spoil it and tell you what the challenge is but he thinks he knows how he's going to handle the situation until he meets some of the residents of Nikiski, Alaska who were friends of his uncle. He becomes intrigued by his uncle's friends and lifestyle and little by little he changes his way of thinking about what he has been offered. Alaska and a hardnosed Alaskan named Harley are the deal clinchers for him and the beginning of his adventures.

I so recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good book or wants an occasional LOL moment or wants to learn a little about Alaska history and especially if you have ever wanted to visit America's last frontier, Alaska.

I won this book in a FirstReads giveaway.
1,925 reviews
November 4, 2016
nov 30 2013 just found out i won this, thanks goodreads can hardly wait for it to arrive!
author inscribed it to me which was very nice!

its a great story idea, he lost his job, his girlfriend moved out. then he found out his uncle in Alaska died leaving him the lodge business

he has to fly to Alaska to meet the lawyer, he wont talk over the phone. they sent him the money for the plane ticket, he though he had nothing to lose and went

it was colder there than in calif and he didnt have the clothes for it. he met a drunk guy on the side of the road when the tow truck stopped when he had gone into the snow. they pulled him out, the drunk guy hitched a ride with him and turned out to be the main man to help him with the lodge business

the deal was, he had to run it for one year and make a profit, or he just got a sum of money

after talking to the financial girl and the others involved with running the business he knew nothing about he decided to stay and run it for the year. he is finding out more about his uncle than he knew and now wishes he was more in contact with him when he was alive.

he ran it with the other guy and discovered how the uncle made a go of it by using the black sand after.

he almost made it, he was a little short so they went to the lawyer and it defaulted to the next owner which was the guy that helped him run it. i wish it had gone a little further, but i think the guy will let him stay as he got romanticly involved with the guys sister

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jill Smith.
188 reviews8 followers
January 2, 2014
I will start by saying I received this book as a Goodreads' First Reads winner.

Overall, I found this book to be an enjoyable read. The story held my interest and I looked forward to finding out what would happen next.

The story is about a recovering alcoholic named John Barstow and it begins with him losing his job and girlfriend all at the same time. With dim prospects for the future, John is not in a good place. A letter from a law firm in Alaska begins a new episode in John's life and that is what the story focuses on.

The author used a good mix of characters who felt realistic and three dimensional. I did feel some of the dialog fell a bit flat, and while I enjoy goofy/crude/juvenile humor, I will admit that the multiple references to puking incidents throughout the story were not my favorite. The story is set in Alaska which was wonderfully described throughout the book and made imagining the area (which I have never been to) quite easy to do. The ending was good if pretty much what I expected it to be.

I recommend this book and look forward to reading other works by this author!
Profile Image for Jk.
296 reviews9 followers
December 27, 2013
I just want to start off by saying that I received a free copy of this book via a goodreads first reads giveaway. I would also like to say thank you to the author for the book and for the very nice handwritten note!

I really enjoyed reading this book! It was a great story about a man who gets a chance to reinvent his life...who hasn't wished for that? The storyline was refreshingly original - I knew nothing at all about mining and found the details provided very interesting. There was some really great humor sprinkled throughout the book with several laugh out loud moments. Overall this was a very fun reading experience that made me want to visit Alaska!
Profile Image for Johnny Simonich.
Author 1 book5 followers
October 11, 2015
This was a great story that put you in the heart of an Alaskan adventure. The author keeps his readers interest throughout each chapter, as he educates them as he moves them through exciting circumstances. His characters are all believable and down to earth people. I have never been to Alaska, but after reading Somewhere West of Roads, I felt like I had experienced an actual visit to every location in the story.
Profile Image for Christina.
1 review
December 30, 2013
I read this book because a friend of mine won it in a drawing from the coffee shop. Being from the North Road made it a have to read. I laughed out loud several times. I am now going to buy copies for my family down south. I loved it and couldn't put it down.
Profile Image for Judy.
19 reviews2 followers
December 20, 2013
Really liked this book. It kept me interested from the beginning until the end. The information about mining for gold and Alaska in general was refreshing.
Displaying 1 - 10 of 10 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.