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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  9,361 ratings  ·  1,530 reviews
From the best-selling author of The Dog Stars and The Painter, a luminous, masterful novel of suspense--the story of Celine, an elegant, aristocratic private eye who specializes in reuniting families, trying to make amends for a loss in her own past.

Working out of her jewel box of an apartment at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, Celine has made a career of tracking down mi
Hardcover, 334 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Jillian Scott If you went to Brearley, Putney or Dartmouth; grew up in Greenwich, Darien and the Adirondacks, or Fishers or Watch Hill or Point O Woods. If you know…moreIf you went to Brearley, Putney or Dartmouth; grew up in Greenwich, Darien and the Adirondacks, or Fishers or Watch Hill or Point O Woods. If you know Noonmark Mountain and have a fascination with firearms, photography, flying and fishing - the similarities between my life and his are otherworldly. Celine was like listening to my mother ramble. Mother get to the point!. Liked The River best.(less)

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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,361 ratings  ·  1,530 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lor
3.5 Once again Heller presents us with a very interesting character. Céline, late sixties, uses oxygen for her emphysema, is a PI, specializing in uniting families, finding the missing. Why she does so is explained by her back story, and it is also why she agrees to take on a new case. A father missing for over twenty years, Paul a famed wildlife photographer, said to have been mauled and dragged by a grizzly outside of Yellowstone. No body, however, has ever been found.

Her character, as much as
The Hook - Having read, heard and enjoyed Peter Heller before, this is a natural for me. I will get to see him once again when I attend Booktopia 2017 in Manchester, Vermont.

The Line - ”Celine always rooted for the weak, the dispossessed, the children, for the ones who had no means or power: the strays and homeless, the hapless and addicted, the forlorn, the remorseful, the broken.“

The Sinker - Celine represents all the best of Heller’s writing style, knowledge and expertise. His passages that d
j e w e l s
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

After accidentally "discovering" Peter Heller by reading his latest, The River, I knew I needed to read more Heller.

As my holds trickle in on Overdrive, I plan to read all of Heller's novels. Sometimes you just connect with an author's style and I definitely connect to Heller's beautiful way of weaving his words. Like The River, Celine is first and foremost a character driven book with a generous dose of gorgeous nature passages, featuring in this case, Yellowstone National Park and th
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it

”Celine had inherited the mantle of a family who had come on the first boat and worked hard and made good, and often the mantle chafed, and she was happiest when she took it off and tossed it on a hook with her beret.”

Celine begins one year and one day after the Twin Towers fell, filling the air with ashes, and despair. That May, her younger sister died, followed in July, her sister Bobby, the eldest followed. And now the Towers. Three months. Loss upon loss upon loss.

”Lying in bed that night w
I loved The Dog Stars and was lukewarm about The Painter. It was hard for me to really care about the protagonist of the latter, Jim Stegner, a swashbuckling tortured artist who is irresistible to younger women and lands in an unrealistic, drawn-out sequence of events that he could have easily avoided by being less of a dick. But I still loved pieces of Heller's writing. He truly excels at writing about the West and its landscapes.

So I was really excited to see that Heller wrote a novel about a
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Like musicians who nod at each other before the final measures, they shared a long look that meant: That's all for now. This too shall be revealed."

Neither age, nor hacking emphysema, nor the footsteps of personal loss will shift the dog-earred determination of Celine Watkins. She and her husband/partner, Pete, have long ago set down roots near the Brooklyn Bridge. Celine is a crackerjack P.I. who has a better track record than the FBI in sniffing out the lost and waiting to be the
Dec 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I'm going to dare call it a comfort read even though it's a literary work of fiction about loss, revolving around a mystery that was written by an author known for grittier work. So if you're looking for something intense like Heller's previous book, The Painter, you might be disappointed. But if you enjoy dry humor, beautifully descriptive writing, and characters you can care about who are fascinating, well-developed, and play off one another like instruments in ...more
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019-reads, audiobook
4.5 stars

I love that Peter Heller featured a woman of a certain age who is whip smart and accomplished, with many skills in her tool belt. Celine is a 68-year old private investigator and artist who lives in NYC. She’s from an elite old money East coast family who can quote classic literature but is also an expert marksman. To anyone who thinks this character is unrealistic, know that Heller based the character on his mother, who was also a detective and artist in NYC.

In this story, a young wom
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm clearly in the minorty here, but there is way, way too much character information through endless flashbacks, and not nearly enough present day plot. I'm halfway through, and it's losing me fast
Peter Heller is completely his own man, his work unlike anyone else’s. Almost everything we love about a Peter Heller novel is here in spades: descriptions so fresh we can smell the creek water, glimpses of people so painterly a photograph would ruin the image, a manly strength and confidence that gives his main character a tiny swagger when confronting mother bears, bad-ass motorcyclists, or CIA operatives with orders where their hearts used to be.

Heller places a woman at the helm of the story
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
[3.3] This is the fourth Peter Heller novel I've read since discovering him this year. Although I adored the character of Celine (based on Heller's mother), the novel frustrated me. Celine is investigating a missing person but whenever the pace gets going, Heller makes a u-turn to fill in her backstory. The reader is continually fed anecdotes about Celine that don't add to the narrative and feel contrived.

I'm glad he got this ode to his mother out of the way and I'm hoping if he does another no
Feb 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Peter Heller has a knack for taking a specific literary genre and placing his own unique spin on it. In Dog Stars, a postapocalyptic tale, he literally blew me away with his elegiac spin that elevated this to one of my favorite contemporary books. Again in The Painter, he takes the framework of a contemporary Western and provides a satisfying and nuanced look at an artist and fly fisherman capable of revenge and redemption.

This time, he tackles the private eye genre with the most unlikely of PIs
I stuck through to the end and came away with the aftertaste of bitter disappointment.
If you've been hearing the catchphrase "white privilege" but are unsure what that means, this book will define it for you. It's an incredible middle class white people fairy tale.

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(view spoiler)
Julie Christine
I'm just going to lay this straight out. About three-quarters of the way in, the date current to the story is referenced. It's 2002. I nearly threw Celine at the wall. By this point, Celine, a septuagenerian private eye, and her husband have been making extensive use of their smartphones and combing Yellowstone for wifi hotspots as they sleuth the whereabouts of a National Geographic photographer allegedly killed by a grizzly bear decades before.

We were still using flip phones and BlackBerry in
Clif Hostetler
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
The Celine of this novel does not fit the usual image of a private detective from New York City. She's seventy years old and suffers from emphysema. In this story she is hired by a new client to investigate her father's death—or disappearance—twenty-three years ago from a location near Yellowstone Park. Thus it follows that in order to investigate the disappearance, the book reads much as a travelog of Celine and her husband driving in, out, and around Yellowstone Park in a borrowed pickup with ...more
When Celine was a young girl, her father left the family and it had quite an impact on her life, of course. She eventually became a private investigator with a goal to help put families back together, those who want to find a parent or child missing for whatever reason. It is through her vocation that she meets Gabriela who wants to hire her to see if her father, gone 20+ years and possibly killed by a park grizzly, is actually dead or alive. The two women's stories intermingle, past and present ...more
J.K. Grice
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
This was my second Peter Heller book, and again, I really enjoyed his characters and his writing style, but not as much as his other works. If you like the way John Irving USED to write, I think you would like Heller.
Celine is a 69-year-old private eye who is contacted by a young woman looking for her father. Celine had what her sister called, the underdog bone. Besides that, Celine is quite successful in finding missing family members, probably choosing this field of expertise as a result of her own back story. She's also one of the East Coast elite, where privilege, breeding, inheritance, and education are major scoring points, and very important to Celine. Most of her work is pro bono, but in the case of ...more
Claire Fuller
Jul 20, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I read half of Celine (I think if you're going to write a review you have to have read a substantial amount of a book), and I can't finish it. It just isn't for me. Heller is trying too hard to be cutesy, and I'm not enjoying the authorial voice commenting on everything. I've just got to a section where Celine (a 65ish PI) comes across a girl crying on a bench. 'Break-up?' Celine says, and then sits beside her and gives her all sorts of folksy wisdom which the girl laps up. I think Heller knows ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A tough, aristocratic private investigator in her late 60s, can I get an "Amen!"? She takes no guff and backs down bikers. I loved this book and it has a good mystery too.
Oct 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
omg! I loved Dog Stars, I liked The Painter, but I am head over heels in love with Celine! She is the most fascinating character you will ever meet - I truly want Heller to continue her story, her mother's story, her son's story - I want more of everything! This is the most wonderful book - I will recommend, nay PUSH, it onto everyone I meet! Beautifully written - readers will simultaneously want to slow down and savor the language and speed up to see what comes next! Wonderful!
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read all of Peter Heller's books and of course I couldn't wait to dive into his newest "Celine." As much as I couldn't wait to see what happened, Heller's writing is like a beautiful composition that unfolds in language as beautiful as the natural world his characters are immersed in. It's storytelling at its finest. I loved Celine - a bad-ass 60+ year old artist who is also a private investigator. Celine's spark and energy for life can at times be stalled by her emphysema but never wavers. ...more
Apr 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
4 stars

Celine is the type of person I would love to meet and know. She works as a private investigator and only accepts a handful of cases. Her primary focus is reuniting family members. In this novel a daughter believes that her father did not die years ago from a grizzly bear attack and hires Celine to find out the truth - or at least evidence of his demise. This leads Celine and her husband on an adventure to uncover the truth.

Based on Peter Heller's Mom.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: new-york
Celine is quite the story of a sixtyish, stylish and extremely capable female detective in New York City specializing in the reuniting of families, largely driven by her own haunted past. In the hands of author Peter Heller, who has an amazing facility with words captivating one, not only with his beautiful descriptions but sharp dialogue, Celine comes to life in the most riveting way as she becomes involved in investigating the disappearance of a National Geographic photographer twenty years ag ...more
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017-books
So the protagonist is a 68-year-old petite former socialite turned macabre sculptor and private eye specializing in reuniting birth families. She has a touch of emphysema, she’s a crack shot with just about any firearm known to man, she likes designer clothes, and she’s devoted to her taciturn Mainer of a husband (something to which I can relate).

In other words, this book had me at hello.

And then it smiled and I saw the big wad of spinach between its teeth. I was still charmed, but… distracted
Celine has been billed as the "P.I. in Prada" by her college alumni magazine. Celine is in her late 60s, grew up in France and even though she struggles with emphysema, she is still a sure shot with a gun. The magazine profile emphasizes that Celine works mainly to reunite find missing parents or children. Gabriella contacts Celine to find Paul Lamont, her famous Nat Geo photographer father, who was declared killed by a bear near Yellowstone 20 some years ago. He also might have be ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
2.5 stars rounded up for the prose form and flow. Excellent writer.

BUT- too much back story and time jumping in order to accomplish 1000's of tangents of Celine's past. It just did not equate to the present "now" story or plot for novel balance, IMHO.

The emotive pulse too- it's just not my cup of tea at all overall. Another big negative for my enjoyment lack is this balance of looking backward and hardly forward. Not only in this book, but generally in most all experiences or observations.

I be
3.5 stars. This is a beautifully written thriller with a lot of back story about the lead detective. Mysteries are probably my favorite genre. This one had a gripping story, which I really enjoyed. There was quite a lot of interruption of the missing person case as we went back to Celine's childhood, young adulthood, etc. Celine is a fascinating character and her backstory is just as interesting, but I found the interruptions a bit distracting.

Having said that, though, if you're looking for a l
Just a few chapters in and trying to slow down.

I could happily spend hours exploring just one paragraph -any paragraph- in this book, all vivid, lush, lyrical, evocative. But this mystery doesn't wait and I speed ahead.

I'm torn between the destination and the wonders along the way.

And that's just the start.


Dec 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019, audio, mystery
3.5 stars
There is a lot to enjoy in this book. I was drawn in immediately by the beautifully written and intense prologue, then by the character of Celine and her empathic interview of a young woman who comes to see Celine about her missing father. Beautifully done and told, I was immediately drawn into the mystery.

The descriptions of nature stood out as the most gorgeous writing in the book and I'm not one to normally focus on such descriptions. Whether it was beaches, mountains or rivers,
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There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Peter Heller holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop in both fiction and poetry. An award-winning adventure writer and longtime contributor to NPR, Heller is a contributing editor at Outside magazine, Men’s Journal, and National Geographic Adventure, and a regular contributor to Bloomberg Businessweek. He is also the autho

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