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“Riordan debuts with an irresistible portrait of commerical fishermen fighting for survival in early 1990s Alaska. After Massachusetts college student Adam gets caught selling ecstasy pills and loses his lacrosse scholarship, he sets off for Alaska to earn his senior year tuition. Despite having no experience, he’s hired aboard the well-worn trawler Miami Vice and embarks with captain Nash and fellow crew member Cole for the Bering Sea. Adam, who’s desperate to avoid dropping out of college and returning to his Podunk hometown in Ohio, takes to the work eagerly. The first major sign of trouble comes when the Vice catches fire, forcing the fishermen to sell their haul to a nearby tender whose crew Cole regards as “pirate scum.” With the boat out of commission, Adam boards the Nerka, this time with Vice owner Kaid serving as captain. Other fishermen go on strike as the Nerka departs, protesting unsustainably low prices, but the unscrupulous Kaid presses on, roping Adam and Nash into a treacherous scheme that he lays out in a vivid soliloquy (“Some guys, they end up in the army, charging across some desert somewhere to rescue an oil well. You don’t want to be that guy. You want to be the guy who owns the oil well that the other guy is sent to die for”). The novel’s colorful dialogue and relentless pacing evoke the uncompromising headwinds in Adam’s path. This is a triumph of gritty realism. 

Publishers Weekly

“A frightening story of tough men pushed to the brink. The novel is captivating, occasionally funny, and startling. I couldn’t put it down.” 

David Sedaris | Author

“The North Line is a ruggedly erudite story that combines the best of the individualism of Jack London with the introspective ruminations of Raymond Carver . . . not to be missed.” 

S.A. Cosby | Author

"The North Line is one of those rare books that you feel as much as read. The world and its details are so real, so intimate, and so lived-in and that I had to check my fingertips for fish scales once I finished reading." 

Craig Davidson | Author 

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