Oregon Author Crafts
A Memorable Read
By Fred Delkin
Corvallis writer and angling guide John Larison has crafted a new novel, "Holding Lies,"
(just released by Skyhorse Publishing, NYC) that deserves international popularity with an
evolving drama that requires no fishing experience to enjoy. The title refers not to untruths, but to
sheltered slack water pools where fish rest before venturing upstream and the skilled angler seeks
to cast his fly.
(OMED: cover of book is too dark to reproduce. See for yourself at the Amazon page:
This is a novel about fathers and daughters, friends and mentors, and sins committed by
unforgettable characters. The setting is the fictitious "Ipsiniyos River" in Oregon's coastal
watershed, a thinly disguised image of the upper reaches of the Umpqua and these waters'
fascination for dedicated seekers of the native Steelhead trout. The tale is woven around 59-year-
old resident river guide Hank Hazelton who oars his drift boat for fly fishing clients from far and
wide. His estranged grown daughter reenters his life to renew her childhood fascination for her
father and the river she left to find professional success far to the east of where dad still toils amid
ferns, firs and foaming water.
Hank is haunted by failures, regrets and past loves, but his emotional ties to the water he drifts are
dominant and led to a divorce and his child's departure. His discovery of an empty drift boat
stranded below a rapid kicks this adventure story into high gear just as his child returns for a visit.
Author Larison deftly describes the emotions and motivations of his characters Larison is a true
student of both mankind and Steelhead. He deftly describes the wonders of western Oregon's
outback and anyone who has fished its waters will be absorbed by his descriptions. The fishing
guide culture gets an accurate treatment, while readers will also be immersed in themes of family
and sexual relationships.
We applaud Larison's skill and deem his product as absorbing for any reader, regardless of sex or
experience. He teaches at Oregon State University when not guiding or authoring.
© 2011 Oregon Magazine