PRESS & REVIEWS
A Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2015
A Military Times Best Book of 2015
An Indies Introduce Debut Author Selection
Stunning . . . a puzzling mystery, a relentless action chronicle, a riddling brain-teaser—and a book that’s hard to put down.
A must-read if you want a glimpse of the turmoil Americans faced in Afghanistan or if you just want a page-flipping good yarn.
The Valley is an acid-rock infused thriller, a police procedural camouflaged in a mind job.
A taut and harrowing tale of soldiers pushed to the brink and beyond by fear, exhaustion, and a powerful sense of the futility of their mission.
Renehan drops the reader straight into the fear and tension of the Valley in Afghanistan . . . As Black descends more deeply into his investigation, the reader feels his isolation, his desperation—and the need to know what drives him
The Valley is a riveting, gut-wrenching tale destined to take its place alongside Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried and Philip Caputo’s A Rumor of War as modern warfare classics that paint their word pictures in emotion as much as blood.
The author served in Iraq but sets his debut novel in deepest and highest Afghanistan, in a premise that prompts comparisons to Joseph Conrad and Francis Ford Coppola. But his story, told with suspense and substance, stands alone.
John Renehan’s The Valley is an absorbing novel of war that refuses to give easy answers or wallow in sentimental hero-worship. His characters talk the way real soldiers do, and he perfectly captures both the intensity of deployment and the blurred morality that can develop in remote outposts, under fire, far from home and family. The Valley belongs among the great novels of America’s 21st century wars.
Ex-US Army officer John Renehan’s novel The Valley surprises and pleases at many turns. The story of an Army infantry lieutenant assigned to conduct an official Article 15-6 investigation of a seemingly minor incident at a remote outpost in Nuristan province, Afghanistan, The Valley maps the highly structured form of a crime novel onto the equally structured form of a war novel. Rather than forced, the mash-up of genres in Renehan’s hands feels harmonious and productive.
Renehan’s slow-simmering sense of alienation has best captured in literature the mood of the little outposts of Iraq and Afghanistan
Renehan has a fine eye for the etiquette of the Army, as delicate and complex as the rural aristocracy depicted in Jane Austen’s novels.
The Valley gives the best description of the American military base environment (and the post-9/11 Army) that I’ve ever read, both accurate in the details and evocative in atmosphere.
Renehan’s beautifully executed thrill ride brings this dramatic country and problematic war to life. It is a mystery novel in which the suspense builds while shedding light on a confounding war and the people who fight it. I cannot wait to delight my customers with The Valley, which will grab them from the first and surprise them throughout.
The Valley is rich with detail, compelling and complex.