By Darren Franich
Updated February 09, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

It’s a good thing that Waite mentions No Country for Old Men in his acknowledgments, since his debut reads like a Pacific Northwest remake of Cormac McCarthy’s classic. In The Terror of Living, a drug deal gone wrong leads to violence and macho introspection; an inhuman killer, a heroic cop, and a morally compromised Everyman embark on a three-way chase through back roads and cheap motels. But Waite brings a nimble touch to the material. Throwaway lines are rendered with surprising delicacy, and Living‘s knife-fetishist villain makes for an oddly endearing sociopath. Also, what a title! B