On the surface, in fact high up on the surface in the mountains of Washington, this is a pretty good action story which separates the men from the boys. You can take it further with the more obvious comparisons Eddings too obviously invites -- a sort of Deliverance out of Hemingway -- "When you strip it all away, and it's just you and the big lonely out there, you can get down to what counts." Well what counts for Dan, who tells the story, is the childhood memory of an old dog who had to be shot and this will spook him through the years as it does during the deer stalk with which this is ostensibly concerned; what counts for his brother, Jack, is the constant fear he has always lived with. After an initial interlude featuring other kinds of manly sports (poker, adultery, and the "conspicuous consumption" of beer) this goes up into the Cascade Mountains with Dan and Jack and a real rotter called McKlearey ("a big plate of fried ratshit" -- the vernacular is not what you might call housebroken) and you're pleased when they all come down again, alive, all except that white deer. . . Sentimental in spots, hairy in others, but genuinely likable and potentially photovisual -- a four-ounce shot of 100 proof liquor for the men who take theirs neat.