BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 6, 2019

Bea Reviews The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver

Series: Colter Shaw #1
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository  | iBooks* |
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

From the bestselling and award-winning master of suspense, the first novel in a thrilling new series, introducing Colter Shaw.

"You have been abandoned."

A young woman has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father has hired Colter Shaw to find her. The son of a survivalist family, Shaw is an expert tracker. Now he makes a living as a "reward seeker," traveling the country to help police solve crimes and private citizens locate missing persons. But what seems a simple investigation quickly thrusts him into the dark heart of America's tech hub and the cutthroat billion-dollar video-gaming industry.

"Escape if you can."

When another victim is kidnapped, the clues point to one video game with a troubled past--The Whispering Man. In that game, the player has to survive after being abandoned in an inhospitable setting with five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life?

"Or die with dignity."

Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game, risking his own life to save the victims even as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark 'net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers and ruthless tech titans, he soon learns that he isn't the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

The Never Game proves once more why "Deaver is a genius when it comes to manipulation and deception" (Associated Press).

My Thoughts:

"The Never Game" enthralled me and wouldn't let me go easily. Now, it didn't grab me from page one despite starting with a tense and exciting scene. I had too many questions about what was happening to get into it. Then in the next chapter Deaver jumps back two days in time and soon I was hooked.

The chapter set up, by design, echoes levels in a video game. The story revolves around video games and though I don't play, many of my friends and acquaintances do. I enjoyed learning more about them and Deaver's use of them as part of the plot. Neither my lack of knowledge nor lack of interest in video games slowed down the story for me. The story was gripping and fast-paced. Do video games cause violence? Deaver doesn't answer that, doesn't try, but he does make you think about cause and effect, and human behavior.

Deaver intertwines philosophy, humor, romance, suspense, mystery, and action with characters, even throwaway ones, who are richly drawn, and a mystery that was plausible and fascinating. At times Colter's deductions were reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes; Colter is observant, and both logical and intuitive. Colter's father, not unlike Gibbs on "NCIS", had a number of rules, and also a philosophy, that he passed onto his son. Shaw is reticent, self sufficient, competent, cautious, and somewhat restless. He's also on a mission to determine what happened to his father many years ago.

Actually, there are two separate plots. The primary one is the kidnappings and their possible connection to a video game. That one is complex and suspenseful, and full of twists and surprises. Several times I was sure I knew what would happen but Deaver continually surprised me. He neatly sidestepped cliches or inverted them.

The secondary plot has to do with Colter's family and his slightly unusual background. That same background led to his current occupation as a reward seeker. When there is a reward offered - missing person, lost dog, etc - he takes the job and if he's successful, he gets the reward. It's an unusual job, similar to a bounty hunter except a crime isn't necessarily involved. He's good at it, an excellent tracker, and makes a decent living. He even has a crew he relies on - a PI, a computer person, even a business manager. Colter is serious about his work and equally serious about finding out the truth concerning his father's death. This plot line wasn't wrapped but seems like it will be an ongoing story arc in the series.

"The Never Game" was a gripping and highly suspenseful read, and a great start to a new series. I'm looking forward to the next book. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment. We enjoy hearing from our readers. Let's talk!