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

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Bea Reviews First Shot by John Ryder

Series: Grant Fletcher #1
Read As A Stand Alone: Yes
Publisher:  Bookouture
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: June 4th, 2020
Buying Links: Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository |
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

“When girls go missing here, no one says a word…”

Twenty-four-year-old Lila has disappeared without a trace. It’s the kind of case that ex-military loner Grant Fletcher would normally be happy to take on—if someone had the money to pay him. But this one he’s doing for free. This one’s personal.

Fletcher owes his life to Lila’s father, from that time in Afghanistan he’d like to forget. And Fletcher knows that returning Lila safe and sound is the only thing that matters to his wheelchair-bound friend.

She last called her father from a small town called Daversville, in rural Georgia. A place—Fletcher discovers as he checks into the only motel—where folks are proud to keep themselves to themselves, and almost all the business comes from the giant sawmill that looms large over the town.

Before he’s even started looking for Lila, Fletcher finds trouble. And discovers that his friend’s daughter wasn’t the first girl to go missing in Daversville. Not the first by far.

Then the last person to have seen Lila before she disappeared is murdered. With Fletcher on the scene when her body is found, he becomes the local deputy’s only suspect, leaving him no choice but to go on the run. Because he knows someone’s abducting girls in this town. And he also knows he’s the only one who can find them…

Fans of the high-octane action and unforgettable heroes found in Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels, Robert Ludlum’s Jason Bourne series and David Baldacci’s Amos Decker books will love First Shot.

My Thoughts:

Short review: Blech. Don't bother

Longer review: The book wasn't offensive, much, but it was poorly written and offered nothing new.

First, I read an ARC. Or, more accurately, a rough draft. There weren't just typos and the occasional wrong punctuation. Oh no. We had run-on sentences, sentence fragments, sentences that were stilted, awkwardly written, or just flat out made no sense. Add in the many wrong words, missing words, comma orgies, etc, and at times, I needed a translator to make sense of what I was reading. Hopefully, all of that was cleaned up for a final copy. But really, it was not in good enough shape to be sent out for review. It needed cleaning up first.

Okay, onto the story. A small town in rural Georgia has a pattern of female tourists going missing. Local police make a token attempt at finding them and locals often deny the women were ever there. Grant Fletcher, he of a tortured, sad past (yes, I'm being sarcastic) comes to town and tries to find the missing daughter of a friend. The town is weirdly anachronistic and we never get a satisfactory explanation. There is an explanation provided; I just didn't buy it. And ultimately, that was a problem. There was just so much I couldn't buy into. The story didn't just stretch credulity; it exploded it.

Fletcher is ye basic action hero; he brings nothing new to the table. I already mentioned the requisite tortured past. He's also superman, taking down 4 opponents at once; he has mad skills; thinks fast on his feet; he broods; blah blah blah. The lack of originality would be bearable if the characterization shone or the writing shone or the action was awesome; it needed something, anything, to stand out.

The pacing is awkward, there's way too much internal monolog, the villains are over the top and lack characterization, and I just didn't find their motives credible. Even less credible was the hold they had on the town and how ass-backwards it was. That just never worked. That mystery was more appealing to me than the missing women because the solution to that was obvious. Sadly, I was right.

I also was less than impressed with the other lead, Zoey Quadrado. She's a young and relatively inexperienced FBI agent sent to investigate the missing women. The authorities have noticed a pattern and that the local police are incapable of solving the disappearances. She initially comes off as competent. Then as soon as she encounters Fletcher, her IQ drops. It's not because of attraction. There's no hint of that; that's one trope that Ryder manages to avoid. She's both the token female and the token non-white. Fletcher is the series lead, the hero, so Ryder deprived Quadrado of her intelligence and competence to  make Fletcher look better. He also has to rescue her several times. Yawn. And that final chapter. Wow. It sets up the series premise but it was so expected, so trite and so absurd. I've bought into the premise in other books but it didn't work for me in this one.

If you want a long book that is may not make sense and you don't mind cardboard characters, you just need to fill some time, then this might work for you. If you want an exciting action adventure story or an engaging mystery, keep looking.


  1. Wow thanks for telling it like it is. The blurb sounds great but that doesn't mean it is executed well. Excellent review!

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  2. The blurb definitely grabbed my attention but I think I'll take a pass on this one! Too bad it wasn't executed up to the potential of the story!

  3. Sorry it didn't really work for you.

  4. The blurb was so promising but the book was so disappointing.


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