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review 2019-05-28 11:31
Twists, turns, a fascinating backdrop and a new hero
The Never Game (Colter Shaw #1) - Jeffery Deaver

Thanks to NetGalley and to Harper Collins for providing me an early ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

Jeffery Deaver does not need an introduction. He has been writing and publishing crime and mystery novels and thrillers for a very long time, and he has been collecting awards and accolades for almost as long. Despite my interest in those genres, I hadn’t read any of his books yet, partly because I always hesitate to start reading a series halfway through (yes, and I had many other books to get on with). When I saw this novel, the first in a new series, I thought this was a good chance to remedy that.

This novel has all the required elements for those who love the genre: an enticing opening (in fact, we are given a glimpse of an extremely tense scene that will come much later in the book), a hero with pretty amazing abilities, a complex past, and a few secrets (and a curious name too, Colter Shaw), a twisted case that gets more and more complicated as we go along (red herrings, false endings, action scenes, bizarre clues, plenty of suspects), useless and useful members of law enforcement (LaDonna Standish is my favourite character in the whole book, and she ticks all the boxes: African-American, lesbian, married with a child, a woman from the wrong side of the tracks, intelligent, a good professional, dismissed and bullied by her co-workers), some sort of love-interest (I didn’t care too much for that aspect of the story), an intriguing backdrop to the story (Silicon Valley and the gaming industry), another case he is working on as well that is pretty personal for the hero, and a twist/hook at the end.

If you like the description and are seeking for those elements in a story, do not hesitate. I can’t fault Deaver’s writing. He knows his stuff and he delivers in all aspects. He knows how to bait the reader’s interest, and his mastery of plot is evident. He drops hints, and when you think you have worked out who is the guilty party, or what is going on, he pulls the rug from under your feet. He is good at combining a fairly modern writing style, including plenty of action and the latest technologies, with well-tried classical elements; including the final explanation of how he worked out who the guilty party was (it is not quite a Sherlock Holmes or Poirot moment, but not that far from it). Although most of the story is told in the third-person from Shaw’s point of view, we don’t get all the information he does, for very good narrative reasons.

Any negatives? I cannot compare this book to his previous novels, and although I’ve checked the reviews, it seems that some people see this as the beginning of another winning series (it seems that the character of Colter Shaw had already been introduced in one of his short-stories), and others feel that is far from his best work. For me, one of the issues was the main character. If you had told me about this man, who was home-schooled and grew up raised in a survivalist household in the mountains of California, whose parents were both brilliant professors, but whose father (Ash) suffered from paranoia and insisted in educating his children (two boys and a girl) in the art of survival, totally isolated from the world and who ended up dead in somewhat unclear circumstances; whose mother was her husband’s psychiatrist and chose to follow his radical lifestyle and indulge (?) his paranoia, whose brother disappeared, and who now lives by working on a variety of criminal cases and collecting rewards (but seems to have other financial means) while at the same time pursues his own investigation, I would have said we were onto a winner. He is skilled, he seems to be attractive, he has commitment issues (unsurprisingly), he is somewhat obsessive and does things his own way (he loves to keep notebooks and writes his observations by hand), he is clever and witty, calm and collected under pressure, and no danger or risk faces him. Although he is not that bothered about rules and regulations, he has a sense of morality and of right and wrong (and he chooses to do the right thing). Despite all those characteristics and his back story, which should have made the character irresistible and compelling, I didn’t feel a particular connection to him. I wonder if it was the third-person narration (we also get flashbacks of episodes of his childhood, as a way to flesh out the character’s background and to build up interest and offer more clues) or something else, but although he was interesting, I felt as if I was observing the action rather than getting really engaged and worried about what might happen to him (or most of the other characters). Perhaps it read too much like a movie, and I can take or leave action flicks (I enjoy them, but they don’t engage my mind for long). Some reviewers have compared the character (negatively) to Jack Reacher, and I guess other characters will come to mind for those who love the genre. The character himself goes to pains to explain he is neither a private investigator nor a bounty hunter, but I’m not sure that makes him unique or distinctive enough. As I said, most readers love the character, and I am convinced he’ll be further developed in future novels in the series, so this should not put anybody off if the rest interests you.

I saw some readers complaining about the fact that the book was centred around the world of computer games, some because they didn’t enjoy it and found that slowed the novel down, and others because they felt there were inaccuracies (I can’t comment on that), but although I’m not a gamer, I found the descriptions interesting (not too detailed) and enjoyed the main plot line and the mystery behind the kidnappings (it is not unique but it works well). I made some general comments about the ending earlier, and I’m trying to avoid spoilers, so I won’t go into it in more detail, but I agree that there seems to be a sudden and surprising change of direction at one point (some readers have complained of a “rushed” ending), although everything is explained and I guess that is the name of the game.

In sum, personally I enjoyed the story and the plot, but at this point I am not sure I’m interested enough to keep reading the series. On the other hand, I am convinced Deaver’s reputation is well deserved, and I intend to read more of his novels in the future. (I read a very early ARC copy of the novel, so it might well be that not all I say applies to the finished product).

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review 2019-04-20 07:27
Jeffrey Deaver thriller, engaging and a bit different.
The Never Game (Colter Shaw #1) - Jeffery Deaver



Colter Shaw (not a policeman, nor a bounty hunter but a collector of rewards) gets involved in a kidnapping and rescue attempts. The plot includes a lot of interesting well-fleshed out characters, some trustworthy, others less so. From survivalism to video gaming, it covers a variety of topics and can get quite complicated. It’s engaging writing and an enjoyable story. Any fan of the author should find the book worth a look - as I did.  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2019-04-11 03:52
The Cutting Edge
The Cutting Edge - Jeffery Deaver

Audience: Adult

Format: Hardcover/Owned



Is it safe?

- first sentence


No surprise - it's not safe. At least not for the couple picking up their diamond ring. This is a Lincoln Rhyme novel after all, so there will be plenty of what you might call "unsafe" situations.


Nothing surprising here. This is a well-written crime story with a few twists I didn't see coming. I recently read the first Lincoln Rhyme book and this is the 14th, so things have changed a lot. In the first book, Lincoln consults with the NYPD for the first time while he is considering how to end his life. In this one, Lincoln and Amelia are married, he is a well-known consultant, and he gets around in his wheelchair. The killer in this book is obsessed with diamonds or with engaged couples. We aren't exactly sure at first.


I enjoyed the book and might read another Lincoln Rhyme novel in the future, but there are so many books out there with new ideas and my tbr is overflowing...


I read this for Snakes & Ladders space #43 Characters involved in the law.



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review 2019-03-14 03:50
The Bone Collector
The Bone Collector - Jeffery Deaver

Audience: Adult

Format: Kindle/Owned



She wanted only to sleep.

- first sentence


So, this is the original Lincoln Rhyme novel - the first in a long series. I have read others, but I don't remember reading this one. I chose this book because I needed a book written between 1900-1999 for Snakes & Ladders. Finding one on my tbr was a bit harder than I thought but I managed.


Lincoln Rhyme is not particularly likable, even when you take into consideration that he is a paraplegic (and is entitled to be a bit angry). Meeting Amelia Sachs was interesting and I liked seeing how her relationship with Lincoln developed. The story is good, though not particularly original - serial killer taunts the police as he kidnaps and sets up elaborate murders scenes; sometimes the would-be victims are rescued, sometimes not. The killer's identity is a bit of a surprise so that part is good.


Overall, good story and I'm glad I read it. I will have to watch the movie again now.


I read this for Snakes & Ladders space #28. Written between 1900 and 1999 (it was published in 1998).

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review 2019-02-26 21:46
The Never Game
The Never Game (Colter Shaw #1) - Jeffery Deaver

Title : The Never Game

Series" Colter Shaw #1

Author: Jeffery Deaver

genre: mystery/ thriller



book synopsis

"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.

Mt thoughts

rating: 5

would you recommend it ? yes

Will you read anything else by this author? yes

I'm so glade I was able to get this one as a request from Penguin Group Putnam because Jeffery Deaver is one of my go tho authors I love to read , as soon as I saw it I knew I had to try and request it, and I'm so glade I did. Because this is a great start to a new series from him, Love how Colter starts out to find one missing person and then he find outs that there are others who was and are kidnapped by the same person , and it goes from there. I also love how I could relate to Colter about the game industry because just like Colter I don't play games at all and just like him I was like what in the world are they talking about ,but that made him a even lovable character. This story had every thing I loved its fast paced from the start to the ever end, it hooks you and pulls you in to the story ,remember characters that become some of your favorite ones to read, and just when you think you have it figure out , you find out it s not the person you thought it was, I also liked how you get Colter's back story and how it sets it up for more to come out in the next book. with that said I want to think Netgalley for letting me read and review it exchange for my honest opinion . Can't wait to read more of this series .

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