Crime Fiction


The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver

A cracking new book and the start of a new series.
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Our book group was lucky enough to obtain copies of The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver - and we think it’s a cracker!

"Nineteen-year-old Sophie disappears one summer afternoon. She wakes up to find herself locked inside a derelict warehouse, surrounded by five objects. If she uses them wisely, she will escape her prison. Otherwise she will die. The police are getting nowhere. Sophie’s distraught father calls in the one man who can help find his daughter: unique investigator Colter Shaw. Raised in the wilderness by survivalist parents, he is an expert tracker. Soon another victim is taken and dies."

So… where to start? Well, the plot is set in California’s Silicon Valley and the rather strange world of online gaming. The hero, Colter Shaw, is a reward-seeker who takes on cases where a reward has been offered. The deal is that he only gets paid if he solves the case but occasionally he waives his right to take it even if he has.

This is the first book of a new Jeffery Deaver series about Colter Shaw. His back story of being raised by survivalist parents is threaded through the book as a series of flashbacks. You learn about his family and his upbringing in snippets so, as the criminal plot develops, you’re also wondering about Shaw’s own story at the same time. The book leaves you wanting to know more, which is obviously the perfect way to set things up for the next one.

As for the plot, you’re thrown into it quickly as Shaw tries to find Sophie, the first kidnap victim. The characters are well drawn and you find out enough about them to stay interested as the story moves along. In fact, Sophie is rescued pretty quickly and her escape is the point when you realise that online gaming is the core of the plot. From there it’s a case that twists and turns between the gamers, big business and corporate rivalries.

Everyone in our group who read The Never Game enjoyed it and rated it 4 or more stars. This is a pretty extraordinary feat in itself because we usually have quite a difference of opinion when we read the same book. (That’s one of the reasons we don’t operate to a set reading list!)

Individually we all had a slightly different slant on the book. Freyja visits California frequently and knows Silicon Valley reasonably well. As she said: “It always adds an extra dimension to a plot if you can say to yourself ‘Yes, I know that street/place/area.’” She thought Colter Shaw was an intriguing character – human and honourable.

For Cornish Eskimo, this was the first Jeffery Deaver she’d ever managed to finish – and she loved it: “I was pulled into the story quickly by Sophie’s abduction but was pleased Shaw found her fairly soon. (The thought of the whole book being about the hunt didn’t fill me with excitement.) Once she’d been found the pace settled and it became more of a classic whodunnit. But it was a page-turner and I found it hard to put down.”

Bunny enjoyed it but had some reservations. Namely that Shaw was too heroic to be believable: “He’s the best marksman, archer, tracker and anything else he tries his hand at. And of course, he’s also tall, handsome and irresistibly attractive to any female. All this made the story a bit predictable in places.”

As a group we've been reading lots of Jeffery Deaver books recently. Some of them have been quite old titles so it's nice to realise we're involved with a new series right from the start. We're looking forward to the next Colter Shaw story.

Oundle Library’s Crime Fiction Book Group is free to attend and lots of fun! We don’t have a set reading list. Instead, we agree a ‘theme’ for the month and choose the books and authors we want to read within that. We meet at Oundle Library on the third Friday of each month @ 2.30pm. Why not join us? You’ll be very welcome.