I was fortunate to receive this book as an Advance Reader Copy from Netgalley, in exchange for an objective review.
Colter Shaw is a bit of a loner. Raised by survivalist parents, and being an expert tracker, he spends his time driving around the country in his Winnebago RV and seeking out rewards for missing individuals as ‘work’. This time his friends have alerted him to a missing teenager, and a reward for $10,000 in Silicon Valley. Meanwhile Shaw is also looking for answers to a 15-year-old mystery. His Dad had left the family compound 15 years ago with gun in hand and was found dead at the base of a cliff. This storyline weaves itself around the main theme of the book, as you learn about Shaw’s past in bits and pieces.
Shaw thinks in percentages. As he stops by the Quick Byte internet café, he has calculated the odds at finding Sophie Mulliner alive at 40%. The café was the last place she was seen, and it is here that Shaw meets some pretty interesting people and learns all about the gaming world. A quick chat with the waitress on duty gives Shaw some clues and leads him to the area where he thinks Sophie was abducted.
As Shaw searches for Sophie, it appears as though her kidnapper is mimicking the levels of a popular computerized immersion game. As a second person goes missing and is later found dead, Shaw realizes that the theme of the game is ‘escape or die’ and that nothing is as it seems. Meanwhile, shades of the past are here in the present and Shaw finds himself in the sights of a different enemy, this one much closer to home…
I LOVE everything that Jeffrey Deaver writes, and this is no exception! Colter Shaw is a unique character – reminds me of Jack Reacher with a healthier ego – and the book sets us up for a pretty interesting series, with a lot of threads available for pulling in later novels. I can’t wait for the next installment! A fabulous debut for Colter Shaw!