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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 countr 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).


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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 countr 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).

30 review for The Never Game

  1. 5 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Jeffery Deaver introduced us to his new protagonist, Colter Shaw, in his short story Captivated, which certainly piqued my interest in this, his new series. This is the full blown first book and it proves to be a gripping and highly suspenseful read. We learn more about Shaw's background growing up in remote California, with his well educated and academic survivalist father, Ashton, his mother, Mary Dove, and his siblings, reclusive elder brother, Russell, and his younger sister, Dorion. Home wa Jeffery Deaver introduced us to his new protagonist, Colter Shaw, in his short story Captivated, which certainly piqued my interest in this, his new series. This is the full blown first book and it proves to be a gripping and highly suspenseful read. We learn more about Shaw's background growing up in remote California, with his well educated and academic survivalist father, Ashton, his mother, Mary Dove, and his siblings, reclusive elder brother, Russell, and his younger sister, Dorion. Home was The Compound, where all the children were home schooled with none of the trappings of modern life and technology, which meant no TV or phones, but there was an extraordinarily well equipped library. Colter is knowledgeable about guns and the environment, acquiring the skills to become a gifted forensic tracker. Raised by his father on a number of rules and philosophy, and a particular lifestyle, Shaw is a man of few words, largely a loner, physically and emotionally resilient, but with a defining sense of wanderlust that drives his inability to settle or commit to a long term personal relationship. There is some mystery about aspects of Shaw's life, such as the financial resources he has at his disposal. What he has settled into is a remarkably successful career in finding missing people. He is guided to potential missing people and rewards offered for locating them by his friends, Teddy and Velma in Florida, who are keeping an eye on his home there. Shaw has a number of background players who support his investigations. He ends up making his way in his Winnebago to Silicon Valley, California, where a distraught father, Frank Mulliner, is offering a reward he cannot afford to anyone who can find his missing 19 year old daughter, Sophie. The police have shown little interest in the case, so Shaw looks into her odd disappearance. Using his extensive experience and research, Shaw allocates percentages into the possible options of what could have happened that are major drivers into the decisions he makes. He has a strong interest in maps, and he maps the areas that his investigations take him to. Shaw finds himself in the unfamiliar world of gaming and murder, whilst the acquisition of stole papers take him back into his personal history and what happened to his father. Deaver is a complete pro when it comes to writing a riveting thriller with his new protagonist, Colter Shaw, an unusual character with a unique personal history that has shaped the man he is today, a man who needs to live at the edge, who needs to take risks to feel alive. There are twists galore in the book, just when you think you know where it is all going, it moves into an entirely different direction. What really proved a highlight for me was the detailed insights and observations of the US gaming industry, both the game makers and those who live to game, people whose lives are entirely consumed by their primal need to meet the challenges that competitive gaming companies provide. The premise made in the book about where the gaming industry could end up does not feel that far fetched, given our contemporary world of fake news, dirty politics and political machinations. All in all, this was a fantastic read and I have no doubt Colter Shaw and this new series will prove to be popular with crime fiction and thriller fans. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kaceey

    All right everyone! It’s time to play a little game known as The Whispering Man. The rules: You are taken away and isolated. You will be given five objects. It’s up to you how you use them to free yourself before time runs out. OK, are you ready to play? I’ve been reading Jeffrey Deaver's books for years. I love his Lincoln Rhyme series. So after seeing he was releasing a brand new series I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! And I wasn’t disappointed! Meet the new lead character, Colter Shaw. Rai All right everyone! It’s time to play a little game known as The Whispering Man. The rules: You are taken away and isolated. You will be given five objects. It’s up to you how you use them to free yourself before time runs out. OK, are you ready to play? I’ve been reading Jeffrey Deaver's books for years. I love his Lincoln Rhyme series. So after seeing he was releasing a brand new series I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it! And I wasn’t disappointed! Meet the new lead character, Colter Shaw. Raised off the grid with his parents and 2 siblings. He was taught how to hunt, how to understand and respect his natural surroundings. But most importantly, how to survive! Grown-up now, Colter makes his living by cashing in on rewards posted for missing people or fugitives. His latest assignment takes him to California to track down a young woman who vanished after leaving a local cafe. Her father has put up a reward and it’s up to Colter to safely bring his daughter home. But wait… suddenly there are more people missing! Could all their disappearances be related? Nonstop action, you will be glued to the pages! Well done Mr. Deaver! I am totally hooked on your new series and am already watching for book 2!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    I remember the first time I read this author. It was the Bone Collector featuring Lincoln Rymes, a parapeligic and Amelia Saks, who was his legs and eyes, in their crime solving Enterprise. It was brilliant, such unusual characters, but so likable. What really blew me away were his many twists and turns. I couldn't follow them, never could figure out where he was going. And I tried. This is a new series, and another interesting person with an unusual background fostering unusual skills. Colton Sh I remember the first time I read this author. It was the Bone Collector featuring Lincoln Rymes, a parapeligic and Amelia Saks, who was his legs and eyes, in their crime solving Enterprise. It was brilliant, such unusual characters, but so likable. What really blew me away were his many twists and turns. I couldn't follow them, never could figure out where he was going. And I tried. This is a new series, and another interesting person with an unusual background fostering unusual skills. Colton Shaw, comes from a survivalists family, off the grid living, homeschooled and trained by his father to anticipate all variables. This story has much to do with game playing.nim not a player myself but I found this fascinating. Had no clue the depth of the games and the competition between writers of codes and developers. The story line takes the unreal and makes it real. Enough said. A great start to what I think is going to be a hit of a new series. The ending left me wanting more immediately, since it is open ended. There is a family mystery to be solved. ARC from Netgalley.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anovelqueen

    Jeffery Deaver has done it again! I have been a fan of Deaver for many years especially of his Rhyme & Sachs series. So I was really interested to read this new series featuring a character by the name of Colter Shaw. Colter Shaw is a restless and mysterious man who collects rewards from finding missing people or helping to solve crimes. He is not a private investigator, nor a detective, but he strictly holds to the fact that he collects rewards. (By the way, this was an actually ingenious idea fo Jeffery Deaver has done it again! I have been a fan of Deaver for many years especially of his Rhyme & Sachs series. So I was really interested to read this new series featuring a character by the name of Colter Shaw. Colter Shaw is a restless and mysterious man who collects rewards from finding missing people or helping to solve crimes. He is not a private investigator, nor a detective, but he strictly holds to the fact that he collects rewards. (By the way, this was an actually ingenious idea for a lead character). Colter has gone to the Bay Area of California to help find a missing girl. Her father has offered a reward . Once he gets involved in this endeavor he is drawn into an even deeper level of investigation involving other missing persons and a villain copying a famous video game on his victims. I found the book to be very fast-paced and as always meticulous in facts and plot. Deaver is infamous for his knowledge of law enforcement on many levels and this shows, but the reader is not bogged down in many facts. The world of video gaming was also interesting and eye opening. This was a great book and if you are looking for a great who-dun-it, police procedural, suspense novel. I am really looking forward to reading more in the series. Colter Shaw is definitely someone you want to learn more about.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Jeffery Deaver is an excellent writer with his newly developed character, Colter Shaw, a reward tracker. Colter has more good qualities than not and I look forward to his next venture. 7 of 10 stars

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨️ I yeet my books back and forth ✨️ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest DNF @ 14% I bought this when it was on sale for $1.99 because the idea of a mystery in Silicon Valley (just a stone's throw away across the Bay) focusing on video games was really, really appealing to me, a California gamer with a love for mystery novels. Plus, I was obsessed with the Lincoln Rhyme mysteries when I was in my early twenties. The fast-paced whodunnit style with serial killers and jaded gumshoe kept me thumbing pages like no Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest DNF @ 14% I bought this when it was on sale for $1.99 because the idea of a mystery in Silicon Valley (just a stone's throw away across the Bay) focusing on video games was really, really appealing to me, a California gamer with a love for mystery novels. Plus, I was obsessed with the Lincoln Rhyme mysteries when I was in my early twenties. The fast-paced whodunnit style with serial killers and jaded gumshoe kept me thumbing pages like nobody's biz. Sadly, I did not get that vibe with this one. Everything in this book is tell and not show. I WAS SO BORED. There was nothing that hooked me, and I think you'll probably agree that if you're not engaged with a mystery from the beginning, you're not going to want to sit around and wait for the book to figure itself out. I ended up setting the book aside to read later... only I never read it later because it was so boring that the thought of going back to it made me just want to read other books instead. It's really too bad because I was SO EXCITED for this one and it ended up being a major let down. 1 star

  7. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    I've been a huge fan of Deaver’s work over the years, I like that he develops slightly off-the-wall baddies and as a result his stories are often quite quirky. There are always plenty of twists too, enough to prevent me from guessing the ending at any rate (OK, that's actually not too hard as I virtually never work out an ending). Most recently, his Lincoln Rhyme series has held me captive, but I've avoided the last couple of books as I was beginning to tire of the format. So I was delighted to I've been a huge fan of Deaver’s work over the years, I like that he develops slightly off-the-wall baddies and as a result his stories are often quite quirky. There are always plenty of twists too, enough to prevent me from guessing the ending at any rate (OK, that's actually not too hard as I virtually never work out an ending). Most recently, his Lincoln Rhyme series has held me captive, but I've avoided the last couple of books as I was beginning to tire of the format. So I was delighted to see that with this book he’s introduced a new hunter of unsubs, a fresh solver of crimes. Colter Shaw looks for opportunities to earn rewards offered for missing persons and the like. He's not a registered PI but he operates along similar lines and uses a small back-up team to help him track down such opportunities and to provide additional information as his investigations progress. A student has gone missing in Silicon Valley and her father is offering up a $10,000 reward – right up Colter’s street. And as he gets into the detail of what he suspects is a kidnapping he notices that developments seem to be tracking events featured in a video game. Soon Colter finds himself embroiled in intrigue involving the multi-billion dollar gaming industry… and now a second case has raised its head. I quickly grew to enjoy spending time with Deaver’s new front man: he’s clever (of course), has a dry wit and an interesting background, involving a troubled brother and a survivalist father who thought him many of the skills he now deploys. Towards the end of this book the author sets the scene for book two - I'm hooked already, line me up for the second instalment. I'm not quite wowed enough to award this one five stars – a slow section in the middle of the book being the culprit - but it's an easy four star offering and I have a feeling that I’ll be tuning in to tales featuring Colter Shaw for some time to come. My sincere thanks to HarperCollins UK and NetGalley for supplying a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)

    "The Never Game" is the first in a brand new investigative series written by renowned thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver and featuring a fabulous new character 'Colter Shaw'. Shaw is an itinerant 'reward-seeker', someone who finds missing people in return for the reward money and makes a refreshing change to the run of the mill, private investigator/bounty hunter stories that normally relate in the hunt for missing persons. Shaw is an exceedingly well developed character and Deaver's precise attenti "The Never Game" is the first in a brand new investigative series written by renowned thriller writer Jeffrey Deaver and featuring a fabulous new character 'Colter Shaw'. Shaw is an itinerant 'reward-seeker', someone who finds missing people in return for the reward money and makes a refreshing change to the run of the mill, private investigator/bounty hunter stories that normally relate in the hunt for missing persons. Shaw is an exceedingly well developed character and Deaver's precise attention to detail is totally remarkable and unlike any other author indeed. The descriptions of the locations featuring in the story allow for perfect clarity of vision and the way the story is told in such immense detail, you immediately feel a part of the intriguing story and know exactly what is going on in each intelligently written chapter. There's plenty of information on Shaw's background to keep you intrigued and I look forward to learning more about him in future books. He’s a trained survivalist (not ex cop or military), quietly spoken, strong both mentally and physically, has personal standards, empathy and respects other people regardless of their stature. His trademark way of attempting to solve crimes and dangerous situations by assessing percentages relating to each circumstance is very clever and typical of a Deaver character. Jeffrey Deaver really is one of the best thriller writers in town and I have personally been a fan of his intellectual crime stories for many, many years. I suspect Colter Shaw will be another iconic character like the author’s other very successful character - Lincoln Rhymes- and I look forward immensely to following this series further. Many thanks to Love Reading for my copy of the book in return for an honest review. 4.5 stars rounded up to 5

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    This is the first book in the Colter Shaw series by author Jeffery Deaver. I am a an avid reader of this authors novels and love the Lincoln Rhyme series so was keen to read this new one. I enjoyed the new character investigator Colter Shaw, who I am sure will develop in time to another excellent addition to Jeffery Deaver's repertoire. But tbh I struggled getting into the plot in this book, I am not into video games etc and couldn't really connect with the story-line. Colter Shaw however shows This is the first book in the Colter Shaw series by author Jeffery Deaver. I am a an avid reader of this authors novels and love the Lincoln Rhyme series so was keen to read this new one. I enjoyed the new character investigator Colter Shaw, who I am sure will develop in time to another excellent addition to Jeffery Deaver's repertoire. But tbh I struggled getting into the plot in this book, I am not into video games etc and couldn't really connect with the story-line. Colter Shaw however shows great promise and there are lots of sub plots and secrets to let loose there. Not for me this time but will continue to read the series in the future as enjoy not only the authors writing but also Colter Shaw. I would like to thank Net Galley and Harper Collins for supplying a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    J.D. Barker

    Grabbing you from the first page, Jeffery Deaver crafts a devilish plot that unfolds with breakneck speed. An excellent start to a new series, Colter Shaw has comfortably nestled onto the bench with Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance - one of our best literary puppet-masters at the end of all their strings.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lou

    The Never Game introduces Mr Deaver's exciting new series featuring the wonderfully mysterious Colter Shaw, and once again he has penned an intense, absorbing an enthralling page-turner highlighting that he is indeed still ahead of the game. The premise very much reminded me of the horror film Saw and is equally as disturbing with a killer that certainly wouldn't be out of place in the movie. Dark, disturbing and very troublesome, Deaver crafts a fast-paced runaway train of a novel with thrills The Never Game introduces Mr Deaver's exciting new series featuring the wonderfully mysterious Colter Shaw, and once again he has penned an intense, absorbing an enthralling page-turner highlighting that he is indeed still ahead of the game. The premise very much reminded me of the horror film Saw and is equally as disturbing with a killer that certainly wouldn't be out of place in the movie. Dark, disturbing and very troublesome, Deaver crafts a fast-paced runaway train of a novel with thrills and chills aplenty. Colter is a fascinating and original protagonist as proved by the background information revealed about him here, and I can't wait to learn more about this enigmatic character. Interestingly and rather uniquely Colter effectively uses percentage play to guide himself and the police, and with dogged hard work, Shaw can usually unravel the mystery surrounding his cases. There are twists and surprises in abundance, and I appreciated that although I couldn't guess most of them they made sense when looking back and mulling over the clues that were there retrospectively. This adds an element of authenticity to the story. The part of the plot that explores video gaming has been extensively and meticulously researched; all of these aspects made this a quick, thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to many more adventures with Mr Shaw. Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan K

    Deaver delivers an extremely well paced, high impact story while bringing forth Colton Shaw, a character of depth and charisma. I found it highly engaging and as a Bay area resident could easily envision the locals. Weaving a video game titled The Whispering Man as the element the mysterious kidnapper models his process after, the reader must navigate a labyrinth filled with twists, odd characters and cops. Having read "The Bone Collector" previously, this book is on par. What's notable is the c Deaver delivers an extremely well paced, high impact story while bringing forth Colton Shaw, a character of depth and charisma. I found it highly engaging and as a Bay area resident could easily envision the locals. Weaving a video game titled The Whispering Man as the element the mysterious kidnapper models his process after, the reader must navigate a labyrinth filled with twists, odd characters and cops. Having read "The Bone Collector" previously, this book is on par. What's notable is the consistency of the pace; while many crime/mystery writers go the momentum route, he keeps the reader engaged from first words to last.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Monnie

    What could possibly be better than finding an exciting new series? When it's written by a favorite author, that's what! Such is the case here for sure - and for sure I'm already chomping at the bit for the next installment. The new character is a complex guy named Colter Shaw, who grew up as a son of exceptionally well-educated parents who ditched mainstream life for a survivalist existence. They taught their children well; their father, from off an ever-deepening end, and their mother from a mor What could possibly be better than finding an exciting new series? When it's written by a favorite author, that's what! Such is the case here for sure - and for sure I'm already chomping at the bit for the next installment. The new character is a complex guy named Colter Shaw, who grew up as a son of exceptionally well-educated parents who ditched mainstream life for a survivalist existence. They taught their children well; their father, from off an ever-deepening end, and their mother from a more practical (and loving) perspective as she struggled to rein in her husband's paranoia. Long since, Colt moved back to reality (even going to college and law school) and now makes a living primarily by earning reward money offered for locating missing loved ones. He's not a bounty hunter; he picks his jobs only after carefully researching both the reward offerers and the victims. On every case, one of his strengths - long ago instilled by his now-deceased father - is assessing probabilities (whether or not he'll be successful, which suspect is more likely to be the perpetrator, etc.) Adding to the overall strength of the book is that interspersed throughout are recollections from Colt's growing-up years - some good, some not so much - all of which give readers intriguing insights into what motivates him. The story opens as Colt is in over his head - literally; he's trying to save a very pregnant woman who's been locked into a boat that's sinking in frigid water. We get a glimpse or two of what might happen before the scene shifts to two days earlier, when someone tries to toss a Molotov cocktail into Colt's RV. Shortly thereafter, he learns of a $10,000 reward from a Silicon Valley father who's desperate to find his missing daughter. Colt drives his RV to a park there, rents a car, visits the father and agrees to take on the case. During the investigation, he encounters a professional computer game tester named Maddie, who drags him to a huge convention and introduces him to a world he didn't even know existed - a world filled with characters who love killing, both virtually and, quite possibly, in real life. Although I'm working on some kind of electronic gadget a big part of every day, whether it be my desktop or Kindle or smartphone - I've never had more than a passing interest in playing animated games. As such, a good bit of the plentiful and complex information on that topic that's in here pretty much sailed over my head. On the other hand, I learned quite a few things - all of which added to the story and made it even more interesting. I can't say more without giving away too much, but the ending brings everything together (including the woman on the sinking ship) as well as leaves the door wide open to the next chapter in Colt's life. For me, that can't come soon enough, so please get busy, Mr. Deaver. While I wait, I'll thank the publisher, via NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review the first of what I'm confident will be a great series.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    As a big fan of the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jefferey Deaver was I curious to see how THE NEVER GAME, the first book in Deaver's new series, would turn out. Would this book appeal to just as much as the Lincoln Rhyme books did? In this book, are we introduced to Colter Shaw, an expert at tracking people down, thanks to his upbringing with a father who uprooted the whole family to live off the grid. Now, he's been contacted by a man in Silicon Valley whose daughter has gone missing. It soon turns As a big fan of the Lincoln Rhyme series by Jefferey Deaver was I curious to see how THE NEVER GAME, the first book in Deaver's new series, would turn out. Would this book appeal to just as much as the Lincoln Rhyme books did? In this book, are we introduced to Colter Shaw, an expert at tracking people down, thanks to his upbringing with a father who uprooted the whole family to live off the grid. Now, he's been contacted by a man in Silicon Valley whose daughter has gone missing. It soon turns out that this is just the first missing case he has to deal with in Silicon Valley. READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris Pavone

    Jeffrey Deaver is a one of our most exciting storytellers, and THE NEVER GAME pulls off the remarkable feat of intertwining devilish plot with unforgettable characters, fascinating disquisitions with propulsive action, every element conspiring to make it almost impossible to not turn the page. I absolutely loved it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kay

    I started reading this book over a week ago, but couldn't get into it so I switched to audio and that didn't work either. Something about the plot or format that doesn't keep me interested. I don't mind gaming stories or Colter Shaw. DNF chapter 30, 40%. I started reading this book over a week ago, but couldn't get into it so I switched to audio and that didn't work either. Something about the plot or format that doesn't keep me interested. I don't mind gaming stories or Colter Shaw. DNF chapter 30, 40%.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    starting reading i was quite disappointed. i found it messy, too many details which seemed only to bulk the pages. i did not know where the plot is heading and hoped the writer knows. so i turned to goodreads to see reviews and i must say thank you guys. as crossing the first 160 pages i found really nice thriller, fresh and great writing and enjoyed it till the end. still, i do think a bit of tough editing could lift the book. too much game and gaming details. it is a nice start to a new charac starting reading i was quite disappointed. i found it messy, too many details which seemed only to bulk the pages. i did not know where the plot is heading and hoped the writer knows. so i turned to goodreads to see reviews and i must say thank you guys. as crossing the first 160 pages i found really nice thriller, fresh and great writing and enjoyed it till the end. still, i do think a bit of tough editing could lift the book. too much game and gaming details. it is a nice start to a new character.

  18. 4 out of 5

    RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) Griffin (alwaysdaddyprincess)

    2 stars. I had to push to finish. I only finish because I push myself. I am trying to read good and bad books. Maybe a review down the road. 🇺🇸

  19. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    8/10 I haven’t read a Deaver for some time but I’m fond of his Lincoln Ryhme series and some of his standalone books have been excellent so when I saw this on offer I snatched at it. As predicted, it was a fun read with plenty of intrigue, twists and turns. This series introduces a new character of Colter Shaw, a reward hunter but with scruples who picks and chooses which case to go after based on the people involved. In this one he gets dragged into a mystery in Silicon Valley where a number of 8/10 I haven’t read a Deaver for some time but I’m fond of his Lincoln Ryhme series and some of his standalone books have been excellent so when I saw this on offer I snatched at it. As predicted, it was a fun read with plenty of intrigue, twists and turns. This series introduces a new character of Colter Shaw, a reward hunter but with scruples who picks and chooses which case to go after based on the people involved. In this one he gets dragged into a mystery in Silicon Valley where a number of seemingly unrelated kidnappings are occurring in a technical backdrop in the world of computing. Shaw and his unique tracking skills set about finding the missing people. Shaw is an interesting character with plenty of information provided on how he’s got his skills and his family life. Some of the characters after that are less well padded out but you might not expect great characterisation in a 400 page thriller. This didn’t deter from the plot as things kept up a nice pace with chapters flying by and plenty of new discoveries to make you question what you thought you knew. I know for a fact I would read more from this series, it was exactly what I’d expect and want from this type of book. It might be easily forgettable by the time the next one in the series out but I have a feeling that won’t overly matter. A fun read whilst absorbed in it and Deaver has another solid story under his belt again. I also now have no desire to try and buy a house in Silicon Valley, it sounds worse than London house prices!! I received a free copy from NetGalley in return for my review. This was it!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Natalie M

    An intriguing new series by Deaver and one I will be looking forward to following. I found Colter Shaw (protagonist) an excellent character. Unique in approach as a ‘reward-hunter’ who uses his tracking and survival skills to solve mysteries. The plot is thought-provoking and made me wonder just how powerful and manipulative the gaming world could be. Quick-paced, interesting and contemporary. Technology, crime, politics, power, and great storytelling.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Excellent start to a new series for Mr Deaver. Review to follow nearer publication.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bruce Hatton

    In this novel, Jeffery Deaver introduces us to his latest protagonist, Colter Shaw. For a living, Colter locates and, if necessary, rescues missing people. In a way, he comes across as somewhere between Tim Weaver’s David Raker and Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X,. In the opening chapters we get a glimpse into Colter’s largely happy yet unusual childhood in the wilderness of east California and his father Ashton’s various “commandments”, which usually began with the word “never”; rules which Colter sti In this novel, Jeffery Deaver introduces us to his latest protagonist, Colter Shaw. For a living, Colter locates and, if necessary, rescues missing people. In a way, he comes across as somewhere between Tim Weaver’s David Raker and Gregg Hurwitz’s Orphan X,. In the opening chapters we get a glimpse into Colter’s largely happy yet unusual childhood in the wilderness of east California and his father Ashton’s various “commandments”, which usually began with the word “never”; rules which Colter still tries to abide by. In the opening chapters, owing to a flash forward, we learn of three abductions. In the first, the abductee is locked in an derelict warehouse, in the second, a remote forest and, in the third, a sinking ship. The story then takes a seemingly bizarre turn when Colter attends a gaming convention. However, things become slightly clearer when it seems as if the abductions could be directly based on a video game. All Jeffery Deaver’s novels are well-researched and this one gives us plenty of fascinating detail into the often murky word of Silicon Valley. Also, true to form, there are plenty of plot twists and turns along the way. In Colter Shaw, Jeffery Deaver has created a full-realised and unique protagonist with an intriguing backstory. I’m greatly looking forward to reading the next novel in this series.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Barb in Maryland

    Well my eyes really got a workout with this one! This was a real page turner---couldn't read it fast enough, had to know how it ended. On the other hand, I did keep rolling my eyes--a lot!! I'll give Deaver at least one more chance to turn Colter Shaw into a real person; right now he is all action-hero cardboard figure. An interesting one, to be sure, but two dimensional nonetheless. Well my eyes really got a workout with this one! This was a real page turner---couldn't read it fast enough, had to know how it ended. On the other hand, I did keep rolling my eyes--a lot!! I'll give Deaver at least one more chance to turn Colter Shaw into a real person; right now he is all action-hero cardboard figure. An interesting one, to be sure, but two dimensional nonetheless.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Denise

    "A shrine to the chivalrous who protect the weak." Colter Shaw is a survivalist and a rewardist -- he assists in locating the missing -- and travels around the country in his RV to track them and collect the money when he succeeds. Those missing could include the kidnapped, fugitives, suspects or just about anyone of interest to the paying party. In this particular case, Shaw is first asked by her father to find Sophie Mulliner, a 19-year-old student who has vanished in Silcon Valley. But it does "A shrine to the chivalrous who protect the weak." Colter Shaw is a survivalist and a rewardist -- he assists in locating the missing -- and travels around the country in his RV to track them and collect the money when he succeeds. Those missing could include the kidnapped, fugitives, suspects or just about anyone of interest to the paying party. In this particular case, Shaw is first asked by her father to find Sophie Mulliner, a 19-year-old student who has vanished in Silcon Valley. But it doesn't stop there and there is so much more going on in this action-packed and extremely well-written book by one of my favorite authors. Shaw discovers that Sophie's disappearance, and others, are connected to a video game called THE WHISPERING MAN. The online multiplayer game sets up specific scenarios where an individual is abducted then abandoned at a particular place, left with 5 objects, and the instructions to escape by using those tools or "die with dignity." But there's much more than a game turned into murderous reality going on here. NO SPOILERS. What a great premise and it's so deftly handled by the author. Plenty of misdirection, red herrings, and masterful juggling of details and characters. I enjoyed the tension and the suspense and could barely put the book down as the narrative raced to the climax and conclusion. I really liked the protagonist; Shaw has quite the background and I can't wait to learn more about his past and check out the future jobs he will take. Lucky me, I have the second in this new series to begin immediately! Don't miss this one if you're looking for a good thriller. There's a lot of interesting information about the video game world along with a believable story line. Thank you to G.P. Putnam's Sons for this e-book ARC to read, review and recommend. It came out last year and had languished on my TBR shelf and I'm quite sorry I waited so long to read it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Tomasso

    I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for an advance copy of The Never Game, the first novel to feature Colter Shaw, a man who finds missing people for the reward money. Shaw is in the Bay Area for a private project when he is alerted to the disappearance of 19 year old Sophie Mulliner. The police don’t appear interested so her father is offering a reward. Shaw gets more than a straightforward missing persons case when he starts investigating. I enjoyed The Never Game I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for an advance copy of The Never Game, the first novel to feature Colter Shaw, a man who finds missing people for the reward money. Shaw is in the Bay Area for a private project when he is alerted to the disappearance of 19 year old Sophie Mulliner. The police don’t appear interested so her father is offering a reward. Shaw gets more than a straightforward missing persons case when he starts investigating. I enjoyed The Never Game which is an exciting read with plenty of twists and turns, in fact vintage Deaver. The novel has two plot lines, the main one being the hunt for Sophie’s kidnapper and his motive and the secondary one the private project he is undertaking. This project has roots deep in Shaw’s past and is gradually expanded on over the course of the novel but not to its full extent and as the novel ends in a cliffhanger for this plot it is fair to assume that it will run throughout the series. I’m not sure what to think about this. I like the way Mr Deaver reveals just enough at key points to whet the appetite without annoying the reader with too much secrecy but I’m not the biggest fan of running plots into several novels as I’ve always forgotten the detail by the time the next one arrives. I really enjoyed the hunt for Sophie’s kidnapper which is exciting and action packed. It held my attention from start to finish with all the developments and twists. Obviously as it’s a thriller realism isn’t high on the priority list but a clever perpetrator and a smart hunter in the form of Shaw more than make up for this lack. It should be noted that the novel is set in the Silicon Valley gaming community which I thought might be a turn off but in fact is very interesting, not the actual gaming which seems rather pointless to me but the politics and motivations involved are fascinating and scary (that part I had no difficulty in believing). Colter Shaw is an interesting proposition. The son of survivalists he was home schooled and has some unusual skills like tracking and duh! survival. There is, however, much more to him than a man who earns his living from reward money. What that is is not specified in the novel but adds to his air of mystery. He seems a smart, honourable man so I was delighted to make his acquaintance. The Never Game is a good read which I have no hesitation in recommending.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Intriguing This is the first book by this author I've read. From the first page it peaked my curiosity. This author knows how to create a character that just keeps you captivated. I felt the emotions of each character as I was reading. The person behind the crimes was very unexpected. As for the ending, that is yet to come. Gamers, clues, a killer and plenty of action. On to the next book in the series. Yes it's that good. Intriguing This is the first book by this author I've read. From the first page it peaked my curiosity. This author knows how to create a character that just keeps you captivated. I felt the emotions of each character as I was reading. The person behind the crimes was very unexpected. As for the ending, that is yet to come. Gamers, clues, a killer and plenty of action. On to the next book in the series. Yes it's that good.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lee

    Mmm… I think the biggest problem I had with this book is that it was written by Jeffery Deaver, an author who I have never read before but is insanely popular and well respected. The blurb even quotes that he’s a ‘genius when it comes to manipulation and deception’. Mmm… I think that’s a bit of a stretch, to be honest. The Never Game introduces us to Colter Shaw who is a reward seeker. That is, he earns a living by finding missing persons and collecting the reward posted by the family of those mi Mmm… I think the biggest problem I had with this book is that it was written by Jeffery Deaver, an author who I have never read before but is insanely popular and well respected. The blurb even quotes that he’s a ‘genius when it comes to manipulation and deception’. Mmm… I think that’s a bit of a stretch, to be honest. The Never Game introduces us to Colter Shaw who is a reward seeker. That is, he earns a living by finding missing persons and collecting the reward posted by the family of those missing. Arriving in the Silicon Valley area of California, he takes on the case of a young woman who has gone missing and is, it's assumed, kidnapped. Whilst investigating, he comes to the conclusion that the kidnapper could be copying the crimes of a popular video game called The Whispering Man. The young woman’s kidnap has similarities between level one of the game and, considering The Whispering Man has ten levels, Shaw will need to discover the kidnapper’s identity before there is more kidnappings and, perhaps, killings. As a character I quite liked Shaw. His past is covered extensively in the book. Part native American, he and his family lived off the grid for most of his life and we get lots of scenes featuring his father's advice and extreme survival training. As a consequence, adult Shaw is quite handy in a tight situation but is also a little antisocial at times. And, for this crime plot, quite clueless when it comes to the tech world of gaming. Shaw has a large posse of supporting characters helping him out but none of them really excited me. They were all a little two-dimensional. Shaw's potential girlfriend is one of the worst. She's like a cardboard cutout, with a sad backstory and some sexualised male fantasy assertiveness. Ugh. She and Colter also have zero chemistry. I don't want to spoil too much by mentioning the other supporting characters but, let me just say, Deaver probably had a list of character cliches he ticked off as he created them. Blah. Seriously, I don’t think characterisation is one of Deaver’s strong points. Nor is descriptive prose. I kept comparing this to the last action/thriller I read, Silver by Chris Hammer, and found Deaver wanting. Whereas Hammer brings his book’s setting and landscape to life, Deaver’s scenes which really should have been spectacular (such as those in national parks etc) were a bit ho-hum. Although, in his defence, I suppose Deaver did shine when it came to giving the setting a truly American feel. We knew we were there just from the amount of people with guns and who hunted as a hobby, for starters! The most intriguing scenes were definitely those talking about the unexpected poverty of Silicon Valley and the real estate issues, and workers commuting for work etc. I would have liked more of these insights to the hidden American way of life. So, then there is the action. Yeah, I guess the action/mystery part moved along at a nice pace but I wouldn’t say I was ever gasping at a cliffhanger or turning pages hastily to find out what would happen next. The mystery plot content was okay. My son is a mad gamer, so I found that aspect of the plot readable, at least. However, when I gave my son some tidbit that the book mentioned, he knew everything I quoted so I’m not sure any serious gamers would be overly impressed with the references. The cynic in me noted that Deaver ended the book with enough questions to know this was never going to be a standalone book and it was definitely always staged to be a series. I suppose when your name is so well known, you don’t have to pitch your series ideas but, all in all, despite my whining, Shaw himself has enough going for him to ensure Deaver will probably be able to carry it off for a while. I’ll probably rate this one a 3 out of 5 at the most though.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Bea

    3.5 - 4 stars. "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 3.5 - 4 stars. "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.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty ❤️

    After reading the first few chapters of this I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this and ended the book being excited for Book 2. It was a slow burner for me but once it got going I really enjoyed it. There are plenty of twists and turns and I liked how the books flipped between the now, a few days ago, 15 years ago and Shaw's childhood. I would've liked it to be labelled better as sometimes I wondered what was going on especially in the beginning but that's a niggle.  I like Shaw as a charact After reading the first few chapters of this I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this and ended the book being excited for Book 2. It was a slow burner for me but once it got going I really enjoyed it. There are plenty of twists and turns and I liked how the books flipped between the now, a few days ago, 15 years ago and Shaw's childhood. I would've liked it to be labelled better as sometimes I wondered what was going on especially in the beginning but that's a niggle.  I like Shaw as a character. For me a new one as he's an ex-survivalist expert tracker that makes his living finding the missing for those that offer a reward. For this book, we are in Silicon Valley tracking a woman (to start with) that is kidnapped as someone acts out the chapters of a horror computer game.  I'm not the lightest bit interested in computer games but it was kept enough of  a minimum to keep my interest. I'm intrigued by the survivalist angle and keen to know more especially as it links to future books as I imagine Shaw's past will unravel further.  Without spoiling the ending I also liked the reasoning behind the kidnap and subsequent crimes. I can well imagine this to be a reality and it's quite a scary prospect. Overall a slow burner but picks up speed and an excellent thriller.  

  30. 4 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    So, this is the start in a new series from Deaver and we’ve moved away from Lincoln Rhyme for a bit. The Never Game is successful – particularly when it comes to the world of gaming – but isn’t quite as exciting as the Rhyme series. Deaver does give us a character with a fascinating way of making a living. I can’t really call it a job – our main character basically collects rewards whenever there’s one offered in conjunction with a crime. He’s not a private investigator, but when he hears about an So, this is the start in a new series from Deaver and we’ve moved away from Lincoln Rhyme for a bit. The Never Game is successful – particularly when it comes to the world of gaming – but isn’t quite as exciting as the Rhyme series. Deaver does give us a character with a fascinating way of making a living. I can’t really call it a job – our main character basically collects rewards whenever there’s one offered in conjunction with a crime. He’s not a private investigator, but when he hears about an interesting crime, he chases it down in order to get the reward. It’s a fascinating way to make a living. I did like him, but was especially amused as he muddled through the world of gaming as part of his ‘case’. Gamers should enjoy the techy bits, though this never reaches the level of technothriller. Overall, a good story. I’ll definitely look for the next one in the series. *ARC Provided via Net Galley

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