Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on book two in the Colter Shaw series by Jeffery Deaver, The Goodbye Man. I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and the two short stories so have been itching to get stuck into this book. Before I tell you what I thought of it though, here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Say goodbye to your problems
In pursuit of two armed fugitives in the wilderness of Washington State, unique investigator Colter Shaw witnesses a shocking suicide. This leads him to the Foundation – a cult that promises to transform people’s lives. But is there more to it than meets the eye?
Say goodbye to your freedom
Shaw goes undercover to expose the Foundation’s real purpose. Before long he meets the charismatic leader Master Eli, a man who commands terrifying loyalty from his followers.
Say goodbye to your life
Something truly dark is going on beneath the surface of the idyllic community. And as Shaw peels back the layers of truth, he begins to see there is only one way to escape the Foundation … and the price for that freedom might well be your very life.
Oh I do wish I’d read this sooner. I am absolutely loving this series and love Colter Shaw as a character. Principled, disciplined and determined, even though there is no reward for the ‘case’ he decides to follow up on this time around, it is still something he feels compelled to and the further i read into the book, the more I knew that this was going to be as case that would be hard to forget.
For the uninitiated and those who haven’t read either The Never Game or the two Colter Shaw short stories, Colter is a reward seeker. Slightly different to a bounty hunter, Colter simply takes on cases that have a financial reward attached to them, be it finding a missing person, or finding a felon, but only if he feels he can make a difference. Really, it’s all the same to him, although sometimes the danger levels can be very very different. The danger in this story was off the chart, but in a measured and well hidden way, the real threat in the novel coming from a man who on the surface appears charismatic and charming but is truly loathsome, preying upon the vulnerabilities and, in some cases, naivete, of others to get what he wants. Master Eli, leader of a retreat called The Foundation. Promising enlightenment and peace, it doesn’t take a genius to work out what the Osiris Foundation really is.
Jeffery Deaver has done a brilliant job of creating an underlying menace throughout the novel. Drawing readers back to the psychology of cults and the power of cult leaders such as Manson and groups such as the Aryan Nation, the way in which they manipulate others, feeding on fear, grief, the need for love and acceptance, or just plain hatred in order to get what they want from followers. And the Osiris Foundation, in this case, is a particularly nasty and insidious group, preying on those who have hit rock bottom through grief or personal tragedy and offering them a path to a better future … Of course there is a financial incentive for the leader to help them on their way and the seedy Master Eli is a perfectly awful character, flanked by a wealth of equally evil characters, especially his right hand man Hugh. Whilst Eli uses charm and personality to almost woo his followers, Hugh uses threats, violence and worse to control any dissenters. Step my step Colter manages to expose to the reader, and the other followers, the much darker side of the seemingly positive environment they have turned too. It’s a masterclass is smoke and mirrors, manipulation and grooming, and enough to make your skin crawl.
Although Colter is left somewhat exposed when he goes undercover to the Foundation, at least on an operational level, he is not entirely alone. He has his wits, skill and intelligence, formidable things in their own right, but also help from some surprising quarters, and it is nice to see the author balancing the gender boundaries so carefully and skilfully in this book. It may catch you unawares, but one thing it is safe to say about this book – do not take anything, or anyone, at face value. Everyone is hiding something. The one aspect of the book that I really liked, something that helped to raise my already considerable affinity for the character of Colter, was that during his ‘therapy’ sessions, we got to learn some more of the private side of his character, some unexpected raw truth that emerged from within that surprised Colter as much as anyone. It brings an extra layer of humanity to a character who already has an innate compassion, and made me just want to read more. And the ending – absolutely bloody perfect. It left me with real smile on my face.
Now there is another element to this novel, a kind of sub plot which trickles through the series and is linked to Colter’s past and the death of his father. I won’t say too much about that but it flanks the main story perfectly, bringing readers full circle to a point that really left me hungry for book three. Thankfully, as I delayed in reading book two, I shouldn’t have too long to wait, but the promise of what is to come is almost too much.
The way the author captures the emotions, the tone and the setting as just perfect. I felt like I was right there in the heart of the mountains in Washington State, seeing every sight and sensing every smell that Colter experiences, every step that he took almost crunching under my own foot. And that sense of excitement that runs from the first page to the last made this scha. quick read, almost too quick. If you like a great psychology driven story, with real tension, brilliant characters and some emotional back stories that can break your heart as much as the action can draw you to the edge of your seat, then you definitely want to read this book. This would be so perfect for TV adaptation. It really would. I love it.
About the Author
Jeffery Deaver is the Number One bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the 2011 authorised James Bond thriller, CARTE BLANCHE, three collections of short stories and a non-fiction law book. A former journalist, attorney, and folksinger, he has received or been shortlisted for numerous awards around the world, including Novel of the Year from the International Thriller Writers Association for THE BODIES LEFT BEHIND, the Steel Dagger for Best Thriller from the British Crime Writers’ Association, and the British Thumping Good Read Award. He was recently shortlisted for the ITV3 Crime Thriller Award for Best International Author.