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Cover image for The never game
The never game
Large Print edition.
Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, a Cengage Company, 2019.
Physical Description:
601 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
Number in series:
"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"-- Provided by publisher.


Call Number

On Order



A New York Times Bestselling AuthorWhen a young woman goes missing, her father hires expert tracker Colter Shaw to find her. Shaw's investigation quickly leads to the billion-dollar video-gaming industry -- with clues pointing to The Whispering Man video game, in which the player must survive abandonment in an inhospitable setting with only five random objects. Is a madman bringing the game to life? Shaw finds himself caught in a cat-and-mouse game as he pursues the kidnapper across both Silicon Valley and the dark 'net. Encountering eccentric game designers, trigger-happy gamers, and ruthless tech titans, Shaw learns that he isn't the only one on the hunt: someone is on his trail and closing fast.

Author Notes

Jeffery Deaver was born on May 6, 1950 in Chicago, Illinois. He received a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Fordham University. Before attending law school, he worked as a business writer. After law school, he worked for a Wall Street law firm practicing corporate law. In 1990, he decided to stop practicing law and become a full-time writer.

His first novel was a horror story entitled Voodoo. He is the author of more than 25 novels and has written some of those stories under the pseudonym William Jeffries. He writes the Lincoln Rhyme series and the Kathryn Dance series. A Maiden's Grave was adapted into a film by HBO called Dead Silence and The Bone Collector was adapted into a feature film starring Denzel Washington and Angelina Jolie. He received the Steel Dagger and Short Story Dagger from the British Crime Writers' Association, the Ellery Queen Reader's Award for Best Short Story of the Year three times, and the British Thumping Good Read Award.

(Bowker Author Biography) Jeffery Deaver, the author of eighteen other novels of suspense, has been nominated for three Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America & is a two-time recipient of the Ellery Queen Readers Award for Best Short Story of the Year. A lawyer who quit practicing to write full time, he lives in California & Virginia.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

Colter Shaw, the hero of this superb series launch from Thriller Award winner Deaver (the Lincoln Rhyme series), travels around the U.S. in an RV, earning rewards for finding missing persons, fugitives, and "suspects who have not yet been identified or located." In the prologue, Colter attempts to rescue a kidnapped pregnant woman, Elizabeth Chabelle, from a sinking fishing vessel off the California coast. With Elizabeth's fate in doubt, the action moves back two days, when Colter goes looking for 19-year-old Sophie Mulliner in Silicon Valley. Sophie vanished after an argument with her father, who was unable to get the authorities to take his fear that she was attacked and kidnapped seriously. Colter does, and manages to locate suggestive evidence-Sophie's cell phone, a bloodied rock, and a plastic shard that may have come from the teen's bike. That investigation proves to be just the tip of the iceberg after the person who abducted Sophie strikes again and Colter finds parallels between the crimes and a creepy video game called The Whispering Man. Fans of twisty suspense that pushes the envelope of plausibility without inviting disbelief will be enthralled. Author tour. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider Literary. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Veteran thrillmeister Deaver kicks off a new series about a man who collects rewards for a living.Don't call Colter Shaw a private eye, or a freelance investigator, or even a soldier of fortune, though his job includes elements of all three. The son of a cranky survivalist who died years ago amid suspicious circumstances, light-footed Shaw has returned close to his childhood home in the Bay Area in the hope of claiming the $10,000 Frank Mulliner is offering for the return of his daughter, Sophie, a college student who stormed out after the two of them fought over the FOR SALE sign outside his house and hasn't been seen since. Shaw, who has the cool-headed but irritating habit of calculating the numerical odds on every possibility, thinks there's a 60 percent chance that Sophie's dead, "murdered by a serial killer, rapist or a gang wannabe." Even though he accepts rewards only for rescues, not recoveries, he begins sorting through the scant evidence, quickly gets a hot lead about Sophie's fate, and just as quickly realizes that Detective Dan Wiley, of the Joint Major Crimes Task Force, should have followed exactly the same clues days ago. (The rapidly shifting relations between Shaw and the law, in fact, are a particular high point here.) The day after Shaw's search for Sophie comes to a violent end, he's already, in the time-honored manner of Deaver's bulldog heroes (The Burial Hour, 2017, etc.), on the trail of a second abduction, that of LGBT activist Henry Thompson. Readers who haven't skipped the prologue will know that still a third kidnap victim, very pregnant Elizabeth Chabelle, will need to be rescued the following day. Thompson's grief-stricken partner, Brian Byrd, tells Shaw, "It's like this guy's playing some goddamn sick game"a remark Deaver's fans will know to give just as much weight as Shaw himself does.For once Deaver takes more effort to establish his hero's bona fides than to give him a compelling and logical plot. The results are subpar for this initial installment but more encouraging for the promised series. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

Colter Shaw is a reward seeker. Parents, husbands, wives offer rewards for the safe return of their missing loved ones; Colter finds the missing people and claims the rewards. Not, perhaps, the most altruistic of vocations, but Colter, the son of survivalist parents, is very good at what he does. In this first installment of a new series by the author of the Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance thrillers, Shaw navigates the duplicitous world of Silicon Valley to find a missing woman; when another person goes missing, Shaw realizes this is much more than one case of kidnapping. Shaw is a carefully constructed character with a rich backstory that could spark several novels (his own family history features a particularly tantalizing mystery). The story is this will come as no surprise to Deaver's many fans full of twists and right-angle turns, and a second Colter Shaw novel feels not just inevitable but mandatory. Deaver is a hit maker who always delivers the goods.--David Pitt Copyright 2019 Booklist

Library Journal Review

Colter Shaw is a "rewardist"-a civilian who travels around the country finding missing persons and escaped fugitives for a living. He is uniquely qualified for such a job. Raised off the grid on his family's extensive compound, he spent his formative years hunting, tracking, and perfecting the art of survival. The story opens with Colter searching for a missing college student in Silicon Valley whom he eventually finds imprisoned in an abandoned warehouse seemingly left to die. No sooner has he returned her to her family when another innocent in the area is abducted. Colter begins to connect these kidnappings to the popular video game The Whispering Man, and the case veers off into the unusual and extremely profitable world of gaming. A race against the clock ensues as Colter pits his old-school tracking and detecting skills against the high-tech tools of a worthy antagonist. Award-winning author Deaver ("Lincoln Rhyme" series) introduces an engaging new protagonist with staying power. Colter's backstory is fascinating and his persona as much a part of the tale as the crime itself. VERDICT This is a sure bet for fans of suspense and will find a home with those who like their protagonists to be a central part of the mystery. [See Prepub Alert, 11/12/18.]-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.