ALREADY GONE by John Rector

Published by Thomas & Mercer in the US & by Simon & Schuster in the UK

If you are looking for a new author to read then make me a promise, put John Rector on your Christmas list.

This is the third novel of his I’ve had the pleasure of reading and I really don’t think the guy’s put a foot wrong.  Each novel is a stand-alone, but I think this latest is likely to be his biggest and most commercial hit – so, jump in with ALREADY GONE and then you can seek out THE GROVE and THE COLD KISS afterwards.

The covers shown here are the US jacket (with the birds in flight) – which immediately made me think of Stephen King’s The Dark Half and the UK cover on the right (a colder, more chilling version of a cover similar to a Harlan Coben novel I thought).  As it turns out, if you could, and if you wanted to do such a thing, place Mr King and Mr Coben in a blender (or maybe just their books would be less grisly) and mixed them up, John Rector has the best elements of both of their works in his.

His central character this time round is Jake Reese, an ordinary guy with an ordinary job, but with a past that is about to literally come back and beat him, leaving him assaulted in a car park, less one finger.  I initially thought the book was about to veer down the ‘History of Violence’ story route, but was surprised to discover that it’s when Jake’s wife, Diane, is stolen away from him that it’s also her past that plays a key role in the events about to play out.

This is clearly a shot at the Linwood Barclay and Harlan Coben style of book, and that’s no bad thing at all.  I was about to cite Coben’s ‘Tell No One’ as probably the closest to which I think this is, but have just spotted that very same comparison in the publisher’s blurb on the rear of the UK book.  It also has all the great ‘race against time’ elements that often frequent books by authors such as Simon Kernick, with some great pacing and really nice twists.

As soon as I mentioned it on twitter on Friday night (when just 4 pages in) I received comment saying that I was bound to finish it over the weekend – I raced through it in just two sittings – pausing only for sleep.

For fans of any of the authors I’ve made tenuous cross-reference to above, or those who like their plots fast and along the lines of great recent French crime movies like ‘Anything for Her’ or ‘Point Blank’, this is for you.

ALREADY GONE is a little different from John Rector’s other novels, but consistent excellence in storytelling is already proving his calling card.

Highly recommended – get your orders placed.

Keith

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