Friday, November 18, 2011

A Review of "Already Gone" [77]

Already Gone by John Rector
Thomas and Mercer, ISBN 978-1612180878
October 25, 2011, 316 pages

"Should I be worries about you Jake?
"No," I say. "I've got everything under control."
And like a fool, I believed it.

His childhood was less than ideal. His father was a criminal, dying in prison. Since one of his early memories is of his mother killing herself, he is left all alone when his father is arrested and, at the age of 12, goes to live with a friend of his father, a man named Gabby. Gabby is a gangster and owns a junkyard where it is said a lot more than just old cars are buried, if you get the idea. In a few years Jake finds himself getting in all sorts of trouble and ends up in a juvenile detention center...where his life is turned around by falling in love with books.
OK, you have to love that, right?

It is years later and Jake is living the quiet life he once dreamed of. He is married to Diane, an art buyer and working as a professor of literature at the local college. And then in one evening, his life begins to fall apart. Coming out of a local tavern where he was having a few drinks with some college colleagues, he is attacked by two heavily accented thugs as he goes to his car. They don't rob him, they don't steal his, they cut off one of his fingers with a bolt cutter, his ring finger with his wedding ring still on it. Don't worry, they will send it back, the finger with the ring still on it, to him in a jar.

Jake would like to believe it was just a random attack, as difficult as that is to think. That it might be tied to his past, and especially to Gabby, is just too dangerous. But the cop investigating the crime seems to be leaning that way and implies that Jake knows more than he is saying. For his part, Jake would just like to forget the whole thing and move on with his life. But when Jake sees the two men who attacked him outside his campus office and then Diane disappears, he knows that can't happen. He will be forced to turn for help to a man he both fears and hates...and trusts more than just about anyone to deal with something like this. His world as he knew it is over and Jake may have to become like the people he ran from years ago, to get his wife back.

I have read one of Rector's previous two books, The Grove and enjoyed it a lot, so I was looking forward to his newest. And I was not disappointed!
Let me start by saying that I just love the way John Rector writes. You won't find any flowery descriptions here, no rambling introspection. No, his writing is direct and clean, as sharp and spare as the story. This book is action and twists and turns from the that first "snip" to an ending that is fantastic...with just a note of uncertainty to keep us hanging.

The only flaw and the only thing that would keep me from giving Already Gone five starts if I gave stars, is that, at times Jake is a bit too naive for his own good. I would think, I would hope, that a man with his background would be a little faster on the uptake and learn to keep his mouth shut sometimes. Of course, if he were a bit more cynical, he might not have ever got into the situation that he did. So I will forgive it.

This is a rather violent, action filled thriller that will take the reader on a great ride.

My thanks to Amazon Vine for a review copy of this book.


  1. "no rambling introspection" . . . Whaaat?? He wasn't worried about the state of his asparagus???

    It does sound a little violent. Bolt cutters and missing fingers.... oy! Not nice people!

  2. no, thankful not one asparagus in sight! lol

  3. I can't believe I don't know about these books. Yes, true one can help but love Jake's background!

  4. Now you've done it! This is a new author for me, but this outstanding review has me putting it on the holiday wishlist. I'm especially partial to the "sharp and spare" part.

  5. Since I'm not much into thrillers I'll pass on this one, but it's great to see that you enjoyed it so much!

  6. Direct and clean writing is what I like best!


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