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The Goodbye Man: A Colter Shaw Novel


The Goodbye Man: A Colter Shaw Novel

With the release of THE NEVER GAME in 2019, bestselling author Jeffery Deaver introduced a new series featuring Colter Shaw, a highly unique protagonist. His father, Ashton Shaw, was quite the character. The entire family lived a survivalist lifestyle, becoming extremely self-sufficient and gaining many skills necessary to withstand any outcome. Shaw was named after John Colter, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Ashton was a self-proclaimed “student of the Old West,” which allowed Shaw to pick up nearly everything he knew and turn it into his own life endeavor.

Shaw subsists by being an expert tracker. Not to be confused with a bounty hunter, he will go after reward opportunities, but his part involves simply finding whoever and whatever he is pursuing, and not actually apprehending or turning anyone or anything over to law enforcement. When not performing a tracking mission, he usually can be found climbing whatever mountain he sets his sights on. THE GOODBYE MAN opens with Shaw on a new assignment that has taken him to Washington State, not far from Seattle.

"Readers will be able to see through the [Osiris] Foundation, as we all have heard about cult behavior in the news or through various fiction. This does not take away from the nerve-wracking experience of THE GOODBYE MAN, and it all wraps up with an explosive finale."

This professional reward-seeking mission involves finding two young men in their 20s. It is Erick Young's parents who set the $50,000 reward for the safe discovery and hopeful return of their son. Erick has no previous record, but somehow came into contact with Adam Harper, a sketchy character who is seven years his senior. While in Washington, the two are accused of starting a fire at a church and attacking both the pastor (who was shot) and a custodian. The local news and law enforcement have painted a picture of Erick and Adam as being part of a hate group or a neo-Nazi society. Shaw recognizes how strong religion is to them and realizes that he must find Erick before the police do, as he is confident that they would be executed by the authorities instead of being imprisoned.

There are some humorous moments during the search involving a rival reward seeker. Dalton Crowe is a rough-and-tumble sort who Shaw does not view as a talented tracker; in fact, he is able to run circles around Dalton, sending him off on a wild goose chase to get him out of the picture. When Shaw does find Erick and Adam, he tells them that they must quietly come away with him because of what might happen if the law finds them first. Unfortunately, an unexpected event nearly ruins Shaw's plans. Completely out of the blue, Adam runs and throws himself off a cliff to his death --- still bound by the zip ties that Shaw had placed on him. Now, he must reveal what happened to the authorities as he sends Erick safely away.

Shaw wants nothing to do with the $50,000 as a result of these tragic happenings and donates it to the Ecumenical Foundation. Adam's death does not sit well with him, and he continues to look into the young man’s background. What he finds is that Erick and Adam were heading to a communal group that focuses on grief counseling. They had recently lost loved ones, and their shared grief is what brought them together initially. He also is aware that they had nothing to do with the fire and shooting at the church and were merely acting in self-defense. Shaw remembers something his father once told him: “Never underestimate the power of religion.”

With the help of his hacker friend Mack McKenzie, Shaw creates an assumed name for himself to use. Now going by “Carter Skye,” he enrolls in the program at the Osiris Foundation, whose motto reads: “Where the Yesterday Is the Key to a Better Today and a Perfect Tomorrow.” The founder of this very cult-like organization is Master Eli. Of course, Mack had given Shaw the full background on Osiris, and he knows that Master Eli is actually David Ellis from Florida. Osiris was the Egyptian god of fertility and the afterlife. All Shaw knows is that Adam is dead, and he needs to find out why he chose to kill himself without a second thought. He also wants to make sure that no one else is at risk.

This part of the novel is extremely suspenseful and quite different from Shaw's initial tracking mission. Readers will be able to see through the Foundation, as we all have heard about cult behavior in the news or through various fiction. This does not take away from the nerve-wracking experience of THE GOODBYE MAN, and it all wraps up with an explosive finale. I also appreciate that the last few chapters involved Shaw with his family and the discovery of an unfinished mission of his father’s. Deaver should get to work on that one as I am eager to spend more time with his intriguing protagonist.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on May 15, 2020

The Goodbye Man: A Colter Shaw Novel
by Jeffery Deaver

  • Publication Date: May 12, 2020
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
  • ISBN-10: 0525535977
  • ISBN-13: 9780525535973