Written by John Rector

Review written by LJ Hurst

Initially, L. J. Hurst worked in the backrooms of the media industry. He now divides his time between work for an international scientific publisher and a rather more British independent bookseller. In years past he was a regular attendee at the Shots on the Page Festivals from whence Shots Mag sprung

Simon and Schuster
RRP: £6.99
Released: 28th December 2011

John Rector has made himself a name in a new way – his first novel became a success as a Kindle e-book, about the same time that Simon and Schuster were ready to launch his first traditional title, 2010’s The Cold Kiss. That makes Already Gone his third novel. Not bad going for a newby.

Already Gone is a paranoid thriller which starts with an act of violence in which Jake Reese, the narrator, loses a finger to a pair of bolt cutters, passes through Jake’s loss of his wife both literally and metaphorically, includes a lot of drinking and regret for everything lost, some calling on old favours, people not being what they seem, and a lot more double- and double-double crossing. Jake finds things going black rather frequently, but then he is a guy whose nose is broken twice. Quite a lot of punishment for a college lecturer in the mid-west.

The publisher’s blurb suggests fans of Harlan Coben and Linwood Barclay will like Already Gone. The Cold Kiss was compared to Jim Thompson’s The Getaway and aspects of that – or the film, anyway – reappear here, while a couple of allusions may be tributes to other works, such as the memory of a grandfather in a tomato garden, or even Sherlock Holmes and the busts of Napoleon. Even so, while not tremendously original, Already Gone does have something unique: you all know about Chekhov’s gun – if it is mentioned in the first act, it must go off in the last; well, Already Gone has Gabby’s crematorium. You will have to put all the parts together to get the benefit of that. In fact, you will have to read to the end to put everything together. Don’t stop – that is too often Jake Reese’s problem.

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