An e-book short story, published in advance of Book 2 of Jeffery Deaver’s Colter Shaw series.

Towards the end of last year our book group read The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver, which introduced the character Colter Shaw. All of us enjoyed it, even though it erred towards being a thriller and not everyone in our group reads those. We nonetheless summarised The Never Game as “a cracker!”

The Second Hostage is an e-book short story which was published in March 2020 and features Colter Shaw. I found it by chance on the Libby e-library.

Shaw is the son of a survivalist and makes his living tracking people down for rewards, although he’s not a private investigator or a bond enforcement agent. He prefers to think of himself as a puzzle-solver and his cases allow him to travel around the country. The perfect scenario for an author to build a series around.

The story
This opens with a “hostage situation” in a town called Humble in south central Kansas. Shaw has dropped into the sheriff’s office looking for a lead on a runaway teenager when the call comes in about the hostage situation; and when the sheriffs learn he’s had experience of hostage cases he becomes flavour of the day and is taken to the scene.

The ‘situation’ turns out to be a local farmer holding a holidaymaker hostage in his rented lake house, apparently in a stand-off with the bank that’s threatening to foreclose on his farm.

This is a short story, so telling you anything more will definitely spoil it for you. Sufficient to say that there’s more of a mystery here than meets the eye and Shaw ends up sorting things out.

This was an enjoyable read. Good to meet Colter Shaw again, and it’s a tidy piece of plotting neatly told. Difficult to rate something that’s only nine chapters long but within the short story genre I reckon it’s good for 4-Stars. And I’m now waiting to be able to borrow the next Colter Shaw book which was published in May and is called The Goodbye Man.
Review by: Cornish Eskimo