July 14, 2014

Into Thin Air

Never Coming Back by Tim Weaver

Release Date: July 3, 2014
Publisher: Penguin | Viking
Pages: 384 pages
Source & Format: Publisher; Hardcover
Series: David Raker #4
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Summary (from Goodreads)
Emily Kane arrives at her sister Carrie’s house to find the front door unlocked, dinner on the table, and the family nowhere to be found—Carrie, her husband, and two daughters have disappeared. When the police turn up no leads, Emily turns to her former boyfriend David Raker, a missing persons investigator, to track the family down. As Raker pursues the case, he discovers evidence of a sinister cover-up, decades in the making and with a long trail of bodies behind it.

Tim Weaver’s thrillers have been hugely popular in the UK, and now Never Coming Back will introduce his beloved character David Raker to American audiences. Set in Las Vegas and a small fishing village in England, the novel is a smart, fast-paced thriller sure to keep readers guessing until the very end.

Thoughts on Never Coming Back
When the opportunity to read Never Coming Back arose, I'll admit that I was immediately intrigued and said yes mostly because of the cover. It looks so moody and mysterious, which made me so curious about the story inside! The summary sounded interesting, too, and I've had good luck with mysteries lately so I decided to take a chance on it.

Never Coming Back is the fourth book in a series that's been published in the UK, but this is technically the author's US debut. A number of reviews noted that you can easily jump into it without having read the previous books, and I would assume that Penguin/Viking feels the same way since they've decided to make this Weaver's first book published in the US. While I agree that the mystery itself stands on its own, I did feel like I was missing out on a decent amount of background. I wasn't necessarily confused, but there were definitely aspects of the book where I felt like I didn't understand the significance of certain characters or events because I didn't know the background.

I think my biggest complaint with the book was that I never felt like I really got to know any of the characters. There were a number of secondary characters who seemed like they didn't really belong or contribute much to the story, which made me wonder if they'd been a bigger part of previous books. I also felt like the main character, David Raker, remained a bit of a mystery to me. I had so many questions about his past - things that were referenced, his relationship with some of the other characters, how he got to this point in his life, etc. - and have no doubt that it's because this is the fourth in the series. I just felt like I was missing something with the character, which kept me from really loving this book.

It took a bit of time for Never Coming Back to really grab my attention, but I did find that it eventually became a much more engrossing read. There were a lot of twists and turns in this one, but the pace remained a bit on the slower side. For me, that wasn't a negative because I felt that it fit the moody, atmospheric tone of the story. Plus, the writing is very descriptive - Weaver definitely likes to set the scene and uses that to add to the mystery and create more tension.

So, what did I enjoy most about this story? The mystery itself! I really wanted to know what had happened to the family that just disappeared from their home without a trace, and I was hooked on the book once I'd gotten far enough into it for the mystery to start driving the action. I've probably read more mysteries/thrillers this year than I have in the last five years, so I'm not an expert on on this genre at all, but I thought the mystery was surprising. I didn't expect the majority of the twists that were revealed. Never Coming Back definitely kept me guessing the entire time I was reading! There were a few things that felt a bit too coincidental, but there was a complexity to the mystery that I didn't expect and found pleasantly surprising.

Never Coming Back was a really absorbing read! It took me a bit to get into it, but I was hooked soon enough. The setting really came to life, but it was the mystery itself that stole the show for me. I'd definitely be curious about reading more from Weaver - he crafted a dark, addicting mystery that left me wishing I knew just a little more about David Raker so that I could fully appreciate the character's journey. Fans of moody, gritty mysteries/thrillers should definitely consider spending some time with this book!

So Quotable
"I'd talked countless times [...] about the debt I felt for the missing; about the responsibility I put on myself to bring them back into the light. It was something I only became more certain of in the years after, when sitting down with the families was like sitting in front of a mirror. The grief they'd felt for the people they'd lost, the sadness, the need to dig in and cling on, I recognized all of it."
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration. I was not compensated for my review in any way.

2 comments:

  1. I'm not much for mysteries! But I'm really glad that you're starting to enjoy them more. It sounds like this has a pretty fascinating story, which is what would be the pull of this particular story for me.

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  2. This sounds really interesting! I do like moody, atmospheric, and dark in my mysteries. I think I would want to read them in order though -- either waiting for them to come to the US or import from the Book Depository or the like.

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