Book Review – The Goodbye Man – Colter Shaw #2 – Jeffery Deaver – A Not So Complex Novel
My Rating – 3.5 out of 5
Plot Summary – The Goodbye Man
Jeffery Deaver, the writer most famous for his Lincoln Rhyme series, debuted a new hero in Colter Shaw in the 2019 book – The Never Game. So The Goodbye Man is the second book of that series, and honestly, it is missing the grit, flair, and brilliance of the Rhyme books and even the lesser-known Kathryn Dance series is a more attractive read!
A freelance bounty hunter by profession, Colter Shaw is looking for two boys, Adam Harper and Erick Young, for their involvement in far-Right hate crimes – burning a Cross on Church grounds, frequented by African-Americans. But they would rather kill themselves than getting caught! Digging into their motivations for such crazed, bigoted behavior, Colter Shaw is led deep into the backwoods of Washington State – The headquarters of the Osiris Foundation, a Cult with a very large following, which promises Immortality to its ardent followers.
Master Eli or David Ellis is the charismatic leader of this Cult, which promises immortality for all who follow the lifestyle and instructions given to them. Like all Cults, real and fictional, something feels off about this one too. Colter Shaw infiltrates them, masquerading as Carter Skye, a new devotee, to investigate the Cult and its workings from the inside. The usual Cult-related activities abound, which makes any reader wonder how can one person fool so many for such a long time?
Facts crop up in these investigations as you would expect from a magical type Cult, which includes nothing you’ve never heard or read before. But does the vast number of devotees or Cult members realize that they are being duped? Unlike;y, because that’s how these Cults are designed – promise the moon and beyond, exploit the submissive and gullible bunch of followers and move on to the next set of people.
The psychology of the troubled human mind is such that it grabs at convenient ‘straws’ – Occult, Black magic, Astrology, and some such. Cults prey on this human vulnerability by promising the depressed a ticket to God’s purported own domain, where the reasonable mind refuses to tread. Anything that is not an exact science requires a leap of faith, which only these gullible ones are willing to take.
Filled with the customary twists and surprises, Jeffery Deaver gamely tries to open a new chapter in Fiction writing, but it doesn’t really ring true. There is a parallel vein running alongside this main thread – that Colter Shaw’s father had left a cryptic message just before he died with apparent ground shattering consequences. But the main thread of the story is pretty unoriginal and commonplace!
Conclusion – Book Review of The Goodbye Man
From the sublime intellectual highs of Lincoln Rhyme to the commonplace drudgery of Colter Shaw, Mr. Deaver has fallen a bit. The catchy pace is there, so are some of the twists and suspense-filled moments but the brilliance of a great suspense thriller is largely missing.
Even when the Cult leader, Master Eli, and his Semi Military type bodyguards mount an all-out effort to thwart Colter Shaw’s attempt to expose their Cult type of misdeeds, the entire sequence reads a little amateurish, coming from someone of Mr. Deavers’s stature. ‘The Goodbye Man‘ is far from being his best literary work. As an ardent fan of most of his earlier works, I sincerely pray that he brings back Lincoln Rhyme or even Kathryn Dance. It would do his legacy a world of good!