My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In between writing shorts stories & the next book in his Quinn series, Brett Battles has found time to write, yet, another standalone novel, NO RETURN. NO RETURN is a thriller with a mystery wrapped up in it. As a prodigious fan of Brett’s, I always look forward to his books & what new stories he has to offer.
This story takes place in Brett’s hometown of Ridgecrest, CA. Our main character, Wes Stewart, who also happens to be from Ridgecrest, returns after 15+ years while part of a filming crew who is shooting an episode for a TV series. While filming a segment near China Lake, they are witness to a Navy F-18 plane crash, which they are also able to catch on film. Wes races to the scene of the crash hoping to render help. He finds the pilot unconscious but alive. Wes successfully revives the pilot but finds that the pilot’s harness is stuck. Wes runs back to his vehicle to get a knife & returns to the cockpit. But not before there is an explosion engulfing both pilot & cockpit. The Navy soon arrives to investigate & asks them for the film so they can review the footage of the crash. The next day, the local paper recognizes Wes as a hero, though he does not feel that he is. Wes discovers the photo of the deceased pilot in the newspaper’s article is not the man he attempted to save. A mystery Wes can’t let go. The events that unfold after that fateful day entwine Wes & his crew in a mystery involving the Navy, a possible cover up, and a reunion with an old friend, Lars, who now works for the Navy. And finally, a secret that Wes had thought he had left buried behind many years ago resurfaces. Why is the Navy trying so hard to convince Wes that he is confused about the pilot’s photograph? Is Lars a part of this cover up? Can Wes uncover the truth about the true identity of the pilot?
Brett has managed to create a tale of suspense and mystery with his usual flair for excitement. The characters are interesting & likeable, the situation plausible, and the suspense builds to a crescendo to an ending that surprised me. Even though the story starts out with a bang (the plane crash) its pace is slightly relaxed for the first couple chapters until Wes starts uncovering facts that just don’t make sense.
I appreciated Brett taking a journey back home and sharing his memories, although altered for the story, with me, the reader.
I finished this book in two sittings (I would have finished in a day if I’d had the time) and enjoyed every minute of it!! I absolutely LOVE Brett’s Quinn series (can’t wait for #5 to come out in a couple of months!!!!) but I also really enjoy reading something that involves a different story line & characters I haven’t met before. I can always depend on Brett to give me a page turner that will keep me up all night!!
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