The Never Game (Colter Shaw Thriller, Book 1)

The Never Game (Colter Shaw Thriller, Book 1) by Jeffery Deaver

As seen:

By Jeffery Deaver

avg rating

10 reviews

No.1 international bestseller Jeffery Deaver returns with a stunning new thriller – the first in an exciting series featuring enigmatic investigator Colter Shaw.
Escape or die trying…


14 Jan 2020

Dornoch Academy Reading Group

Our group unanimously enjoyed this book. Reviews below.

I enjoyed this book initially. I am not familiar with the world of gaming, and as such, found the descriptions of gaming, and those characters involved in the gaming world, quite interesting. I also like the structure of the book, jumping back and forward in time, both in the short term, and in the long term. However, as the book progressed, I found the storyline and the characters involved becoming less convincing and more contrived.

Colter Shaw is an exciting, intriguing new character. Raised unconventionally and now a ‘reward seeker’ travelling around USA funding lost people. Set in Silicon Valley, Colter finds himself caught up in the video game industry. As I have never played a video game this topic was alien to me but this thriller was able to include and engage with me and I really enjoyed a good twisty suspenseful read. I eagerly await the next Colter Shaw novel as I am intrigued and need to know more about this man.

I enjoyed this Jeffery Deaver novel as always his characters were well written and had lots of depth. Personally I was more interested in the lead character Colter Shaw and his background then the main plot of the story. I liked the way information was delivered to the reader both in the main gaming plot and Shaw’s background. There are multiple twists and turns within the book, some predictable, some a complete surprise which kept me on my toes always trying to work out what would happen next. I am looking forward to other books in the series.

Excellent read – exciting, intriguing and lots of suspense.

I thought I would not enjoy this book as gaming does not appeal to me at all. I was surprised to find that I actually found it quite interesting as well as enjoying the plot with all its twists and turns.

31 Jul 2019

Oundle Library's Crime Fiction Book Group

Our book group thinks this new book by Jeffery Deaver is a cracker!

‘Nineteen-year-old Sophie disappears one summer afternoon. She wakes up to find herself locked inside a derelict warehouse, surrounded by five objects. If she uses them wisely, she will escape her prison. Otherwise she will die. The police are getting nowhere. Sophie’s distraught father calls in the one man who can help find his daughter: unique investigator Colter Shaw. Raised in the wilderness by survivalist parents, he is an expert tracker. Soon another victim is taken and dies.’

So… where to start? Well, the plot is set in California’s Silicon Valley and the rather strange world of online gaming. The hero, Colter Shaw, is a reward-seeker who takes on cases where a reward has been offered. The deal is that he only gets paid if he solves the case but occasionally he waives his right to take it even if he has.

This is the first book of a new Jeffery Deaver series about Colter Shaw. His back story of being raised by survivalist parents is threaded through the book as a series of flashbacks. You learn about his family and his upbringing in snippets so, as the criminal plot develops, you’re also wondering about Shaw’s own story at the same time. The book leaves you wanting to know more, which is obviously the perfect way to set things up for the next one.

As for the plot, you’re thrown into it quickly as Shaw tries to find Sophie, the first kidnap victim. The characters are well drawn and you find out enough about them to stay interested as the story moves along. In fact, Sophie is rescued pretty quickly and her escape is the point when you realise that online gaming is the core of the plot. From there it’s a case that twists and turns between the gamers, big business and corporate rivalries.

Everyone in our group who read The Never Game enjoyed it and rated it 4 or more stars. This is a pretty extraordinary feat in itself because we usually have quite a difference of opinion when we read the same book. (That’s one of the reasons we don’t operate to a set reading list!)

Individually we all had a slightly different slant on the book. Freyja visits California frequently and knows Silicon Valley reasonably well. As she said: “It always adds an extra dimension to a plot if you can say to yourself ‘Yes, I know that street/place/area.’” She thought Colter Shaw was an intriguing character – human and honourable.

For Cornish Eskimo, this was the first Jeffery Deaver she’d ever managed to finish – and she loved it: “I was pulled into the story quickly by Sophie’s abduction but was pleased Shaw found her fairly soon. (The thought of the whole book being about the hunt didn’t fill me with excitement.) Once she’d been found the pace settled and it became more of a classic whodunnit. But it was a page-turner and I found it hard to put down.”

Bunny enjoyed it but had some reservations. Namely that Shaw was too heroic to be believable: “He’s the best marksman, archer, tracker and anything else he tries his hand at. And of course, he’s also tall, handsome and irresistibly attractive to any female. All this made the story a bit predictable in places.”

As a group we've been reading lots of Jeffery Deaver books recently. Some of them have been quite old titles so it's nice to realise we're involved with a new series right from the start. We're looking forward to the next Colter Shaw story.

02 Jun 2019

Reviewed by Penistone Library Readers' Group. This book was reviewed by 8 members of our Group and mostly we enjoyed it, the one person who wasn’t enthusiastic admitted the book was of a genre she tends to avoid but she did finish it!
The others said they enjoyed it but were amazed/surprised by the fascination and addictiveness of the gaming industry. None of us know anything about gaming and didn’t find the idea of playing games for hours on end in the least appealing, although we know children who do this regularly.
We felt this is a “set the scene” book with the author introducing a new character and the beginnings of his back story. Most of us will read the next book to see how that develops. We thought the descriptions of life in Silicon Valley where people sleep in their cars to be very interesting and we have no reason to think the author has invented this, so life there may not be as wonderful as it first appears.
We thought it was an easy book to read, it told a good story and mostly held our interest and like many of Jeffrey Deaver’s books the story is intricate and detailed.
We were critical of the structure of the book, we found the Prologue to be more irritating than informative, being the rescue attempt of the third victim, then having to jump back several days to the real beginning of the story. We think Colter Shaw and his history have the potential to develop into an interesting character with good stories to come about his journey to the knowledge of his childhood.
We didn’t see the point of the maps, and felt the assigning of probabilities to situations was useful, when accompanied by the reasoning behind them, but felt that aspect needs to be used sparingly in future books because it could easily become a skippable irritant to some readers.
On the whole a satisfying read from a reliable author, and we would give it 3 and ½ stars.

26 May 2019

St Regulus SM

This was my first Jeffrey Deaver book, and although I tried my best to get along with the snappy style of writing, it never really delivered for me. The plot was sensational, and a bit too dramatic for my liking. The ending was quite clearly 'end of episode be continued'. I wouldn't rush back into reading another one.

22 May 2019


Having read several books by Deaver, I was excited to read the premier book of what looks to be a new series from him. Colter Shaw is a very complex man with a very complex and interesting back story. He is a "finder". He finds people but isn't a bounty hunter, policeman or private detective. He agrees to find a missing girl and does so fairly quickly much to the chagrin of the local police who don't seem to be taking the case seriously. Her disappearance is only the tip of a very sinister and convoluted iceberg. Set in the world of computer gaming this story feels very modern and timely. Colter Shaw's personal life is very mysterious as well and runs parallel throughout the book. It is a fun two in one.
I enjoyed this new read and look forward to reading more in this series. That said, I thought the ending was a little too much like a television cliff hanger at the end of the season--a dramatic teaser to make sure you come back next year. I felt it cheapened a well written and interesting book.

20 May 2019


My first Deaver which i enjoyed a lot. An easy read without being light in any way - i enjoyed the devt of the main character and liked the twist on his role ie not a traditional cop. It was also an interesting foray into the world of gaming which i knew little about but found interesting and informative. Some of the plot was a bit hard to believe but the characters were all well developed and i particularly liked the roles that his parents played in shaping who he is. Will definitely read more Deaver and would recommend this book

20 May 2019


This book is the start of a new series and comes complete with a new star of the show, Colter Shaw. Colter travels across the United States in his camper van, solving crimes for which a reward is offered. In this instance we are in the heart of Silicon Valley and soon become immersed in the world of computer games. A woman has gone missing and Colter is hired to find her. When a second potential victim is kidnapped there seems to be a link between the circumstances surrounding their disappearance and a video game, almost as though the perpetrator is playing the game in real life.

I really enjoyed this book, but should confess at this point that I have enjoyed every single Jeffery Deaver book that I have ever read. The theme of this one is Computer Gaming, an area which is pretty much alien to me (apart from Space Invaders and the odd game of Backgammon). This did not however detract in any way from either my understanding or my enjoyment of the novel. In all respects it achieved the usual high standards I have come to expect from the master of crime writing. The solution is complex and the red herrings are plentiful.

I am not sure that I am yet fully invested in Colter as a detective. I struggled to create a picture of him in my mind’s eye, both physically and personality wise. However, there is no doubt that his deduction techniques are interesting and hopefully we will get the opportunity to get to know him better as the series progresses. Also, I did not feel that there were quite so many bluffs and double-bluffs as in some of his previous novels – in many ways it was a more straightforward crime novel, albeit a very good one.

Jeffery Deaver has never disappointed me yet and this novel is no exception. I will continue to catch up on his myriad of previous novels and make sure that I read all of the ones that are yet to be written. If you enjoy crime novels I would recommend that you do the same.

19 May 2019


Great book. Good plot with several twists, the main character's past runs alongside the main storyline and we are left wanting more and knowing that there will be.

18 May 2019


This is the first Jeffery Deaver book I have read and I enjoyed it. The pace of the writing is good, the story line intriguing and the characters believable.

The story moves along at a good pace with lots of twists and turns, and Deaver has a likeable writing style. The dialogue fits, and mostly the action is believable. The writing doesn't get bogged down in too much extraneous detail. Colter Shaw is the main character, an interesting, smart and life-like man - the kind of person you feel you know as you read on.

Without revealing too much about the plot, I found the last 20 pages didn't fit with the rest of the book. I didn't feel the reason for the crimes was authentic - a bit too far fetched. Parts of the ending were disappointing.

Overall I enjoyed reading this well-written thriller.

17 May 2019

Reading Groups @ Leigh

Leigh Crime Reading Group

The Crime Reading Group meets the Third Thursday of every month at Leigh Library. April’s Title was The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver, the first of a new series featuring the character Colter Shaw
Here are some of our reviews below:
“I liked the start of the book as It went straight into the action. I loved how Colter isn’t your average detective; the slant on his unusual profession is a great twist on other crime novels. I would love to read more. My only criticism would be the action slowed during the middle after such a good fast- passed start.”
Jen. Crime Reading Group.
“The suspense was maintained through the book, leaving you always wondering who the killer was. All the characters were well drawn, but I was disappointed that you have to read the next book in the series as this one hasn’t got an ending”
Pat. Crime Reading Group.
“Good plot, intriguing main character. Coulter Shaw has an interesting back story, his Childhood and his career. They certainly make me want to know more. The story contained two narratives: The investigation of the “Gamer” the story concerning the death of his father. I have no complaints with this book. Even the supporting characters had well drawn back stories, I certainly would like to see Coulter and Maggie meeting again as I would like to know more about her.”
Linda. Crime Reading Group.
“Enjoyed the Character Coulter Shaw. The plot had lots of Twists and Turns. This was the first Jeffery Deaver book I have read, I will certainly be reading more!!”
Patricia. Crime Reading Group.
“Couldn’t get Interested in it.”
Anonymous. Crime Reading Group.
Leigh Crime Reading Group would certainly recommend this book and would love to read the next in the series.

From the noticeboard