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Posted April 16, 2012
Great Debut Novel
While an L.A. film crew was busy putting in a day’s work for the Close to Home travel series, they witness the horrible crash of an F-18 Navy fighter plane. Wes Stewart, the crew’s cameraman, rushes to the scene of the crash to help extricate the pilot. Unable to free the pilot because of a jammed restraint, Wes runs to get a knife to cut the harness, but when he turns to head back the plane bursts into flames and the pilot is killed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The morning after the crash Wes wakes up in his hotel that happens to be in the city of Ridgecrest, his childhood home. It has been seventeen years since he left. He would not have been back if the episode weren’t being shot at this location. Waiting to meet an old high-school friend Lieutenant Commander Lars Anderson at an old haunt, Wes picks up the day’s paper and reads the article on the crash. Immediately he is thrown for a loop when what he reads is not what happened. The photo of the pilot was not the guy he saw in the plane and the article said the pilot was dead on impact. What was going on, why was the Navy misleading the public?
Wes, along with his girlfriend Anna, start digging into the crash and find evidence of a cover-up that involves Commanding officers and a covert operation testing a weapons system called SCORCH. Wes and Anna begin finding their rooms ransacked, footage of the crash and computers stolen and they are being followed whenever they leave the hotel. When members of the film crew go missing and Lars gets thrown into military prison, the situation becomes a fight for their lives as well as justice for the downed pilot.
Brett Battles writes a fast-paced story that takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride through the Sierra desert and leaves them gasping for breath trying to keep up with his brilliant cast of characters. Battles has a getting-to-the-point style of writing that I found engaging. This was the first of his books I have read and it most certainly won’t be the last.
Reviewed for Suspense Magazine
Posted February 21, 2012
A thriller with a mystery ...
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. Once again, 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!!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.