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4.2 7
by Jon McGoran

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When Philadelphia narcotics detective Doyle Carrick loses his mother and step-father within weeks of each other, he gains a twenty-day suspension for unprofessional behavior and instructions to lay low at the unfamiliar house he's inherited in rural Pennsylvania.

Feeling restless and out of place, Doyle is surprised to find himself falling for his new neighbor,


When Philadelphia narcotics detective Doyle Carrick loses his mother and step-father within weeks of each other, he gains a twenty-day suspension for unprofessional behavior and instructions to lay low at the unfamiliar house he's inherited in rural Pennsylvania.

Feeling restless and out of place, Doyle is surprised to find himself falling for his new neighbor, Nola Watkins, who's under pressure to sell her organic farm to a large and mysterious development company. He's more surprised to see high-powered drug dealers driving the small-town roads—dealers his bosses don't want to hear about.

But when the drug bust Doyle's been pushing for goes bad and the threats against Nola turn violent, Doyle begins to discover that what's growing in the farmland around Philadelphia is much deadlier than anything he could have imagined . . .

Quick, clever, and terrifying, Jon McGoran's Drift is a commercial thriller in the tradition of Nelson DeMille's Plum Island.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
McGoran (Body Trace and two other Madison Cross mysteries under his D.H. Dublin pseudonym) impressively integrates concerns about genetically modified produce with an action-filled storyline and fleshed-out characters. Det. Doyle Carrick of the Philadelphia PD, suspended after putting a gun to a drug dealer’s head to coerce information, uses his mandatory vacation to take residence in the house he’s inherited from his recently deceased parents in the rural community of Dunston, Pa. At a Dunston diner, he steps in to save organic farmer Nola Watkins from a creep who grabs her by the wrist. Watkins has also been receiving hang-up calls, which may be related to efforts by real-estate developers to buy out most of the local land owners. Watkins’s refusal to sell may have ticked off those who have already cut deals and who perhaps fear that she will ruin their sales. The disturbing, but scientifically plausible, secret at the heart of the bad guys’ schemes is an original one, and McGoran makes the most of it. Agent: Stacia Decker, Donald Maass Literary Agency. (July)
From the Publisher

“Jon McGoran is a writer to watch. His effortless prose keeps his quirky characters ripping through a tricky plot that's as unusual as it is original. Drift is a winner.” —F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Dark at the End

Drift is a compelling and devious novel from a powerful new voice in thriller fiction. Jon McGoran has the chops to become one of the greats!” —Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Assassin's Code

“A crisp organic thriller, freshly picked, and pickled with action… you'll never look at an apple the same way again.” —William Lashner, New York Times bestselling author of Blood and Bone

“Jon McGoran's wry narrative is on full display in Drift, a fun tale that follows the exploits of suspended detective Doyle Carrick, who learns the hard way not to stick his nose in his neighbors' business.” —Steve Alten, New York Times bestselling author of MEG and The Omega Project

“Cops, drugs, plenty of action. Drift is written with style and verve. Do yourself a favor and read this tough thriller.” —John Lutz, New York Times bestselling author of Serial

“Gripping, chilling and written with aplomb. Packed with plot twists and palpable tension; it's Lee Child's Killing Floor with a smart-aleck Reacher. Genuinely unputdownable.” —Owen Laukkanen, bestselling author of The Professionals

“Take the best parts of a Crichton technothriller, make it noir like Chandler and you've got Drift…a terrific read.” —Brad Parks, Shamus- and Nero-Award-winning author of The Good Cop

“Blends a ripped-from-the-headlines premise with a cutting-edge mystery and relentless action. A timely, terrifying environmental thriller, Drift will make you think twice the next time you fill your cart at the grocery store.” —Karen Dionne, author of Freezing Point

Kirkus Reviews
A big-city cop suspended from Narcotics after an angry outburst retreats to his late mother's house in bucolic Dunston, Pa., only to find that Philadelphia was a lot safer than this little hamlet. As if Meredith Carrick's death weren't enough, more bad news swiftly follows for depressive Detective Doyle Carrick: His stepfather, Frank Menlow, has died as well. Since there's no one left to tend their place and Doyle has no reason to stay in the city, he rusticates himself to Dunston, where neighboring organic farmer Nola Watkins offers at least the promise of sweet diversion. Little does Doyle know that by the time he gets Frank buried, there'll be four other bodies cooling in the Dunston morgue, casualties of Doyle's repeated run-ins with a passel of drug dealers. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. Redtail Holding Company has been buying up parcels of land in unseemly haste, and the anonymous calls pressing Nola to sell soon escalate to more florid misfortunes. The designer blue corn she's contracted to raise for a wedding reception is infected with a mysterious blight. Someone sets fire to her cornfield after methodically harvesting the infected crop. Doyle's attempts to interest Police Chief Francis Pruitt in Nola's troubles are stymied by the fact that Pruitt already has his eye on Doyle as a troublemaker. Then people who aren't drug dealers begin to die, heralds of a deep-dyed conspiracy to genetically modify innocuous crops like apples and corn in ways that will make your head spin. Drug dealers, suspect developers, Russian gangsters, mad scientists--Dunston's got them all, and McGoran's debut piles on the menace as if there were no tomorrow, which maybe there isn't.

Product Details

Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
Doyle Carrick Series , #1
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 4.10(h) x 0.90(d)

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Read an Excerpt




The surveillance van smelled of old cheeseburgers, coffee, and me. Parked in front of a vacant storefront in North Philly, I was watching on a little screen as my partner, Danny Tennison, made a buy from a scumbag named Dwayne Rowan just around the corner.

We’d been trying to nab Rowan’s supplier, see if we could swim upstream and get the next guy up the chain or the guy above him.

Rowan was almost out of stock, and Danny was trying to find out about the re-up. Rowan didn’t have the faintest idea Danny was a cop, and he wasn’t trying to be discreet, either. He was just a dumbass.

“So, you getting any more of this?” Danny asked him.

“Yeah, this stuff or something else.”

“Same guy, or you got somebody new?”

“Nah, always the same guy.”

“Oh yeah? When’s that going to be?” Danny asked, keeping it casual.

That’s when my phone rang. The whole thing was being recorded, but I still needed to be paying attention. No chance in hell a guy like Rowan was going to start trouble, but I was still Danny’s backup.

The call was from Frank, my mom’s husband. She was pretty sick by then, between the cancer and the chemo and the infections. I’d been trying to wrap up the case so I could visit her, but things were conspiring to keep me in Philly. Things like this asshole Rowan.

I’d only seen her twice since the diagnosis, but my guilt was tinged with annoyance at her and Frank for moving so far out in the sticks.

“Oh, you know, like, in a couple days,” Rowan told Danny.

“So what, you mean like Tuesday?” Danny asked, without a trace of the exasperation I was feeling. “Or like Wednesday?”

“Yeah, that’s it,” Rowan replied.

“What is it, Frank?” I said, answering the phone in an exaggerated whisper so he’d know this was not a good time.

“Well, which is it?” Danny asked. “Tuesday or Wednesday?”

“Wait,” Rowan said. “What day is it today?”

“Monday,” Danny told him.

“Right … so probably later, then.”

“It’s your mother,” Frank said, his voice strained.

“You mean, like Wednesday or like Thursday?” Danny said, finally revealing a hint of aggravation.

“What about her, Frank?”

“It’s another infection. A bad one. She’s back in the hospital.… I think this is it.” His voice cracked, and I thought I heard him sob. He cleared his throat. “If you’re going to come up, you need to come up now.”

Rowan was babbling on in the background, sounding suddenly far away. “Could still be Tuesday, man. I forget. What night is the wrestling on?”

As the phone fell away from my face, I thought: My mom is going to die while this fuck-head tries to get his days straight. I don’t remember thinking much after that. I got out of the van, a cardinal sin in the middle of surveillance, and I walked around the corner, straight up to where Danny and Rowan were standing.

Danny’s eyes widened, then his face fell back into the same heavy-lidded suspicious gaze as Rowan’s. We’d been working pretty hard the past few days, so I looked rough enough to pass for someone making a buy. As Rowan looked over at me, ready to take my order, Danny flashed me one last glare to remind me how much time and energy he’d invested in his cover.

The first thing I did when I came up to them, I planted a left in Danny’s face. I didn’t pull it, either—I popped him and dropped him. If I was going to pull something, it had to look real.

Rowan yelped like I’d stepped on his tail. He tugged a gun from the back of his pants, but he couldn’t seem to get a grip on it, bobbling it like some half-assed juggler until I snatched it out of the air between his hands and pressed it against his temple.

“When’s the re-up?” I asked quietly.

“Tuesday,” he said with great certainty. “Um … six o’clock.”

I was about to ask him where when he said, “In the parking lot behind Charlie B’s.”

I figured, what the fuck: “Who’s your supplier?”

He didn’t even pause. “Marcus Draper.”

First chance he got, Danny Tennison drilled a right to the side of my head that left my ears ringing. But he was okay after that. Danny was cool that way. He didn’t always approve, but he understood.

I got a couple of uniforms to take Rowan in, then I got in my car and drove.

Twenty minutes later, I got a call from Lieutenant Suarez, screaming at me that I was on admin duty, pending an investigation. Normally, I would have screamed back, but I just said, “Whatever.”

Ten minutes after that, I got another call from Frank. I could barely hear him, but it wasn’t the phone breaking up, it was him.

“We lost her, Doyle,” he said when he could speak. “Your mother’s dead.”


Copyright © 2013 by Jon McGoran

Meet the Author

JON McGORAN has written about food and sustainability for twenty years, as communication director at Weavers Way Co-op in Philadelphia, and now as editor at Grid magazine. During that time he has also been an advocate for urban agriculture, cooperative development and labeling of genetically engineered foods. He is a founding member of the Philadelphia Liars Club, a group of published authors dedicated to promotion, networking, and service work. In Drift, he combines his interest in the increasingly bizarre world of food today with his love of the thriller.

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Drift 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings A high energy ride that from beginning to end had me flipping pages so quickly!  Doyle is a detective that from an incident is put on suspension and he heads home to his parents' former home as they have both recently passed away.  Upon arriving in the farmland of Pennsylvania, he is immediately swept into some drama that wouldn't normally be seen in this rural, small town.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Drift was well written and fast paced. The characters were well presented and even though Doyle Carrick was over the top at times he was likeable. Seed drift with GMO’s is a very real problem, as is the potential to genetically engineer carriers for drugs and even plagues. Mr. McGoran tackled the subject in an entertaining way, with just enough facts and that in the end made you think that this could really happen. Drift is well worth reading. Lawrence Verigin, author of, DARK SEED
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A page turner with unique story line - sort of a gentle hard boiled style.
StephWard More than 1 year ago
3.5 Stars 'Drift' is a suspense novel set in rural eastern Pennsylvania and deals with the pressures of organic farming, the dangers to food worldwide, and highly connected drug dealers driving around the small town. When Doyle Carrick finds himself in his recently deceased parents' house and falling fast for the charming neighbor woman - he has no idea what he has stepped in the middle of; and that just might cost him and the ones he cares about more than he anticipated. This was a slick thriller with twists and turns that the reader won't see coming and will have them eagerly trying to figure out what's really happening in this small town in Pennsylvania. The characters were all well written, although I found the romance between Doyle and Nola to be predictable. I liked watching Doyle come to the country as a Philly cop and then see his character change and grow into a much more complex man. The plot was really fascinating with all the topics about organic food, harmful pesticides and government tampering with food. I found it all the more creepy because these things are hot topics in our society today and this type of situation could actually happen (or be happening). The writing was well done with a quick pace and short chapters that held the reader's attention. Although I myself didn't find the topic of the book, mainly the organic versus government food agenda, to be quite up my alley, the mystery and suspense of the book was really well written. I'd definitely recommend this book for fans of the concepts discussed in the book as well as for fans of suspense and mysteries. Disclosure: I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
stacybuckeye More than 1 year ago
Excellent thriller. Never a boring moment.
marielamba More than 1 year ago
Just finished reading DRIFT, and wow, loved the ride. McGoran creates a character with depth and a hilarious attitude, too. I laughed out loud at many spots, but I have to say I also felt deeply moved by this character when he dealt with some heavy stuff. Excellent action, a really fresh plot and spot on writing kept me flipping the pages and left me satisfied at the end - and eager to recommend this great thriller to my friends. And the issue of messing with our food supply, and the scary believable ramifications behind it? Well handled and disturbing. Grab this book!
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
Three years after Philadelphia narcotics detective Doyle Carrick’s mother and stepfather move to what he’d always thought of as the sleepy countryside of Dunston, Pennsylvania, he finds himself driving there for the second time in several days, the first time to attend his mother’s funeral, the second to attend that of his step-father. The second time, though, he can stay somewhat longer, since he’s under suspension after an incident that also mandated he undergo mandatory Anger Management sessions (which he takes as a suggestion, one that he ignores.) But the town, on closer inspection this time around, doesn’t seen quite so sleepy, that myth quickly disintegrating as Doyle comes upon drug dealers, menacing land developers, crop fires, and trucks intent on running him off the road. And local law enforcement doesn’t seem to take any of this too seriously. On the positive side, Doyle meets the woman who lives across the road from his parents’ property, beautiful Nola Watkins, who has a serious problem with genetically modified crops and a serious interest in organic farming, one that she has turned into a burgeoning business, selling her produce to some markets and food co-ops in Philly, as well as a couple of restaurants and high-end caterers. But she has been under some pressure to sell her property, as most of the people in the area seem to have done, and has been receiving phone calls with nothing on the other end except a dial tone. The novel is well-written, suspenseful, and cleverly plotted, with an engaging protagonist, at the same time raising important and timely environmental issues. There’s a lot of action, and a lot of leavening humor. The plot twists when they come are unexpected and quite startling, initially requiring a willful suspension of disbelief, but quickly turning into an unexpectedly believable scenario. Fast-paced and very enjoyable, the book is highly recommended.