A Finalist for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, Mainstream Mystery.
Dave, an investment counselor with PTSD, survives a blowout that kills his fiancée, Allison.
A year later, Dave has found unexpected happiness with Cathy. At Dave's high-school reunion, Dave is stunned that he doesn't recognize anyone there. Cathy, who was previously victimized by a con man, breaks it off. Late that night, Dave gets a text: "How does it feel to be so quickly forgotten?" Apparently, someone close to Allison is angry that he has moved on so "soon."
Dave's PTSD symptoms make him avoid conflict at almost any cost, so he hopes this will pass. It doesn't. The harassment escalates. And now, someone is trying to kill him.
Dave's only choices are to flee or stay and fight. He stays. And before the fight is done, multiple bodies lie in his wake. Someone picked on the wrong guy.
Pushback is a finalist for the 2019 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in the Mainstream Mystery/Suspense category, a finalist for the Book Excellence Award in thrillers, and a finalist for the Colorado Author's League Award in Mystery.
"Some people dream about going to their high-school reunion in their underwear. Dave Barlow goes to his and finds himself worse than naked—unrecognized. A lovely, twisty thriller that moves like a roller coaster—ratcheting up the suspense, then plunging into crisis, or doing a swift loop-the-loop through the flashbacks of PTSD before the climb starts again."
— Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of Outlander
About the Author
John E. Stith is the award-winning author of multiple science-fiction novels such as Manhattan Transfer and Redshift Rendezvous, many with a strong mystery component. Deep Quarry, a private eye novel set on a distant planet, won the Colorado Authors' League Top Hand Award. Death Tolls, set on Mars, won another Top Hand Award. His Nick Naught private eye stories from Analog are collected in All for Naught.
Stith's work includes best sellers, a Nebula Award finalist, a Seiun Award finalist, a La Tour Eiffel Science Fiction Book Prize finalist, HOMer Award winners, and Science Fiction Book Club selections.
His work has also appeared on the New York Public Library Best Books for Young Adults list, Science Fiction Chronicle's List of Year's Best Novels, and the yearly Locus Recommended Reading Lists.
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About the Author
John E. Stith's works include REDSHIFT RENDEZVOUS (Nebula Award nominee), MANHATTAN TRANSFER (Hugo Award Honorable Mention), REUNION ON NEVEREND, and RECKONING INFINITY (on Science Fiction Chronicle's 1997's Best Science Fiction Novels list, on the Nebula Award preliminary ballot). His other novels are SCAPESCOPE, MEMORY BLANK, DEATH TOLLS, and DEEP QUARRY. Naught Again includes a Nick Naught novella and a novelette. Stith's work also includes best sellers, a Seiun Award finalist, a La Tour Eiffel Science Fiction Book Prize finalist, HOMer Award winners, and Science Fiction Book Club selections. His work has also appeared on the New York Public Library Best Books for Young Adults list, Science Fiction Chronicle's List of Year's Best Novels, and the yearly Locus Recommended Reading Lists. His website is www.neverend.com Personal Facebook Page for interests beyond writing: www.facebook.com/john.e.stith More books from John E. Stith are available at: http://ReAnimus.com/store/?author=John E. Stith
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you're a fan of this author, you might like this book Dave Barlow, an almost 30-year-old financial advisor in Colorado Springs who has an obsession with Bolivia, narrates this story, which starts with two bullet holes in his new car followed by his attendance at his 10-year college reunion where no one recognizes him and he doesn't appear to exist. This set the whole plot in motion and had the potential to be a really good book, but it moved much too quickly into being unbelievable. As events unfold, it is clear that someone is out to destroy Dave's life - personally and professionally. We get a clue very early in the book regarding who the culprit might be, but even though Dave is telling the story, he doesn't seem to come to the same conclusion as the reader. This book also employs the unfortunately often used plot line that the police are too busy and/or incompetent to solve crimes so the narrator must do it himself because he has more motivation to solve the crime himself. The issue here is that Dave doesn't have any background that would lend itself to him being a superior detective. I'm not saying financial advisors aren't smart, but they're not detectives. And Dave does a lot of law-breaking while he's gathering evidence, which would never hold up, and that doesn't seem to factor in at any point in the book. In addition, Dave withdraws a large sum of money from his bank account at a time in the story where it would be necessary for him to have readily available cash. Without spoiling anything, we're told at one point that he has now lost the money that was left in his car, but the amount he would need to buy all of the things he buys is probably more than would comfortably fit in his wallet. He just seems to have an endless supply of cash, and I couldn't reconcile that. Another challenge I had with this was the character development, which was pretty much non-existent. The characters were completely unsympathetic and no one had any back story to speak of. The reader has no idea of how the characters got where they are in the present day. We learn a little bit about Dave's history only in that it is necessary for us to understand what's happening to him now (although I'm not sure that constant references to PTSD advanced the story at all), but there is no depth to the characters and I don't feel bad or good about any of them. I didn't care if Dave ever found out who was behind his troubles. I was curious about the motivation behind them, but it certainly didn't drive me to keep turning pages until I finished. I finished when I finished. I really wasn't in any hurry. The writing style left a lot to be desired. I know this author has been nominated for awards for some of his science fiction work, and I haven't read anything of his before, but the writing style in this feels amateurish and stilted. And there were several instances where it seemed like he was trying to be funny or use innuendo that just fell flat. As I mentioned earlier, the author seems to be obsessed with Bolivia. There are 10 separate references to fleeing to Bolivia, heading to Bolivia, what do you think of Bolivia. Because clearly if you want to escape your current life, Bolivia must be the place to go? SEE MY FULL REVIEW ON GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2490073807
Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite Pushback by John E. Stith is a riveting, gripping thriller. Dave Barlow, a financial advisor, suffers from PTSD after surviving a painful blowout that took away Allison, his fiancée. It has been a year, and he has found new love in Cathy and is looking forward to moving on. But things take an unexpected turn when he arrives at his high school reunion only to feel like a total stranger. What follows is a breakup from Cathy and the same night he receives a threat through a text message. But it is just the beginning of a nightmare and everything points to the fact that someone is out to hurt him badly. Dave has to choose either to stand up and fight or run for his life, but how can he fight an enemy when he doesn’t have a clue of who they are? Follow this engrossing tale to find out what happens next. John E. Stith won my heart with the excellent quality of the writing and his unique storytelling skills. An author who knows what it takes to connect readers with characters and stay with them from one exciting page to the next engrossing one. The action is pulsating and Dave’s PTSD rubs off on the reader in ways that are sure and subtle. The characters are genuinely flawed, humanly convincing, and so real you feel as though you share the same space with them. Conflict is deftly handled and it moves the plot in directions that are surprisingly unexpected. Pushback is pulsating, action packed, and beautifully paced. One of those books that grips you from the start and forces you to read on until the exhilarating denouement.
Dave Barlow is an investment counselor and discovers two bullet holes in his new car. But before he really can look into them, he takes his girlfriend to his ten year college reunion. But something strange is going on. He doesn’t recognize these people and they don’t know him either. His girlfriend takes this badly and breaks up with him. Thinking things couldn’t get worse, they do. It seems someone is out to get Dave. They want to destroy him completely. Dave has some issues but is piecing his life back together after the death of his girlfriend in a car accident. He has found another girl and plans of going to his reunion. But things take a turn for the worse as it seems someone is determined to end him. From here Dave goes through hell trying to figure out who is after him and why. This story has a rough feel to it. It’s not bad but there are a couple places that it just seems to stick. There are some descriptions that are way over done and then there is the whole Bolivia obsession. If the story would have been smoothed out I think that I would have liked it better. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a bad book. Although I might not have been as excited about this book doesn’t mean that it won’t be someone else’s top read. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
A mix of sci-fi and suspense. I highly recommend this read! Please refer to my entire review on NetGalley !