Friday, April 13, 2018

Book Review: One Shot by Brian Gates

A familiar theme, very well-done in an enjoyable book

A man finds clues about the future, then puts himself in the line of fire to save the day.  That’s the crux of One Shot, and I’ve been there, done that…well, at least, I’ve read that.  But while it’s a familiar theme, it’s one that Brian Gates, the author, does it quite well with a likeable hero and an interesting writing style.

Jack Shot, the main character, is described as ‘content,’ but aimless might be more appropriate; he seems to have few goals beyond keeping his job and getting a date with an attractive coworker, Abby.  That all changes, however, with the first clues into the future, and suddenly, he is thrust into heroic action.  That action takes a toll, as suffers injuries that would put a mere human down for the count – concussions and third-degree burns among them – but he keeps fighting.  Realism might suffer a bit at these points, but the tension was there.  These exploits also turned Abby’s head, making her seem a bit shallow, but subsequently, she shows herself to be gritty and determined.

The book is written as a narrated memoir – also familiar and also well done.  The tone is easy, conversational, and largely, about Jack’s life.  The chapters, however, often begin with a quote, a bit of folksy philosophy, or a platitude, like ‘love’s a bitch’.  It might sound strange, but it consistently encapsulated the story and provided a transition back to the action.  And despite the informal, storytelling tone of the story in general, Gates pens numerous clever turns of a phrase.  I found this mixture of the unique and the informal both engaging and often, quite funny.

For me, the book gets a bit heavy-handed on the fantasy and philosophizing about the battle between good and evil at the end.  And after reading it, I wasn’t certain if it was actually a call to end our moral indifference, or just a segue to a possible book 2.  But either way, it detracted little.

Overall, One Shot is an excellent read.  The theme may seem familiar, but the characters, the mix of writing styles, and the turns of a phrase made it a pleasure to read.

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