Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Review: "One to Go" by Mike Pace

The crime/thriller genre is full of a lot of books that seem rather similar, to the point where at times you can't easily distinguish books you've read from those you haven't. Mike Pace's One to Go is not one of those books. Sure, it's utterly implausible (at least I hope so) and it goes off the rails toward the end, but it takes you on one hell of a ride, and is unlike any other book I've read, mashing together the crime/thriller genre with a bit of the paranormal.

Tom Booker is a new attorney at one of the more powerful law firms in Washington, DC. He's rotating through the firm's different specialties, hoping to find his niche and make an impression on those in charge. Deciding to be a lawyer at a later age than many, he wants to succeed yet still wants to be a good father to his young daughter, especially now that he and his wife are divorced.

Rushing to meet his daughter and her friends at a museum one Saturday, he stops to text his wife that he's on his way (although running late), and he inadvertently winds up drifting into oncoming traffic, causing an accident on the Memorial Bridge. An accident with a truck as well as a minivan driven by his sister-in-law, carrying his daughter and her friends. The minivan tips on its side, starts leaking gasoline, and is on the verge of plummeting into the Potomac River below.

Can Tom shake off his own injuries fast enough to save his daughter? Suddenly time inexplicably freezes, and he encounters a perky couple, Britney and Chad. They give Tom the option to reverse time and save everyone involved in the crash. But this offer is not without its cost—to repay for the four lives he will save, he must kill a person every other week. It doesn't matter who he kills, he just has to kill someone. And if he doesn't, one of the minivan's passengers will be killed instead, which again puts his daughter at risk.

He has to be hallucinating, right? Tom quickly sees that this utterly unbelievable situation is all too real, and he must take Britney and Chad's bargain seriously. But how will he find people who deserve to die? And how will he work up the courage to kill them when he's never really even fired a gun? He must turn himself from an upstanding lawyer into a serial killer in just a matter of days, and he can't caught, or he'll put his daughter in danger. And then he finds himself in the middle of another situation that threatens his freedom and his daughter's life.

One to Go jolts you from the start, and keeps your adrenaline pumping throughout. Tom is not your average everyday murderer—he thinks he can go about killing like he's seen it done on television and in the movies, but he finds it much more difficult than he'd even imagine, and as he finds, the devil is definitely in the details. I liked the fact that Pace didn't change Tom's character too much as the story unfolded. Pace does a great job ratcheting up the tension throughout, and there are some good action scenes.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but I found part of the story's resolution tremendously predictable (I figured it would go one of two ways) and then the outrageous elements of the plot were just a little too outrageous. But if you can completely suspend your disbelief (and I mean completely), you'll probably agree this is a book unlike many you've seen in this genre.

I look forward to seeing what Pace thinks of next!

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