No Return by Brett Battles

Publication Date: January 31, 2012

 

BB_No_ReturnIn No Return by Brett Battles, Wes Stewart leaves the dusty town in which he grew up as a teen with the strict instructions from his father to never return. Many years later, Wes finds himself in his hometown on the production crew of a travel show. Wes and the crew witness a fighter jet crashing. Wes is first on the scene and tries to save the pilot which leads to his being swept up in a conspiracy of deceit intertwined with the secrets he left behind.

 

 

Dear Readers, I must tell you — my heart is broken. I promised that I would always be honest with you and I fully expected to tell you that I was about to fangirl the heck out of the newest novel by one of my favorite authors. It is not to be. Every author is entitled to a bad book and, to my mind, this is Brett Battles’s.

No Return: A Novel had two main plotlines — a military conspiracy plotline and the personal history plotline. The military plotline was solid and could have been really great had it been more developed. In reading, I felt that this plotline was rushed and perhaps too easy in order to make room for the other story. Probably, if it had been the sole plotline, I would have been lauding this book as expected. I sincerely doubt that Mr. Battles reads romantic suspense so I can perhaps forgive him for employing the most overused plotline in romantic suspense for his second main plotline. This bad outing was complete with the most used way the baddie accesses the core group. I can forgive him, but I have to tell you, it’s bad very bad.

I did not like Wes. I found him a very flat character. We know that women are attracted to Wes because at least two of the women on the crew slept with him at one point or another (which leads to a weak subplot of jealousy that doesn’t go anywhere so, to my mind, why go there?). We know he’s brave because he jumps on a plane to try to save a life. We know he’s tenacious because he tries against all odds to get to the bottom of something that he could easily walk away from. Seems like he might be an inherently likable guy, right? No. He comes off as weak, immature and not terribly bright in the storyline. Oh, you say, he’s an anti-hero? Not even.

Brett Battles seems to lean on stereotypes in this novel instead of developing the secondary characters. The cast includes the spoiled star, the hard-as-steel director, the reckless guy, the jealous ex, the innocent violated. In previous reviews, I have lauded Battles for his ability to convey so much about a character in very little text. Not so in this book. I keep notes as I read books for my reviews and one of my notes for this book is “If I can’t tell the characters apart, should I really care what’s happening to them?”.  All we really know about Allison, for instance, is that she slept with Wes and may be holding a grudge. We know that Danny is a party boy. When one of the characters disappeared I had to go back to that character’s last appearance to remember which stereotype it was.

I did find interesting, (and this is obviously just coincidental) given the timing of Whitney Houston’s death when I was reading this novel that one of the characters dies in the same way that most news sources are alleging Whitney died.

There were so many points in this book that simply could have been better developed for a better read. This blog is about my opinion and, in my opinion; this was just not a good read.

If you read Battles and have read this book, I’d love to hear your take. For those who haven’t read Battles, don’t start with this one. This author also writes the awesome Project Eden series, the really great Logan Harper series and the sublime Quinn series. When I finished this book, I read the Quinn short story, Just Another Job – A Jonathan Quinn Story and LOVED IT. This is certainly an author worth reading even if No Return: A Novel is not his best work.

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About Brett Battles
For more information about Brett Battles, visit his blog and YouTube channel. You can connect with Brett Battles on Goodreads, Facebook and on Twitter @BrettBattlesSeries readers can track his books on FictFact.

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