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A tense and very readable first book about a damaged rookie police officer forced to defend his town against the forces of chaos.

Trigger is a tense contemporary American thriller about a damaged rookie police officer forced to defend his small hometown against evil forces, after an unimaginable loss.

Damien Hill is a young police recruit happily shopping for clothes for his unborn child with his beautiful wife, when he is swept up in a riot triggered by the shooting of a known criminal by a fellow officer, his best friend Ted. It soon becomes apparent that this is no ordinary protest, and that sinister elements are coordinating a rebellion by stoking hatred against all police, and Damien is chosen by their mysterious leader to be made an example of. He barely survives, and, on waking from a prolonged coma, discovers that the brain damage inflicted upon him has changed his personality, and his new loss of conscience make him the only man equipped to defend his family and town from the violence to come...

I enjoy vigilante thrillers about brave and selfless heroes, battling near-insurmountable odds, and Trigger certainly checked those boxes. The writing was solid, the action well-paced and the suspense effective. Damien is an appealing hero as he strives to do the right thing in spite of his longing for vengeance. The narrative reminded me of some of the recent James Patterson thriller collaborations, with punchy short sentences and plenty of cliffhanger chapter endings.

My main problem with this book was the excessive author commentary about the thoughts and motivations of both the hero Damien, the antagonist he names Scarman, and the hate-filled mob that take over the town. I’ve seen references before to “show don’t tell” in others’ reviews but never been entirely clear what this meant until I was bombarded with it in this novel. I felt I knew all I needed to from Damien’s actions, so found the frequent analysis unnecessary and annoying. Conversely, I was looking for an explanation to the motive behind the dastardly plot so was disappointed that this was not revealed - presumably this will be explained in the later books in the series.

Overall this was a very readable if unexceptional start to a series about an intriguing but flawed hero, which has great potential, if the author’s tendency to editorialise can be reined in, and of course this aspect may not bother other readers. 

I received a free copy through the Reedsy Discovery programme, in exchange for an honest review. 

Reviewed by

I’m English but have lived in NZ for 19 years.
I’ve always been a serious reader, and have been reviewing on GoodReads for years, but in the past few years have developed my reviewing through NetGalley and now Reedsy. I mostly read mysteries and thrillers, although enjoy other genres in between.

About the author

Bauer has been writing since he was nine years old and has won a few awards here and there. Inspired by Hitchcock, Koontz and Patterson, he loves writing thrillers. Having grown up in Florida, has seen the crazy and the amazing, both of which he tries to sprinkle into his books. view profile

Published on July 24, 2019

Published by

70000 words

Contains mild explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Thriller & Suspense

Reviewed by