Story Rating: 4 stars
Audio Rating: 4 stars

Narrator: Tristan James
Length: 8 hours, 55 minutes

Audiobook Buy Links: Amazon/Audible | iBooks
Book Buy Links: Amazon | iBooks

Ricochet was Reese Knightly’s debut novel and marks the beginning of the Out for Justice series. With a huge cast of characters and intense action, this story revolves around Noah, a young boy who is made to witness the murder of his mother by a stepfather who is not only abusive, but the right-hand man of a drug lord. Raised on a compound dedicated to sending out other teens as drug mules, Noah is forced to learn the “family business” first hand, while being groomed to take it over one day. But Noah not only hates the man running the operation, but refuses to do more than appear to toe the line—and even that comes with merciless beatings and constant fear.

When the compound is raided by U.S. Marshals and the FBI, Noah is rescued by Mac Mackenzie and taken to a safe house to live. As time goes on, Noah falls in love with Mac, but Mac’s sense of duty and his belief that their nine-year age gap is too much prevents him from returning the affections, even though he harbors the same feelings deep in his heart. It will be several year later when Noah has dramatically changed and is now a formidable secret agent that the two men will have a chance to rekindle their love—but can Noah forgive Mac and allow him back into his life?

There is a lot of story here to take in, with an incredible cast of characters that often left me going back over passages to make sure who was who. The story itself is a strong one. I loved how we see Noah evolve as a person from the scared and abused kid to a capable and rather scary killing machine who still retains some of his humanity. This is not just his story, though, but Mac seems to have less of a personality arc, remaining essentially the same, just a bit more romanticized in the end, and that was fitting since Mac is the more mature member of this romantic duo and therefore more settled in his life and habits.

For a first novel, Ricochet is impressive. The scope of the story, covering several years, never failed to intrigue me and kept me involved. It is action-packed and dangerous, all the elements a good adventure story needs. The main characters are fully fleshed out and hadvesome nice depth, changing over the course of the novel rather than remaining stagnant or one-dimensional. The secondary characters that make up Noah’s teammates in the last half of the novel are intriguing and I hope many of them get their own story and we learn more about their background. Perhaps the only thing that makes this novel a bit confusing is the beginning chapters where the author jumps around in time, going into the past, then years forward to the near present day, then back again. I must admit, I got a little lost when Noah was involved in an event and then we jumped to Mac several hours earlier and he was just learning about the event. That happened more than once and it caused me a great deal of confusion. I will say, once that resolved and the story stayed fairly parallel with them both in the same moment, things really took off and I was hooked.

Ricochet had lots of great pieces that came together to make a fascinating story with heaps of action and a romance that was solid and quite lovely to watch unfold. I look forward to reading more from this author and must say Knightly is one to watch in the future.

This novel needed a strong narrator who could keep the story active and interesting and that is exactly what it got. With a slightly gravelly pitch, Tristan James uses his deep voice to set the dangerous tone for this story. His pacing was very good—moving swiftly during the prose passages and slowing to give more importance to the dialogue. For what felt like a long story, James used his narration speed to keep it moving nicely. While many of the character’s voices were too similar to the narrator’s own voice, Noah and Mac’s had some distinct changes in pitch, successfully setting them apart.

Because there were so many different people in this story, I was not surprised that the narrator had difficulty keeping them separate; therefore, it became obvious that James’ real strength with this book was the pacing of his reading. When a novel is long and occasionally overwhelming with a multitude of voices as this one is, then you really need some way to keep the reader’s attention. If that can’t necessarily happen by using different voices for the multiple number of characters, then it falls to the speed and intensity of the narration to be the hook that will keep an audience involved. I do wish there had been more attention spent on trying to give each person their own voicing, but I still appreciate how Tristan James made the story come alive with his excellent way of reading the material aloud.

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