Drift by Jon McGoran

Posted 25 July, 2013 by Heather in Blog, Blog Tour, Heather, Heather Book Review / 12 Comments

Drift by Jon McGoranDrift by Jon McGoran
Series: Drift #1
Published by Forge, Forge Books, Tor on July 9, 2013
Genres: Adult, Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

When Philadelphia narcotics detective Doyle Carrick loses his mother and step-father within weeks of each other, he gains a twenty-day suspension for unprofessional behavior and instructions to lay low at the unfamiliar house he’s inherited in rural Pennsylvania.

Feeling restless and out of place, Doyle is surprised to find himself falling for his new neighbor, Nola Watkins, who’s under pressure to sell her organic farm to a large and mysterious development company. He’s more surprised to see high-powered drug dealers driving the small-town roads—dealers his bosses don’t want to hear about.

But when the drug bust Doyle’s been pushing for goes bad and the threats against Nola turn violent, Doyle begins to discover that what’s growing in the farmland around Philadelphia is much deadlier than anything he could have imagined . . .

Quick, clever, and terrifying, Jon McGoran’s Drift is a commercial thriller in the tradition of Nelson DeMille’s Plum Island.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

My Thoughts:

Doyle Carrick gets a phone call from his step-father while running surveillance on his partner and a lower level drug dealer. The news isn’t good–his mother has succumbed to her cancer much faster than the doctors thought she would, and he needs to come home. Doyle’s reaction to this bombshell isn’t exactly what his bosses call “healthy” after Doyle punches out his partner and roughs up the dealer, so he’s suspended for 18 days and ordered to get some anger management counselling. But between his mother’s funeral and the final ruling on his job status, Doyle gets more devastating news. His stepfather has died too.

So Doyle goes to the small town where his parents lived, determined to take care of their estate and ride out his weeks of suspension in peace, booze, and boredom. But he isn’t capable of shutting off his cop mind, and shortly after arriving he notices that some of the residents of this small town look familiar and out of place here. It seems the area has a bit of a drug problem–heroin to be exact–and Doyle starts to call in his suspicions to his colleagues back in Philadelphia as well as at DEA and Homeland Security. Any good cop should know that if he’s recognizing the bad guys, then surely the criminals are recognizing him too…

The houses, farms, and land around Doyle’s parents’ house has been bought up by a corporation that quickly sells it off to different housing developers. But the pretty organic farmer across the road, Nola, has refused to sell her farm, and is receiving threats to sell or else. Doyle offers to get to the bottom of these threatening phone calls, all while a tainted blue corn crop of Nola’s leads them to local professors and talks of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and the consequences of their use.


Bottom Line:

Drift is a fast paced thriller full of altered crops, drugs, guns, bad guys, danger, and a hero that isn’t afraid to break the law to get to the bottom of things. Doyle is motivated by his need for justice and an even greater need to be in motion, and these things make for a book that runs at break-neck speed until the end. Well written with a great voice in Doyle’s first person, the science behind GMOs and multiple chemical sensitivity (which I suffer from like Nola does) is spot on but not overly technical, so it doesn’t distract from the narrative.

What felt a bit out of place in this book was the burgeoning romance between Doyle and organic farmer neighbor Nola. Their relationship felt forced and developed too quickly, and I think that Doyle is enough of a good guy that he didn’t need any more of a reason to help Nola out than his need to get to the  bottom of the seedy underbelly that’s pervasive in what should be an idyllic small town. Also, while the connections that Doyle had formed as a narcotics officer are entirely realistic, some of the things he does in the book would land him in jail–if the bad guys didn’t get to him first.

Jon McGoran is certainly very knowledgeable about GMOs and the science that backs it up. But this book isn’t very preachy about the subject, and the main character Doyle actually tunes a good chunk of the GMO talk out. There’s a great interview with Jon McGoran over on Chuck Wendig’s blog where he talks more about his food background and Drift. I’m especially excited to see that there will be a sequel to this book. I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Doyle will find himself in next…

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for asking me to be on this tour.tlcHeather_signature


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I'm a PhD chemist who loves sarcasm, music, and books-paranormal, mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and romance. Most of my free time is spent at the martial arts studio these days--whether practicing Combat Hapkido or reading books while watching my son's Taekwondo classes, or even working up a sweat with Kickboxing for fun. Goodreads

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12 Responses to “Drift by Jon McGoran”

  1. I have to say, GMOs freak me out. What have we done to our bodies, ingesting them? *shudder* That alone makes this a creepy book to me (even though they’re not preachy or anything, which is good because even when I’m against something, I don’t want someone to preach at me!).
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    Heather 8/1/2013

    The author does a great job about not being preachy with this book, especially since the main character is a cop who knows nothing about GMOs so he doesn’t get much of it. GMOs are another layer of messed up that I’m already doing to my body by being around ether, methanol, and chloroform through my job as a chemist. Definitely don’t need to add that in…
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  2. Although I don’t get the chance to read as many adult thrillers, I must admit the premise for Drift sounds so fascinating, and not far off. Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are not some fictional element, but here now. Really interesting subject matter for a thriller/crime. Thanks for the great review. 🙂
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    Heather 8/1/2013

    I read a lot of adult thrillers (it’s my thing on this blog, lol), and this is one of the better ones of read lately. Add in a tough cop and a timely subject matter of drugs and GMOs and it made for one exciting book.
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  3. I always find myself respecting an author who does their research – I’m so glad the GMOs in this one are fleshed out well. And though I don’t really read adult fiction, I have to say this book has me intrigued – just like its cover!
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    Heather 8/1/2013

    Drift is definitely well researched and fleshed out without being overbearing. This is an adult fiction book that is a great read, even if you’re not used to reading those types of books.
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  4. I tend to enjoy this kind of science-based thriller, and this comment ” I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble Doyle will find himself in next…” definitely has me excited!

    Thanks for being on the tour.
    Heather J @ TLC Book Tours recently posted..To find me …My Profile

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    Heather 8/1/2013

    Since I’m a chemist, I always like to read something every now and then that has some science in it. And I’m always glad when the author gets it right like Jon McGoran did in Drift. I really can’t wait to see what kind of shenanigans happen in book two, because Doyle seriously should have been dead several times…LOL.
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  5. I have this one and it came highly recommended – I’m even more pumped to read it after hearing you enjoyed it too!
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    Heather 8/1/2013

    I hope you enjoy reading Drift. I really liked it. The science was sound, which is important since I’m a chemist and nothing spoils a book for me than bad science. Get ready for a very fast paced book.
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