Read A Single Shot by Matthew F. Jones Daniel Woodrell Online


After the loss of his family farm, John Moon is a desperate man. A master hunter, his ability to poach game in-season or out is the only thing that stands between him and the soup kitchen line. Until Moon trespasses on the wrong land, hears a rustle in the brush, and fires a single fateful shot. Following the bloody trail, he comes upon a shocking scene: an illegal, deep wAfter the loss of his family farm, John Moon is a desperate man. A master hunter, his ability to poach game in-season or out is the only thing that stands between him and the soup kitchen line. Until Moon trespasses on the wrong land, hears a rustle in the brush, and fires a single fateful shot. Following the bloody trail, he comes upon a shocking scene: an illegal, deep woods campground filled with drugs, bundles of cash and the body of a dead young woman, killed by Moon's stray bullet. Faced with an ultimate dilemma, Moon has to make a choice: does he take the money and ignore his responsibility for the girl's death? Or confess? But before he has a chance to decide, Moon finds himself on the run, pursued by those who think the money is theirs. Men who don't care about right and wrong and who want only one thing from John Moon: his body, face down in a ditch. Matthew F. Jones' A Single Shot is a rare, visionary thriller reminiscent of the work of Tom Franklin, Ron Rash, Daniel Woodrell, and Cormac McCarthy....

Title : A Single Shot
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316196703
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 272 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Single Shot Reviews

  • karen
    2020-01-08 04:19

    i was fooled. i opened the book, as you do, and i started a time when reliable standards of personal conduct have allegedly eroded and, no longer anchored by religious convictions or cultural cohesion, have diminished to irresolute situational postures and secular mumbles, an older, less elastic code of honor may seem vastly appealing, even heroic. to avert the confusions attendant on choice, such codes are simplified, starkly so, but clearly: do that to me, you can rely on me to do this to you. do that to my kin, watch for smoke from your garage. say that to my wife, and this is the bog where your worried relatives will find you facedown and at peace foreverand i was like - "ooh, it's going to be this kind of narrator - wonderful." i like the twisty-wordy backwoods narrator with vengeance in his heart. and it wasn't until i turned the page that i realized "of course i like this "narrator". this is daniel woodrell, and i am reading the introduction." fool. books, please label your introductions as such, because some of us will forget there is supposed to be an introduction and will read "six angles of wrath" as a chapter title and that will throw off our whole day, because this is not a similar voice to the narrator, and it is jarring to dummies like me to have to re-acclimate.however - this book is fantastic. it came into the store before i got there one day, and greg set it aside because it had an introduction by daniel woodrell (yeah- i know - i just forgot, okay?? jeez), and was compared on the back to tom franklin, cormac mccarthy, and ron rash, who are three of my favorites (why can't castle freeman jr ever get any recognition??) but, yeah - it is exactly my kind of book. in his dizzyingly flattering introduction, woodrell compares jones to jim thompson, and if this book is any indication, this is a more perfect comparison than the others. this protagonist is a little scary. but not in the way you would expect from reading the plot: a poacher goes buck hunting in the woods and accidentally kills a young girl. he also finds a sackful of money. so he covers up the crime and takes the money (take notes here, greg). but you find a sackful of money, eventually the owners of that money are going to track you down, right? right. so that's the plot, if you also throw in a wife and son who have left, a neighbor and his very confident teenage daughter, a physically damaged lawyer, some sexually uninhibited ladies, assorted thugs, a one-eyed ex-stripper, and a dog. and that's all well and good - those are the elements that make up any good woods-noir. but, oh john moon. he is such a dappled man. overall i think he means well, but there were so many times, because of this goodness that was in him, that i wanted to scream "why are you doing that??? this is a mistake!!" and the man seems to have no normal sense of fear, or apprehension or... precaution. so many things happen that should cause a normal man to pause and reflect and perhaps adjust his course, but not john moon, he takes it all in stride, and keeps on living, just doing what he does, despite the very scary things that are happening to him by the very bad men. that absence of fear in the face of threat makes for a scarier, darker man than the bad guys doing the terrorizing. you have no idea what a man like that is capable of, do you? ooooh, it's good stuff. terrible all-around decisions, but good stuff. of his other books, only boot tracks, on europa, is still in print, but i am going to read that next week, and see about getting the other four from my book-connect.while i am doing that - read this book, you fans of the appalachia-noir. it is at the top of its genre.

  • Annet
    2020-01-26 07:05

    This is a raw, dark book, beautifully written, lots of wilderness scenes vividly described, featuring John Moon, main person in the book, a guy I felt sorry for because he seems to be trying to do good but ends up with bad choices and a miserable life time and time again,also featuring the bad guys, the pityful drinking and unhelpful lawyer, the ex wife whom he misses but who does not want to get back together, the partying but ultimately sad friend, the whole scene is pretty grim. I'm a fan of Cormac McCarthy, that was what drew me to this book in a bookstore in San Francisco. John, a relatively poor guy, whose family used to have a large farm and lands until his father lost it all and John ends up helping out on his former lands now owned by someone else and living out of a trailer, unhappily separated from his wife and kid. A known and rather good poacher, the book starts with John accidentally shooting a girl in the woods, mistakes her for deer, and finds a big load of money on location. Next is (and that's what this book is all about)... what to do? Fear, guilt, panic, running, trying to think what to do, it's all there and it acclimatises into more and more bad scenes. A great imaginative read, beautiful decriptions of the wilderness, where John feels at home and where he escapes to all the time. The ending is in sink with the rest of the book. Very well written. I'm very interested to read more from this author, hopefully soon. And... with this book, I've reached my reading challenge of 2011, just before the end of the year. don't think I've read this much books (for me at least) for many years! What a great place this is...

  • Lou
    2020-01-06 08:07

    The story starts off with a bang literally! A man in the wilderness stalking his prey and it’s not even hunting season! Somethings not right. Visceral and fully loaded with tension, hooks you in and does not let go.With a dead girl, missing money and more dead to come in the balance the author takes you through seven days of hell with the main protagonist John Moon as the leading role. Fate will play it’s role. Edge of your seat page-turning with some wonderful writing. I can’t find fault in this thrill read. John is not quite 100% all there, i seem to understand from the story that he is having some psychological problems. He at one point cooks rattlesnake strip steak, yes that’s right rattlesnake that’s new to me as a meal.A good man at the core faced with a guilt that would not leave him. The protagonist finds himself in possession of quite alot of money and someone wants it, that money brings hope to the protagonists life of winning back his wife, who he is obsessed with. She does not want to be part of his life anymore and with a young child in the balance he just does not want to let go.Written in the vein of Jim Thompson and recently a novel i loved, with a similar pace and brutality, book:The Devil All the Time|10108463].Within these pages you will find examples of the most brutal and grittiest sentences. The author does not waste any page as it is a gripping read from beginning to the end. Must warn you that there are a few passages of sexual explicit content.“His small, simple world has turned ambiguously sinister. Heads have two faces, one visible, one not. Words, though spoken in proper linguistic form, don’t mean what they ought to. From one moment to the next, nothing in this upside-down world is static. Even voices dichotomise, their bifurcating sounds clouding his thoughts, sending his mind reeling first down one oath, then down another. Who can be trusted in this world? Humanity itself- the whole great mass- is mutable. John feels Ill equipped to deal with it.”

  • Tfitoby
    2020-01-19 07:07

    A book that is praised to the hilt by Daniel Woodrell in the foreword, compared to Jim Thompson, Cormac McCarthy, Tom Franklin and Ron Rash amongst others by multiple reviewers and yet failed to touch me in any way other than hoping it would soon be over.The protagonist is this guy who feels like the life he was due to have has been taken away from him by the bank, his fathers death and his wife who got sick of him and took their kid with her. He accidentally kills a young girl and spends the next week trying to live with the repercussions which involve many a criminal element and his own tortured soul.I expected some of the poetry and beauty of those authors mentioned in reviews but instead I got the mileau, the attitude and none of the insight. The storytelling seemed to consist of a lot of descriptions of the actions of the protagonist and not much more. Other people loved it though so....In my edition are some wonderful book group questions, I shall share some with you: Who is most culpable, who is least culpable? Do you agree this was nobody's fault? Do you sympathise with the husband or the wife in the divorce mentioned in the text? Did the ending surprise you? Who goes to book groups anyway, with questions like these I'd be bored out of my mind.There was also an interview with the author, yawn, in which he says he only started reading Daniel Woodrell because he gave him a good review in a newspaper and mentions Affliction (among others) as one of his favourite books, this is only of interest because as I was reading A Single Shot I thought how it was a poor man's Affliction but caused me to suffer the same general lack of interest. Do we really care about an angry man who feels disconnected from the world and blames everybody but himself? Now that's a good book group question.

  • RandomAnthony
    2020-01-18 04:12

    Whoo, A Single Shot is good. I'm not one to grip a book's edge and think, "holy fuck, what's gonna happen?" but the Mr. Jones's sparse, intense storytelling raised my heart rate better than a treadmill and Red Bull. The novel's narrator speaks sometimes with stunned, sickening regret. A vile, teeth-clenching momentum emerges that stretches the reader's expectations of what's supposed to happen in a novel. The narrator's not a good guy because good guys don't do what he does. But he's not entirely a bad guy, either. Or maybe I'm too easy on him and the fucker should have been locked up before A Single Shot started. I don't know. You aim a bullet at what you think is a deer, I suppose, and you take your chances. The novel's carefully disordered progression reads more like a novella and I'd recommended swallowing A Single Shot in a couple sessions. I guess Woodrell wrote an introduction for an edition, although my library didn't have that edition. I'm not not surprised Woodrell would admire A Single Shot; Tomato Red is a close cousin. I don't like the people in A Single Shot. They scare me. And books don't normally scare me. This novel made me feel like a big wuss because I wouldn't last twenty minutes in the woods with these characters. But I loved A Single Shot anyway. It's an exploration into the borderline between civizilation and whatever part of us is related to reptiles. Stay on this side of the line, please.

  • Skip
    2020-01-17 05:18

    A dark book that follows the plight of the unfortunate, impoverished hunter John Moon. Reeling from his divorce from his ancestral home and estrangement from his wife and young son, he wounds a buck and tracks it into a canyon to finish it off, accidentally shooting a runaway girl, who has a major stash of cash. Panicked, Moon hides the body and takes the cash. The girl's sadistic boy friend has other ideas, playing a cat and mouse game with John for a week in a backwoods town. Gritty, but author Thompson does an excellent job making the readers empathize with all of John's bad decisions.

  • Alan
    2020-01-06 07:20

    a thriller with great pace, set within a single week, following the increasingly complicated and strange actions of a man who accidentally kills a woman while out poaching deer, finds money and decides to hide the body (not a spoiler, in the blurb). It's v. good at smells, smell of death and decay mostly, of wounds and vomit and urine and 'various manures and molasses' and contrasting with those of life. It's haunted all the while by the woman he shot as he imagines what her life was like. Hallucination, dream, paranoia, a spiritual or 'other' element too all play their part in wrapping the reader deep into it. It's a very macho world, farming, hunting, butchering, whoring, drinking and worrying. Little lights of life - women mainly - shine through. Best read rapidly.

  • Miles
    2020-01-01 08:15

    Anyone's life can change in an instant. In Matthew F. Jones's acclaimed novel, one man's world is overturned with a single shot.Trespassing on what was once his family's land, John Moon hears a rustle in the brush and fires. But instead of the deer he was expecting, he finds the body of a young woman, killed by his stray bullet. A terrible dilemma is made worse when he stumbles upon her campground - and the piles of drugs and money concealed there.Moon makes his choice: he hides the corpse, and takes the cash. His decision will have consequences he can neither predict or control.Originally published in 1996, A Single Shot by Matthew F Jones is proof, if ever it was required, that Mulholland Books are on the right track. Still in its infancy the publisher - part of the Hodder & Stoughton stable in the UK - continues its fine publication record with another intriguing and dark title.Billed as a classic Noire novel, A Single Shot is one of those titles you find yourself asking one simple question throughout – “what would I do”. Set over a period of one week the premise for A Single Shot is simple; a man named John Moon is out hunting – illegally I may add - and finding a deer in his sights releases the safety on his shotgun and takes his shot. He wounds the animal and as he approaches his kill discovers the deer has escaped leaving a bloodied trail and so begins a week of decisions that will in one way or another have a lasting effect on a number of people. Moon decides to track the deer rather than leave it to die an agonising death – quite a noble decision – but this is about as far as noble and clear thinking goes.Moon finally tracks the wounded animal and spots movement in the brush. A mass of brown and white makes a sudden movement and with the safety catch off he takes his shot. The mass immediately falls to the ground but is hidden by the dense foliage. Lowering his gun he hears movement behind him and as he turns the wounded deer attacks. So what happened? Who or what did he shoot?Full review on my blog here

  • Asheley
    2020-01-07 06:51

    A Single Shot is by far one of the best books I've read in a very long time. It is a fast-paced and gritty and everything noir fiction should be. Split into seven chapters corresponding to the seven days of the week, readers get an accurate idea of exactly how one man breaks down after making a split-second mistake and how no matter what he does, nothing helps him make up for it.John Moon's wife is gone, and she took his son. He is without work, has no money, and lives alone in a little trailer deep in the mountains. One day Moon decides to go poaching for food. He shoots and kills a young girl when he mistakes her for a deer. In searching her campsite, he finds a very large sum of money hidden among her things. Stricken with guilt, he hides the body and takes the money as he tries to figure out what to do. Soon Moon realizes that someone knows what he did and will stop at nothing to take the money from him. The events that happen over the week following the shooting are unbelievable and harrowing but kept me on the edge of my seat.I love the way protagonist's character is written. John Moon has a dialogue that is backwoodsy, but despite the way he sounds, he has a lot of intelligence and smarts on the inside. He very clearly loves his wife and son. I feel sorry for him in that I wanted him to get up and make his life better so he could get his family back: clean up, get a job, that sort of thing. But Moon made a poor decision that led to a split-second mistake that cannot be undone. The more Moon tries to think his way out of his problem, the more it consumes him. He eventually almost loses touch with reality even to the point that he carries on conversations with his victim.The supporting cast of secondary characters is a mixed and interesting bunch, and I enjoyed them so much. They are written well and seem so true-to-life. If I had any wish to make about this book, I would wish to know a little bit more about some of them. For example, the villains are really, really bad--almost scary--so I think it would be a little more interesting to throw in a little more of their back story.And...nature itself is quite a character in the story. Much of the action takes place outdoors, and the author seems to have penned the setting with ease. I was able to create the scene in my mind, perfectly I think, even hearing the sounds of the forest and smelling the trees and brush. As a reader I can appreciate this so much, given the subject of this story, because at certain times the setting, with its serenity and isolation and beauty, was what gave the story some beauty.All-in-all, this book is not like most of the books that I read. It's a wonderfully written and artful noir fiction piece that is a bit hardboiled at times. The constant and blaring grit and rawness reminds me of the movie Deliverance. If you are a reader that has a weak stomach or is easily offended, this is not the book for you. If you are a reader who prefers romance novels and paranormal fantasies, you might want to pass this one up. However, if you are in the mood for something a little bit different and you don't mind some violence, I suggest giving this book a try. If you are a man and you want to read a man's book, here's my suggestion. If you are asking me for one of my favorite books of 2011, pick up A Single Shot. But be ready, it is a gripping page-turner for sure. It is brilliant.

  • John Quirk
    2020-01-01 08:59

    Sometimes you know that whatever you write when reviewing a book isn't going to get anywhere near to doing it justice. And that applies equally to books you love more than, well, maybe not your children, but pretty close, and books that are so bad you'd happily take a scalpel to your brain to erase them from your memory. So I write these words in that knowledge.I'd not heard of Jones prior to cracking the spine of A Single Shot, although it turns out I was aware of his work, having wanted to watch the movie Deepwater for several years, not realising he wrote the novel upon which it is based.It's a thing of wonder, discovering an author who writes this beautifully for the first time, more so when you realise there's a skutch of books on his backlist for you to read.A Single Shot tells the story of a week in the life of John Moon, a lonely, awkward man who's lost his family farm, his wife and child and now earns a crust laying driveways and spending his spare time hunting on the forested mountain where he lives. Out stalking a deer one day, he hears a rustle in the bushes and shoots, a single shot. Instead of a deer, the bullet takes the life of a young woman. Panicking, Moon checks the area - she was holed up in a quarry, and he finds her campground, a stash of drugs and many thousands of dollars in cash.Moon has a choice - and decides to bury the body and take the cash. He thinks there's nothing to link him to the corpse, and if he possessed a more astute brain, he might be right. But Moon is a simple man, who doesn't always think through his actions. The consequences of those actions bring those who own the drugs and the money after him and soon the hunter is the hunted, having to draw on his survival skills to stay alive. The small backwater town, the forested mountain, the one man trying to stay one step ahead of his pursuers; this has a feel of First Blood mixed with Deliverance, as the net is drawn tighter around Moon.This is a book about choices, and, as a reader, you can't help but make your own decision as to what you'd have done in a similar situation, not you as you live your life now, but if you were in Moon's shoes, experiencing the shitty life he is. Despite his faults, Moon is an intensely proud man, a man of honour driven to desperate measures by the hand of fate and the dark deeds of those around him.Jones doesn't waste many words, if any. It's a short book, 240 pages, but it packs one hell of a punch. It gets under your skin; the supporting characters, the town, the mountain itself, but none more so than Moon himself, a superb study of a man who has lost almost everything, but is damned if the bastards are going to take what little he has left.A fine, fine read. It comes as no surprise that the movie is being filmed - but director David Rosenthal and stars Sam Rockwell (Moon), William H Macy and Forest Whitaker have their work cut out to come anywhere close.

  • Jenn Ravey
    2020-01-04 04:58

    John Moon is a dude with bad luck. His dad lost the farm before his time. His wife left with his kid. And while he's out poaching on someone else's land tracking a wounded deer, he shoots something rustling in the bushes: a girl, a young one. And it seems she wasn't alone. John finds tens of thousands of dollars in cash wadded next to a sleeping bag, a teddy bear, and a photograph. As John frantically tries to undo the damage of that one shot, he realizes the girl's companion won't stop until he hunts down John..and the money.A Single Shot has such a simple premise: down-on-his-luck guy makes a bad mistake, finds money, goes on the run... Except John Moon doesn't run. He stays right where he is, in his trailer in the mountains. Why? Because it's his land, and a man doesn't leave his land, even if it technically isn't his anymore. And as the town becomes more and more claustrophobic and the evidence of his mistake mounts, John is in terrible danger.This book scared the crap out of me. I mean, you guys know I'm a scaredy cat already, but this book was petrifying because I live near backwoods towns like this one, and every brutality, every threat of violence is so real.With books like Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which scared me like crazy), you know there are sickos out there like that, but it seems a little...outlandish. A Single Shot? There's probably dudes like this all over the place. They've probably sat in my classroom. Backwoods guys - they know how to work a hunting knife. Need I say more? This book had my palms sweating and raised my heartbeat, too. It just doesn't stop. It's graphic and dirty, and I felt like I needed a shower for much of it, but I also couldn't help but root for John.In his own way, he tries to make good out of the bad. At times, Jones seemed to be making him out as a smart guy (or smarter than he's given credit for), and he's not that. I mean, he doesn't go to the cops about the girl. He doesn't leave the money. He doesn't warn his ex-wife to take the baby and run. I think, more than anything, though, it's because of his guilt. It stymies him, and he absolutely has no idea how to get out of it. So you sit, and you watch it play out, and when it ends, it's not redemptive. But Jones doesn't insult your intelligence as a reader. The book ends the way it should because the bad guys are bad guys. The good guys, well, they aren't so good. And no one has an out.Read this: if you like Cormac McCarthy. Or stories of guilt. Or thrillers.

  • Jade Eby
    2020-01-27 10:00

    Originally published at my blog Chasing Empty PavementsThis book is quite possibly the most surprising thing I’ve read in a while. I have to admit that since I’ve been doing a lot more review reading (meaning, reading books that I’ve agreed to read and review rather than books that just seem interesting to me), I’ve been pleasantly surprised quite a few times. I put off reading this novel because honestly, I wasn’t sure it was my type of book. I am SO glad I decided to read it. It’s taken me a few days to write this review as this book did something to my brain. This is NOT a happy book. Not by any means. But it’s almost the type of book that NEEDS to written and to be read. The Good: From the introduction (which was written by Dan Woodrell by the way, amazing introduction) to the very end of the novel, the writing was superb. I gobbled this gem up in about a day and a half and I couldn’t peel my eyes away from the text. Very early on, we get the sense that the main character, John is screwed. I never had a doubt that poor John was getting the shaft in this novel. His one mistake (the title aptly referring to that mistake) leads him on a wild-goose chase that just perpetuates a multitude of other mistakes. I honestly felt bad for John. Even though I’m not from the “backwoods” or “hillbilly” country, I have relatives that live somewhat similarly as the characters in this novel. Maybe that is why I felt like I knew John or at least knew him as a type of man. I’ve seen his type of man so many times. This made the novel more interesting because I felt I had a stake in what happened to John and what he was doing, saying and experiencing. The author did an exceptional job of peppering the novel with a certain redneck slang/dialect. It was perfect, not too much, not too over the top but just enough to know that’s EXACTLY the type of people talking. I enjoy when an author can pull this off, dialect is HARD to master but it was done exceptionally well. The author also managed to pull off a lot of internalizing and internal dialogue. Mostly, I’m not a huge fan of this in novels, but it was so masterfully done that I hardly noticed until the end that a huge chunk of the novel is actually John responding to things, thinking about things etc. The thing about this novel is that nothing really good ever happens. Maybe for some people that would deter them from reading this novel, but not me. You just know from the beginning that this novel isn’t one of those happy/hopeful novels. It’s just not. It speaks to the melancholy part of the soul. It tells the story of a good person who gets the raw end of the deal in life and is never able to escape that life. The thing is, no matter how many times someone tells you that good things will happen to good people, what they don’t tell you is that bad things happen to good people too. No one wants to talk about it but that is ultimately what this book is about. The bad things that happen to a good person and set in motion a string of events that furthers this notion. I’m sure there are about a hundred other things I could say about this novel but I’ve been rambling enough. Just go read it! You won’t be sorry.The Bad: Nothing!I give this novel an A! I highly recommend this novel for those who do not shy away from heavy thinking novels or novels that don’t have a happy theme attached to it. If anything, read this book for the beautiful writing!**I received this book free from the publisher through I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  • Robert
    2020-01-06 05:18

    I had absolutely no expectations going into this novel, but wow did it blow my mind. Following a tumultuous week in the life of John Moon, the book zig-zags in ways you truly won't see coming--it may seem to start off as a run-of-the-mill rural crime thriller, but it quickly takes a detour (then another two or three) and ends up being an utterly fascinating study of morals, family and consequences.Recommend recommend recommend.

  • Brian Tucker
    2020-01-27 09:56

    This guy packs a wallop of a punch. It landed square in my gut and I'm still wondering if I'll get my air back. This is a book that actually reads like a first-rate action movie. Tight, suspenseful with just enough description thrown in to keep you informed. Rough but somehow still appealing.

  • John steppling
    2020-01-12 06:16

    Jones is part of a new rural-noir pulp movement. (like Daniel Woodrell, who wrote the forward and authored Winter's Bone). He is a slightly hallucinatory relentlessly dark crime writer who elevates the genre to something more.

  • Paul
    2019-12-31 04:01

    “He envisions the world as a populous plain interwoven by a network of tiny creases in which man's evil little secrets hide. He imagines the worst retribution as a self-inflicted paralysis. He thinks of the physical aspects of being incarcerated-prodding hands & clubs, restraining iron bars, the close smell of so many people, even sunlight rationed like a scarce commodity. He finds himself shivering. Tears mix with the sweat exiting his body.” John Moon lives in a trailer, on an acre and a half bequeathed to him by his mother. This property borders the 300+ acres once owned by his family, but lost when the bank foreclosed, following mismanagement of the property's debt by his father. John's wife has left him, taking their infant son with her & seeking a divorce. John barely ekes out an existence, working menial jobs & shooting game illegally in the state forest. Early one morning John goes hunting. Moon shoots a deer, but doesn't kill it cleanly & sets off in pursuit. Coming to an abandoned quarry, he hears movement in bush behind him, turns & shoots. In so doing John breaks a cardinal rule when hunting; identify your target. Moon is devastated to find he has shot & killed a teenage girl. If he reports her death, he will not only be charged with manslaughter (at the least), but as he is hunting illegally, he may very well go to prison for both. John decides to hide the body in the quarry. He comes across a cave the girl & an unidentified man have been sheltering in. The man is not around so Moon puts the girl's body in the cave. In doing so he finds a cache of money. $100,000!! This money would solve all his problems & maybe win his wife back into his life. Moon's choices following the killing of the girl & taking the money set off a whole range of consequences, not the least Moon's own conscience. The ending is shocking, though perhaps not surprising. Moon is however basically a moral man. He has a conscience. He lives by a code. Killing the girl & taking the money is wrong. Isn't it? Of course it is. But the reader here is asked; What would you do in his place? This is a morality tale. At what point are Moon's morals compromised? In the killing of the girl? Taking the money? Shooting deer illegally?This is an engrossing example of Country Noir, reminiscent of Daniell Woodrell, Larry Brown & Joe R. Lansdale. I was also reminded, whilst reading this, of 'A Simple Plan' by Scott B. Smith. Similar scenario.Highly recommended. An easy 4 out of 5 stars from this reader.

  • Michelle
    2020-01-09 05:56

    A Single Shot is a novel that is deceptively simple and beautiful in its pathos. Matthew F. Jones forces the reader to imagine John Moon's guilt-laden sufferings while highlighting his fear-driven actions and reactions to events. Because of this, however, the reader is torn between sympathy and repugnance over John's actions after the accident. While the reader understands that John is just trying to gain back some semblance of a normal life, his actions are questionable. Would the end results be different had he made different, and better, choices? The answer is for the reader to decide.Mr. Jones' writing is as understatedly complex as the plot. Each phrase chosen only scratches the surface of the emotional upheaval Moon is experiencing. The full depth of John's suffering is left to the reader's imaginings. Countering this is the detailed, almost sensuous, descriptions of the woods and hills where John is happiest. The result is a novel that is evocatively rich in imagery and passion but still leaves plenty for the reader to imagine for oneself.Garnering comparisons to Crime and Punishment or even The Tell-Tale Heart, A Single Shot is a psychological thriller of the best kind. John Moon is proof that the guilty conscience is a powerful weapon indeed. While John's cautionary tale may be a bit extreme, it does highlight just how much a person's life can change in one single instant.Acknowledgements: Thank you to NetGalley and Wes Miller of Mulholland Books for my e-galley!

  • Allan
    2020-01-20 12:11

    Noir horror at it’s creepy best. [return][return]Written by Matthew F. Jones in 1996 and now reprinted by Mulholland Books, this classic of the genre travels in Jim Thompson and Cormac McCarthy territory with lyric confidence that can jump from pastoral, if claustrophobic, descriptions of place and time to the rotting decadence that most of his human characters carry into the scene.[return][return]John Moon is a down-on-his-luck farmer whose wife and child have left and whose land has been sold out from under him, leaving him perpetually drunk and melancholy in a trailer home on his last little half-acre.[return][return]Poaching for deer, he has trailed the wounded animal to a clearing deep in the woods where, reacting to a rustling in the brush, he has accidentally killed a young woman. He finds a stash of tens of thousands of dollars in her camp and takes it.[return][return]His guilt over the killing is overwhelming and so is his stupidity. Basically he is a morally pure soul who has fallen into a well of muck. His theft brings a couple of evil sadistic killers down on him and the tension created by Jones in the cat and mouse game that is played out to the end of the book is intense.[return][return]The evil is manifest, the sex is gritty and the tension is non-stop. A classic of it’s kind.

  • Jennifer Collins
    2020-01-19 04:11

    If, somehow, Quentin Tarantino and Dostoevsky were to combine their efforts and write a piece of southern fiction...this might just be the result. A well-paced and disturbing read, this novel follows in the footsteps of the darker southern and Appalachian works by Flannery O'Connor, Cormac McCarthy, and Ron Rash among others. Jones' main character, John Moon, is as believable as he is heartbreaking and frightening, and the narrative itself is nearly a carnival of grotesqueries. In the end, the tale's simplicity makes it all the more disturbing, and People Magazine's note that the book is part Crime and Punishment, and part Deliverance, is as on-target as any blurb I've ever seen. This is a fast and dark novel, and well worth the read.On the other hand, readers be aware: much as you'll think it can't keep getting darker, and much as you might think that Woodrell's foreword exaggerates the disturbing nature of so much that's will keep getting darker, and you will keep being surprised.Wonderfully wonderfully dark, and one of the few non-supernatural fictions that I still might be tempted to describe as fitting into the horror genre.

  • Philip Alexander
    2020-01-11 03:52

    A Single Shot is a powerful, backwoods story that clips along and allows the reader to ponder and ask the proverbial, 'What would I do in that situation?' The book has received very mixed reviews, which is fine, fiction is a subjective thing. However, those dismissing A Single Shot as a story that simply rides the coat tails of works by the great Larry Brown, William Gay or Daniel Woodrell (who, incidentally gave a glowing review for the reprint of this novel) might want to have a second read. The plot is simple and fairly linear, and yes, we have all read stories where one pull of a trigger sends life into a tailspin. Where Jones differentiates, and succeeds admirably is in his thoughtful and clever portrayal of the protagonist's (John Moon) unraveling and near obsessive thoughts about how to undo the tragedy that he caused in a split second. Jones deftly handles Moon's guilt, fear and his self-doubt, and sense of impending doom, while keeping the story fluid and in full colour. A great book that gives a different treatment, shines a different light, on the country noir.

  • Brian Hoffmeister
    2020-01-06 03:50

    A backwoods crime thriller in the vein of Scott Smith or Tom Franklin, or, "What not to do if you accidentally shot someone," this novel was nigh impossible to put down. The main character, during a hunting accident, kills an innocent bystander and finds a sack of money, setting an irreversible sequence of events into motion. It was interesting the change the main character made in my mind. He began the story on such a low note, doing this stupid thing and then seeming to make every possible bad decision a person could make. He then tries to help his family and slowly Jones changes the way you feel about this person, who wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed but is trying to do the write thing. The eloquent way the character's thought process was illustrated while his mental state deteriorated, the way he tried to help those around him despite the fact that he was spiraling out of control, filled me with sympathy. I will definitely be checking out more of Matthew F Jones in the future.

  • Andy
    2020-01-05 08:01

    I had never heard of the book or author until a recent review on Boing Boing piqued my interest. I'm glad I picked it up. The story is deceptively simple - a fateful mistake, a bag of money a moral dilemma, the fall out. The execution though is masterful. The evocative, natural and sparse language. The depiction of small town rural mountain life which brings the environment to vivid life (definitely a book in which I had strong visual imagery throughout as I read). The violence of everyday life and the horror of man. John Moon is a brilliant creation, confused, uncertain, far out of his comfort zone, tragic and compelling. He feels real. It's not the kind of thing I often read but this is far above the standard thriller. Reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy and well worth reading. I may have to consider some of his other books. This edition has an author interview, an intro from Daniel Woodrell and some back club notes.

  • RodNorman
    2020-01-03 06:02

    As soon as I finished A Single Shot, I immediately sought out his other titles. This writer is a diamond in the rough, and I can't believe it took me this long to discover him. I also advise you to pick up the film Deep Water based on a novel of the same name by Jones. I'm sure the book is much better but the film gives you some insight into Jones' abstract thinking. Jones has a background as a criminal attorney & has knowledge of rural life that lends credibility to his voice. I can't wait to read Jones entire back list. Pick up "A Single Shot" from 1996, it's gritty tale that will have you contantly asking yourself what would I do if I were in his shoes. The best part is that Jones doesn't sell out in the end for that fairy tale ending. Highly reccommended !!

  • Kurt Reichenbaugh
    2020-01-12 07:04

    I liked the beginning, and the ending. It's the stuff in between I'm on the fence about. I don't want to give any plot points away for others who haven't read it, but there were times I didn't believe that the actions of some of the characters were credible. At the same time, there are some well done scenes that did work nicely for a dark story like this one.

  • Tuck
    2019-12-31 04:54

    very nice rural noir set in upstate new york? (very well could have been upstate oklahoma for all the heavy accents and depressed farming economies). things start to go really bad when john moon, out poaching deer in JUNE!, accidentally kills a rattlesnake and a woman while also getting his buck. he gets what he is looking for in the end though.

  • Steven Gilbert
    2020-01-24 09:19

    Fabulous book, great language, entertaining plot, strong characters and a wonderfully awful story line. Loved the vidid, honest descriptions of everything from killing a deer to unrequited love to wild voyeuristic sex. All takes place in seven days, but feels like you've known these folks for a lifetime.

  • Suzanne
    2019-12-29 06:00

    This was one of the best Gothic Southern Books Ever. Poor guy, just keeps getting deeper in the mess. The writing was lean, not a page, not a word was wasted turning this twist of fate. May all my books this year, be this damned good.

  • LeAnne
    2020-01-18 11:15

    For some reason, I had this on a list of Daniel Woodrell's work, but on going back to the description and my bookshelves, I see the author was Matthew Jones. I'd forgotten all about reading this one a couple decades back, and now want to see what else he has written.

  • Paul
    2019-12-31 10:11

    Soon to be a major motion picture.

  • Irmak Ertuna-howison
    2020-01-17 09:55

    that world without redemption flannery o'connor creates in 'a good man is hard to find' is brought to life in this country noir. it is a thrilling, inspiring masterpiece.