"Some people dream about going to their high-school reunion in their underwear. Dave Barlow goes to his and finds himself worse than naked--unrecognized. A lovely, twisty thriller that moves like a roller coaster--ratcheting up the suspense, then plunging into crisis, or doing a swift loop-the-loop through the flashbacks of PTSD before the climb starts again." -- Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of Outlander
"Stith...successfully expands his horizons with this unsettling Hitchcockian thriller.... Judicious use of humor provides some relief from the dark plot line. Fans of Daniel Palmer-esque intelligent suspense will be pleased." -- Publishers Weekly
"Pushback is a fast-paced crime novel guaranteed to keep you reading into the night. When financial advisor Dave Barlow finds himself the victim of a hoax, he soon discovers he has everything to lose. Accelerating through enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, Pushback ramps up to a heart-pounding ending that will leave you breathless. Stith, known for his award-winning science fiction, really brings it home in his debut mystery. Bring on the next installment! " -- Chris Goff, author of Red Sky
"...meticulously well-plotted and insightful novel of psychological suspense that plumbs the deepest depths of the human heart and soul." -- Mysterious Book Report
"John Stith long ago showed himself master of the science fiction genre. With Pushback, he proves he's also a terrific mystery novelist. Pushback is dynamite! Stith takes you on a gripping ride of twists and turns while the tension tightens like a noose, right up to the thrilling conclusion. A sympathetic and enterprising hero and a stop-at-nothing villain will make you just as eager as Dave Barlow to figure out who wants to ruin him. And who wants him dead. " -- Barbara Nickless, bestselling author of the Sydney Parnell mystery series
"Top-notch thriller.... I couldn't put the book down." -- Kingdom Books
"John Stith's Pushback is a fast-paced ride that gives new definition to the term 'bad week.' Besieged and belittled by a barrage of attacks, Dave Barlow's brutal trek through purgatory is a taut, tense thriller. Dave Barlow's self-effacing commentary--and John Stith's smooth prose--will have you gobbling up the pages faster than Barlow zooms all over the Pikes Peak region trying to figure out where his life went so terribly, terribly wrong." -- Mark Stevens, author of The Allison Coil Mystery Series
"PUSHBACK is pulsating, action packed, and beautifully paced. One of those books that grips you from the start and forces you to read on until the exhilarating denouement." -- Readers' Favorite
"Ordinary Hijacked by Extraordinary, With Comedy.... what's most captivating about PUSHBACK is that even with people like Dave Barlow--just an average guy doing average things--life can take a shocking turn for the worse. But the book reminds us that, also like Dave, we have the power to turn it right-side up again, with humor at the center of our inner strength." -- The Big Thrill (magazine of International Thriller Writers)
Dave, an investment counselor with PTSD, survives a blowout that kills his fiancée, Allison.
A year later, Dave has found unexpected happiness with Cathy. At Dave's high-school reunion, Dave is stunned that he doesn't recognize anyone there. Cathy, who was previously victimized by a con man, breaks it off. Late that night, Dave gets a text: "How does it feel to be so quickly forgotten?" Apparently, someone close to Allison is angry that he has moved on so "soon."
Dave's PTSD symptoms make him avoid conflict at almost any cost, so he hopes this will pass. It doesn't. The harassment escalates. And now, someone is trying to kill him.
Dave's only choices are to flee or stay and fight. He stays. And before the fight is done, multiple bodies lie in his wake. Someone picked on the wrong guy.
Pushback is a finalist for the 2019 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense in the Mainstream Mystery/Suspense category, a finalist for the Book Excellence Award in thrillers, and a finalist for the Colorado Author's League Award in Mystery.
"Some people dream about going to their high-school reunion in their underwear. Dave Barlow goes to his and finds himself worse than naked—unrecognized. A lovely, twisty thriller that moves like a roller coaster—ratcheting up the suspense, then plunging into crisis, or doing a swift loop-the-loop through the flashbacks of PTSD before the climb starts again."
— Diana Gabaldon, New York Times bestselling author of Outlander
About the Author
John E. Stith is the award-winning author of multiple science-fiction novels such as Manhattan Transfer and Redshift Rendezvous, many with a strong mystery component. Deep Quarry, a private eye novel set on a distant planet, won the Colorado Authors' League Top Hand Award. Death Tolls, set on Mars, won another Top Hand Award. His Nick Naught private eye stories from Analog are collected in All for Naught.
Stith's work includes best sellers, a Nebula Award finalist, a Seiun Award finalist, a La Tour Eiffel Science Fiction Book Prize finalist, HOMer Award winners, and Science Fiction Book Club selections.
His work has also appeared on the New York Public Library Best Books for Young Adults list, Science Fiction Chronicle's List of Year's Best Novels, and the yearly Locus Recommended Reading Lists.