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 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.
Horrified, Moon tries to cover up his tragic mistake and then to find out who the girl was and what she was doing in the woods. Fear, guilt, and obsession leads him to unearth a shocking pattern of evil involving the residents of the town–and before long all the plots have converged on him. Rich with regional echoes and raw emotion, A Single Shot is that rare thriller that not only makes the spine tingle, it stirs the heart as well.

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.


“A harrowing literary thriller…a powerful blend of love and violence, of the grotesque and the tender.”
— Chrisopher Lehman-Haupt, The New York Times

“A backwoods drama that is part Crime And Punishment, part Deliverance and all white-knuckled suspense…A Single Shot packs a helluva punch.”
— Pam Lambert, People

“[A] high-voltage thriller, a gritty, claustrophobic blend of Jim Thompson and James Dickey.”
— Publishers Weekly *Starred Review

A Single Shot {is} the finest portrait of guilt since Crime and Punishment.”
— Susan Salter Reynolds, The Los Angeles Times Book Review

“The most gripping read of the summer….Jones is remarkably adept at detailing the way both nature and necessity turn against Moon. The result is something like Patricia Highsmith plotting a novel by John Gardner (with) scenes of gruesomely detailed violence alternating with exquisitely described natural beauty.”
— Michael Harrington, The Philadelphia Inquirer

A violent study of desperation, owing more to Dostoevsky and Faulker than any suspense writer, A Single Shot unfolds like a graphic, slow motion nightmare from which the protagonist will never awaken.”
— Library Journal

“A terrific novel…you can hardly breathe while you’re reading this book…[John Moon’s] crisis evokes every palm-sweating, heart-stopping, seemingly undoable mistake you’ve ever made.”
— Los Angeles Times

“Jones owns a fine writer’s eye for the kind of details that matter…it is Jones’ skillful straight-from-the –shoulder depiction of [Moon] and his pinched world that resonates and then compels…the author draws his disoriented thoughts with dark and excellent detail.”
— Daniel Woodrell, The Washington Post

“The ultimate noir nightmare…Jones conveys the claustrophobic, dead-end lifestyle of the rural poor with a frightening incisiveness.”
— Peter Handel, San Francisco Sunday Examiner & Chronicle

“An absolutely riveting read. Jones gives trailer-park minimalism just what it’s always needed – a story to tell and one that your mind won’t let go of for quite a while.”
— Gary Krist, Smart Money

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