Somewhat ironically given the title, I had little idea of what to expect from The First One You Expect. I only knew it was available as part of my latest run of Kindle Unlimited downloads, so I snatched it up without even reading a synopsis, because it was written by an author I've very much come to enjoy, Adam Cesare.
The short version of this 77 page novella is that it's an exceedingly well-written and engaging tale about the writer-director of a bunch of zero-budget, gore-based horror films meeting someone who effectively changes the way he does business. Cesare has either done his research, made these types of films, or hung around people who have, because he really nails the nuances of some of the aspects attached to this type of work. I should know: I've made a couple of terrible, zero budget films. (Though they weren't horror as much as they were generic Tarantino/urban crime thriller knock-offs. Did I mention they were terrible?)
Anyway, this would have been a fantastic novella were it not for a major plot point mid-way through I had trouble believing - but will not divulge for fear of spoiling something that is nevertheless very interesting - and the fact that this is quite similar to another of Cesare's works, Tribesmen. The latter I can forgive as the sub-genres Cesare is playing with are so different, but the former issue really did stick in my craw.
Still, if you can get past this element, there's a clever story to be found within the pages of The First One You Expect that mixes themes of obsession and greed to good effect. It also has a killer final line that really hammers everything home.
3.5 Directors yelling "CUT!" for The First One You Expect.