A Sam Dryden Thriller by Patrick Lee
Review: Sam Dryden is out for a midnight run when he literally runs into Rachel Grant, a terrified young girl who is running for her life from men who want to kill her, in Runner, the first thriller in this series by Patrick Lee.
Sam, who had lost his wife and daughter several years ago in an accident, is immediately protective of Rachel. And his training in Special Forces kicks in as well. They manage to elude the men pursuing Rachel and when they have a few quiet moments, he asks her why she's being chased. She doesn't know. Indeed, she cannot remember anything from the past few months other than her name and that she was being held against her will and has escaped. Sam also learns that Rachel is very intuitive, that she acts as if she can read his mind. Which she can, she confirms a short time later. Realizing that if they are to survive, they must leave the area immediately … but run to where?
Runner starts fast and maintains a high level of tension and suspense for quite some time. Its primary preternatural element — mind reading — is given a credible scientific explanation midway through and doesn't interfere with the baseline mysteries: Why are men with ultra-sophisticated equipment (and with the approval of top officials in the government) chasing a young girl, intent on killing her? And what happens in a week, when it is presumed that her memory will return when her body is cleared of the drugs that she was given while in captivity? As the answers to these questions become more clear (as the story progresses), a series of somewhat unrelated "why" questions develop, most of which remained unanswered at the end of the book. Basic questions like, Why kill Rachel, instead of simply recapturing her? And, Why not kill Sam when the opportunity presents itself? Too, mind reading gives way to mind control, which shifts the book well into the science fiction genre, and not in a solid, credible manner. In short, a strong start gives way to a rather pedestrian finish with too many open plot questions left unresolved by the time the book comes to a close.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of Runner for this review.
Review Copyright © 2014 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in Runner: California; Utah; Texas; Chicago, Illinois
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Runner by Patrick Lee — A Sam Dryden Thriller
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: February 2014
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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