I’m not sure why I’m surprised – I obviously liked the blurb enough to request an advance copy – but (as it happens) I enjoyed Patrick Lee’s latest novel, Runner, a RIDICULOUSLY huge amount.
When it arrived a couple of days ago I had second thoughts… expecting tortuous memories of war and ‘action’ in the real sense of action and wasn’t sure if it’d be my thing at all.
However, I broke (a far too often-broken) rule of not reading an entire novel in a night, cos that’s what I did. In fact, if I hadn’t needed food I might have spent the entire night in the bath with US retired Special Forces operative Sam Dryden (via my iPad… of course!).
Instead I had to hop out half way through; to cook and scoff food before rejoining Sam on his exploits!
Sam’s a hardened ex military type but shattered and purposeless following the death of his wife and daughter five years earlier.
Lately he’s been unable to sleep, only finding comfort by heading out on a run in the wee hours until one day… he comes across a young girl being pursued by armed men.
Twelve year old Rachel doesn’t remember anything about her life before waking up in captivity. When she realised she was about to be killed she ran, fortunately – for her – finding in Sam, someone who makes her feel safe.
Sam suddenly finds himself on the run with Rachel against an ‘enemy’ with a vast range of technology at their fingertips. He realises he has to draw on his special forces expertise to keep Rachel from danger, but is surprised when Rachel offers some extraordinary talents of her own.
Things get even more tense when Sam learns that Rachel’s forgotten memory could hold a huge secret with dire impacts and, when things don’t go as planned, he starts to wonder who exactly he can trust.
I’m confessing to my own ignorance here, but I hadn’t heard of Patrick Lee before reading this novel, but I’m heading out to find more of his work. I’m also stoked to see on Lee’s site that this is ‘Sam Dryden series #1’.
Runner is fabulously fast-paced with great character development – which was interesting as we really only have insight to Sam and Rachel. But both are fascinating enough to sustain our interest (and allegiance) throughout.
Runner by Patrick Lee is available in Australia via Penguin Books Australia from 29 January 2014 and Macmillan Publishers / Minotaur Books in the US.
I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley from the publisher for review purposes.