Review: Runner by Patrick Lee

Runner by Patrick Lee
Release Date: February 18, 2014
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 352
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review

Sam Dryden, retired special forces, lives a quiet life in a small town on the coast of Southern California. While out on a run in the middle of the night, a young girl runs into him on the seaside boardwalk. Barefoot and terrified, she’s running from a group of heavily armed men with one clear goal—to kill the fleeing child. After Dryden helps her evade her pursuers, he learns that the eleven year old, for as long as she can remember, has been kept in a secret prison by forces within the government. But she doesn’t know much beyond her own name, Rachel. She only remembers the past two months of her life—and that she has a skill that makes her very dangerous to these men and the hidden men in charge.

Dryden, who lost his wife and young daughter in an accident five years ago, agrees to help her try to unravel her own past and make sense of it, to protect her from the people who are moving heaven and earth to find them both. Although Dryden is only one man, he’s a man with the extraordinary skills and experience—as a Ranger, a Delta, and five years doing off-the-book black ops with an elite team. But, as he slowly begins to discover, the highly trained paramilitary forces on their heels is the only part of the danger they must face. Will Rachel’s own unremembered past be the most deadly of them all?


Review: I hate cliche one liners that you often see book covers quote. You know the type, “An action packed thrill ride… that will keep you… at the edge of your seat!” – Really Good News. I dislike them so much that they often will drive me away from a book, especially if there are a large plethora of them gracing the cover of the latest thriller. The words of the novel should speak for themselves. If the description and the first page aren’t grabbing enough, then those one liners most certainly will not entice me to buy a book. With that in mind, I do not use the following phrase lightly: this book is an action packed thrill ride that will keep you at the edge of your seat.

While this book is listed at 352 pages, it certainly doesn’t feel that large. The first impression I received from this story, which lasted throughout the entire thing, is that it is very fast paced. There isn’t a dull moment, from the opening page to the closing word. There are enough details to totally immerse you in the world that Patrick Lee has crafted, with very little extraneous info packed in there. The words keep moving, the action keeps flowing, and, despite this, he is able to attach you emotionally to the older Special Forces guy and the 12 year old girl he is trying to protect.

While there wasn’t a huge twist at the end, and parts of it did feel cliche, there was enough originality and action to keep me turning the pages, running late for work or not spending that extra 15 minutes with the wife and kids. I have very little to complain about regarding this book, and a lot of praise for it.

In the end, I most definitely would recommend this novel to anyone who wants a thrill ride. It’s akin to a roller coaster that’s all downhill. This will leave you wanting more, and I am grateful to Patrick Lee for writing such a good novel.