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I’m finally on spring break, and I hope many of you are enjoying (or looking forward to) a vacation around now, too. Speaking of which, do I ever have a great beach read for you (and the teens you serve, too)!
This is my first Patrick Lee novel, but it won’t be the last. Great characters, breathless action, twists and turns… Yes, some of it verges on the outlandish (that whole military-experiment-gone-wrong thing often does, right?), but Lee’s writing is so strong he gives the reader plenty of reasons to buy in.
I finished Runner hoping that Sam Dryden’s first novel might spawn a series, and looking at the author’s website — “The first Sam Dryden thriller!” — I think I’m in luck. He’s tough but caring. Wounded by a tragic past, but keeping it together. Contemplative, yet a man of action.
For more, I recommend Dirk Robertson on the Criminal Element website. He does a great job of pinpointing just what it is about Runner that works so well.
LEE, Patrick. Runner. 336p. Minotaur. Feb. 2014. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781250030733; ebk. $12.99. ISBN 9781250030757.
Sam Dryden is out jogging in the middle of the night when he collides with a young teen, obviously terrified and running for her life. He feels compelled to help her. Former military (Delta, Rangers and beyond), Dryden lost his wife and daughter five years earlier and has been drifting ever since. Rachel reveals that for the last several weeks she has been held in a laboratory, restrained, drugged, and questioned. That night her captors had decided to kill her, so she escaped. The big twist? Rachel can read minds. Actually, reading minds is not her only power, but she cannot remember anything farther back than her time in the lab. Dryden knows that the drugs she’s been given will wear off in about a week. He needs to keep her safe until her memory returns, so they go on the run. Martin Gaul works for one of two competing corporations experimenting with genetic manipulation for the government and has connections to the director of Homeland Security. It is crucial that Rachel die before their latest project goes live. Either way, the world is about to change irrevocably. As “military-experiment-gone-wrong” thrillers go, Runner is exemplary. The action is breath-taking. Dryden and Rachel are sympathetic characters whose abilities are extraordinary but not impossibly far-fetched, and they make for more than one exciting role-reversal. What may seem like too-convenient coincidence (Rachel encounters a resourceful ex-military guy right when she needs him?) makes sense in the end. Teen fans of Patterson’s “Maximum Ride” series (Little, Brown) who are up for something more realistic will love this.—Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City
About Angela Carstensen
Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.
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