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Last April, I read RUNNER by Patrick Lee in manuscript and still remember being breathless when I read it. Thrillers that give you many “aha” moments are the ones you don’t forget --- and RUNNER certainly has many of those!
Sam Dryden is a retired Ranger special forces agent who once was part of a team that ran a lot of his operations off the grid. Now he has rebuilt his life in a small Southern California town. He’s a loner, having lost both his wife and young daughter in an accident. As an aside here, I knew someone who was a special agent for the FBI, and we talked one night about how one adjusts after having lived that kind of an adrenaline-filled life. How does one go from missions at Ruby Ridge, Waco and Yemen, to carpooling, grocery shopping and normal life? He told me that between the memories and the change in the pace of your life, it’s a real challenge. For years, he was the guy coaching baseball who might get a call in the middle of a game. It would not be that his wife needed milk, but rather he was wheels up on an assignment in two hours.
So when Sam is out for a quiet run on a quiet night in his quiet world and runs across an 11-year-old girl who is running and scared , every sense that was honed in his former life comes back to the surface. He learns that she’s fleeing pursuers who have been holding her for years in a secret government prison. She does not know much more. Saving her becomes a mission. At the same time, he learns that she possess a power and skill that makes her a very wanted person by her captors. Just when I thought I had RUNNER figured out, I would be catapulted in a new direction. I was on a mission of my own, trying to stay ahead of the author, but I never was.
I am so happy that this is the start of a series. Also, for those who liked the first season of “The Following”(the second has been sorely lacking so far), you will find the same energy here.