Review

Storm Runners

by T. Jefferson Parker

Aside from pure, unadulterated excellence, you never know what
you're going to get when you pick up a book by T. Jefferson Parker.
Having reached the stage in his career where he could coast just a
bit on his laurels, he delights in pushing himself and his readers
into new places. He does this not by ground shifts, but by subtle
twists and turns, taking plot devices that we come to accept almost
as gospel and giving them a tweak here and there. This practice not
only affects what is to come but also keeps the reader on an
unconscious edge: if Parker is going to change one element, then he
can change anything. And, as STORM RUNNERS demonstrates, indeed he
does.

STORM RUNNERS introduces readers to Matt Stromsoe, a sheriff's
deputy whose wife and child are killed in an assassination attempt
meant for him. Stromsoe is left alive but is irreparably maimed by
the act, which was carried out at the behest of Mike Tavarez, the
head of a powerful organized crime gang. Ironically enough, Tavarez
was one of Stromsoe's best friends in high school and had a
relationship at one point with Stromsoe's wife. Their lives cross
each other in lines of love, hatred, bitterness and violence that
are, if anything, exacerbated by Tavarez's subsequent maximum
security imprisonment.

After resigning from the sheriff's department and taking work with
a security agency, Stromsoe is assigned to guard a television
anchor who is being harassed by a stalker. This simple act gives
him a chance to regain his life: as the book unfolds, however, it
also gives Tavarez a second shot at Stromsoe.

In STORM RUNNERS, as in life, it is the smaller, seemingly
inconsequential elements that sometimes have the greatest effects
on events. Dan Birch, who flits on and off the pages
intermittently, and John Cedros, who would probably escape your
notice on the street, influence events here to a degree that far
exceed their apparent importance in the grand scheme of things.
There is another character, Susan Doss, who appears only briefly
but has so much potential that I hope Parker sees fit to somehow
reintroduce her in a future novel.

It is weather --- its unpredictability and our efforts to predict,
harness and control it --- that provides the backdrop for STORM
RUNNERS and also functions as a metaphor for what takes place. Just
as weather is influenced by a multitude of random factors, so too
are the events of our lives, where everything from the hem on a
pant leg to being a step or two ahead (or behind) someone can make
a difference.

Parker ups the ante and sets his own new standard with STORM
RUNNERS, an unforgettable work from an author who has written
bookshelves full of them.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Storm Runners
by T. Jefferson Parker

  • Publication Date: March 1, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0060854235
  • ISBN-13: 9780060854232