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Run (2011)

Review by: 
Blake Crouch
Publication Date: 
Bottom Line: 

 Picture the perfect American nuclear family; Dad, Mom, two kids, house in the suburbs. That was the world of Jack Colclough a few months ago. Since then, it’s all fallen apart.  His wife, Dee, stopped caring, and has admitted she’s having an affair.  His teenage daughter is full of hormonal angst.  A week ago, a series of strange murders began. A few days ago, the murders increased tremendously; a cop went on a shooting spree in an elementary school, and then a nursing home.  The President made an emergency plea for passive resolution.  Then the killers started organizing and mobilizing.  Last night, the power went out.  Now, as the killers broadcast the names of targets on the emergency broadcast system, they’ve just announced Jack’s name.

Run barely gives the reader time to breathe before it takes off, following Jack, Dee, and their two children, Naomi and Cole attempting to avoid the targets on their backs, get out of Albuquerque, and find refuge and answers. The family faces challenges to their unity and their sanity as they journey from the New Mexico highways to the Rockies.  The killers are patrolling the roads in a convoy of vehicles. Any run-in with strangers could mean meeting an ally, or fighting for survival. The truck needs fuel and oil.  The family needs food and water, and a plan – all of which are in short supply.

Crouch puts his characters through a barrage of tests, offering them just enough rewards and peace to set up their next challenge.  They face gunmen, dogs, starvation, freezing to death, and sometimes each other, as they struggle to find a path to survival and hope for a future. He creates fantastic visuals that capture the sheer beauty of nature, and also the horrific impact made as the packs of killers slice their way through these pictures. He offers description that can only come from a person with knowledge of these cities and mountains.  He accomplishes this without being too wordy and distracting from the action and emotion of the scenes.

Crouch paints scenery just as easily as he paints agony.  He has a fantastic talent for connecting readers with the pain of his characters, good and bad alike. Run accelerates like an avalanche; building slowly at first, then overwhelming readers once it gains momentum. The book offers a good “slow burn” for a while, but continues to amplify in intensity and action. Run begins with Jack’s struggle as an estranged husband and a challenged father.  His everyday concerns become trivial.  Sports scores and celebrity news are long gone.  Instead, he has to learn what kind of man he is under the hood, in the river, and in the wild. The stakes aren’t some office fantasy football pool.  Failure means dying, and the deaths of his family.

Run is like taking 28 Days Later, The Road, The Road Warrior, and elements of Resident Evil as a recipe for one suspenseful cocktail. Crouch balances the action with emotion every step of the way. Readers will be pulling hard for Jack and his family; a normal family dropped into a world of unimaginable dangers. The story is incredible. The characters are inspiring, and the whole thing reads like a modern-day action/thriller that is impossible to put down.

Crouch puts the ColClough’s through unimaginable hells; upholding his reputation as one of the best suspense writers available in 2011.  Run makes the readers range from uncomfortable to downright scared as the author reveals just enough to keep them up in bed, turning each page and awaiting the next horrific event.

The eBook offering from Amazon includes an interview with author Blake Crouch, as well as excerpts from his first four novels; Desert Places, Locked Doors, Abandon, and Snowbound.

 For the official eBook site, click HERE.

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