by Patrick Lee
Minotaur Books, 2014. 328 pgs. Mystery
Weird but exciting, Runner tells the story of Sam Dryden, an ex-Special Forces soldier who is out jogging one night when he sees a young girl being chased by what appear to be some kind of commandos. She asks for his help and he hides her, the two hanging from the bottom of the boardwalk until the danger passes. Young Rachel apparently has skills perceived to be dangerous to either the government or some entity associated with it, and quite a lot of people, with access to the most sophisticated surveillance satellites ever developed, want her dead. Unfortunately, she can't remember any of her life before the past two weeks, though she has retained the startling ability to read minds which she uses to great effect to help the two make their escape. Things get exponentially stranger as the story progresses and as Rachel's true abilities begin to emerge, it gets harder and harder to know who are the good guys and who the bad. Runner is a fast and furious read, and Sam, who recently lost his wife and daughter to a car crash, is a deeply sympathetic character with a fabulous set of skills. Things got a bit too violent, and a lot too strange for me towards the end of the book, but it was a ripsnorter and no mistake. I hope there is no sequel because one hate's to think of what Rachel could do as an angst-ridden teenager.