Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: The Runner (Audio)

Summary: Sam Dryden, retired special forces, lives a quiet life in a small town on the coast of Southern California. While out on a run in the middle of the night, a young girl runs into him on the seaside boardwalk. Barefoot and terrified, she’s running from a group of heavily armed men with one clear goal—to kill the fleeing child. After Dryden helps her evade her pursuers, he learns that the eleven year old, for as long as she can remember, has been kept in a secret prison by forces within the government. But she doesn’t know much beyond her own name, Rachel. She only remembers the past two months of her life—and that she has a skill that makes her very dangerous to these men and the hidden men in charge.

Dryden, who lost his wife and young daughter in an accident five years ago, agrees to help her try to unravel her own past and make sense of it, to protect her from the people who are moving heaven and earth to find them both. Although Dryden is only one man, he’s a man with the extraordinary skills and experience—as a Ranger, a Delta, and five years doing off-the-book black ops with an elite team. But, as he slowly begins to discover, the highly trained paramilitary forces on their heels is the only part of the danger they must face. Will Rachel’s own unremembered past be the most deadly of them all? -- Macmillan Audio

I tend to listen to audios during my daily workouts; and as a result, I am drawn to fast-paced mysteries or thrillers. When I read the description for the new novel RUNNER by Patrick Lee, I thought it sounded exactly what I needed to keep workouts moving. It didn't hurt that this book has already received a starred review from Library Journal in addition to blurbs from best-selling authors Lee Childs and Nelson DeMille.

RUNNER is about Sam Dryden, a man who is running along the boardwalk one night when a young girl named Rachel bumps smack dab into him. Rachel is obviously scared for her life and is running from a group of armed men. Dryden is pretty sure that these men are trying to kill her, so he helps her escape from them. See... in his past, Dryden was special forces -- a Ranger, a Delta, and even part of a secret black ops elite team -- so he knew a thing or two about dealing with men like this.

Once the coast is (kind of) clear, Rachel starts talking to Dryden. She tells him that she only remembers the past two months and that she was kept in a secret prison by the government because she has a remarkable skill that they want to keep hidden.

Dryden's past is also rather complex. He lost his wife and daughter in an accident about five years ago, and he's never been quite the same. When he discovers that Rachel needs his help, it gives him something to focus on. Dryden knows that he can use his skills to help save Rachel's young life, but he soon discovers that his life is in danger too.

I have to admit that THE RUNNER is probably a book more geared towards my dad than me; however, I did appreciate it. While I enjoy suspense novels and thrillers, I don't normally read such action-packed ones. However, there were many terrific things about this book starting with its I very unique premise. The story did have some far-fetched concepts (notice I'm not giving specifics because I don't want to spoil anything about this book), but I thought the author did a good job of making the story convincing.

One thing that I especially enjoyed was the character of Sam Dryden. It's a good thing because THE RUNNER is the first book in a series starring the former special operative Dryden! I loved his coolness and how knowledgeable he was about fighting so many armed men, and I also liked that he had a softer side. It's apparent that he's very affected by some things that happened in his past, and I hope the future novels give readers more insight into Sam's personal character.

As far as thrillers go, RUNNER was very fast-paced and action-packed. It truly was a quick listen and the story never dragged. Basically, there were many twists and turns and surprises along the way; and the reader (or at least this one) was definitely kept guessing about how everything would play out. In addition, I was impressed with the author's ability to include some high-tech machines as well as state-of-the art technology into the story.

The audio version of RUNNER was read by Raúl Esparza. You might know him from  Law & Order: SVU. In addition, he is a f our-time Tony-nominated actor, singer, and voice artist noted for his award-winning performances in Broadway Shows. I thought he did an excellent job with the narration of this novel, and his voice and inflections were perfect for this fast-paced thriller. You can listen to a clip of him reading THE RUNNER here.

I think the RUNNER is a great start to a new series and fans of high-tech thrillers will love it!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this audiobook.

Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read. Mystery Mondays is a regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

Well, now I'm curious about Rachel's special skill. The book sounds like a page turner.

Beth Hoffman said...

I have the feeling that my husband would love this!

Nise' said...

I really enjoyed this novel and thought it was a page turner. I look forward to the next book.

Sandy Nawrot said...

I like mystery and action, although there are so many out there right now, they need to have something unique about them. I'm going to do a little looking around on this one.

Beth F said...

Oh this sounds like a great book for my walks -- lots of action.