Runner is the newest thriller from Patrick Lee.  Like Lee’s previous works, this novel blends elements from various genres to create a unique style and storyline.  This time out, we have everything from mind-reading and government experimentation to corporate greed and murder.  This may sound like heavy stuff – and it is – but the novel manages to read like the best of the blockbuster summer movies.

Just moments after the book begin, former Special Forces operative Sam Dryden finds himself on the run with Rachel, a young girl with some serious enemies.  Strangers when they are thrust together, the pair quickly comes to rely on each other.  The tenderness and loyalty between Sam and Rachel is the lynchpin of the novel.  Their bond, immediate and undeniable, makes them a pair the reader will want to root for.

Every scene reads like a summer movie action sequence – cinematic in scope with easily understandable ramifications.  Readers will be able to visualize every perilous predicament Sam and Rachel find themselves entangled in.  At times, it defies credibility, but with action thrillers of this sort, that is hardly the point.  Runner never once crosses over into ridiculousness.

Patrick Lee has a knack for being able to describe complex scientific theories and experiments in terms which are easy for the reader to understand, but also in a way which serves to heighten the suspense level.  Many authors can do that, but few authors can also create characters for whom the reader develops great affinity.  These two skills together are what make Patrick Lee unique in the techno-thriller genre.

The reader’s ability to connect with Rachel is vitally important to the success of the novel.  Since Rachel is unable to remember her past, this could have been a troublesome task, but just as Sam responds to Rachel’s youthful charm, so does the reader.  Sam, who has lost his own daughter to death, will do anything to ensure Rachel’s safety and the reader is more than willing to accompany them on the journey.

The only problem is that Rachel may have more secrets in her mind than even she knows.  As Sam and Rachel excavate what memories they are able to from her mind, the danger surrounding them continues to escalate.

Runner is no leisurely read.  The propulsive action never loosens its grip on the reader.  Even when reaching the end, readers will be thrilled to discover that the door is left open for the planned sequel – just as those summer movie franchises always do.


Disclaimer:  An audiobook version of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher.  No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.