Review: Runner by Patrick Lee

Tuesday 14 April 2015
Title: Runner (Sam Dryden, #1)
Author: Patrick Lee
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 19th June 2014
Pages: 416
ISBN: 9781405914994
Source: Won
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
Ex-soldier Sam Dryden was done being a hero. But when, acting on instinct, he hides a terrified young girl from a group of well-armed pursuers, his fate is sealed.

Rachel can't remember much, but she knows she was imprisoned by the men trying to kill her. And that she is important to them.

In Dryden, though, Rachel has found the perfect protector.

But hunted and on the run, it's only as Rachel's memory returns that Dryden begins to fully appreciate the scale of the dangers they face. And then only one thing matters:

Don't. Get. Caught.

I have been consciously trying to write more concise reviews in recent months, and to somehow convey my thoughts without talking about the plot too much, but sometimes I finish a book that is so difficult to review because of that need to avoid those spoilers. When I started reading Runner, there wasn't really anything all that different about it in comparison to similar books, it was only as the story progressed that any differences started to become clear, Patrick Lee writing a story that contains all the hallmarks that you expect from a thriller, but adding a number of his own unique twists. 

Runner starts as it means to go on, and any book that has a pace that can be described as relentless in just the opening chapters is one that I know I am going to enjoy. Ex-soldier Sam Dryden is out running late one night (the very original insomnia...) when he discovers a young girl running towards him, scared witless she begs him for help, and Sam soon discovers that the girl, Rachel, is on the run from some scary individuals who have had her imprisoned, why she does not know, just that they want her dead. Sam soon finds out that they now want him dead too. As they quite literally 'run for their lives', Rachel's memories come flooding back, alerting Sam to the level of danger they have found themselves in.

It can be difficult for an author to create original characters that stand out from the crowd, yet Sam and Rachel both felt incredibly original, and also very realistic characters as well. I found myself wondering just why Sam was so quick to put his own life in danger, and I did have issues with the contrived way in which he just so happened to be in the right place to discover Rachel. But, as the story progressed everything made a whole lot more sense, especially as we discovered more about Sam and his history. The paternal relationship that develops between Sam and Rachel is a touching and believable one, and I wish I could describe one of my favourite parts of the book but it would almost certainly be considered a spoiler.

I also wish I could mention just what it is about Runner that sets it apart from other books like it, but the secret of course lies in the storytelling, and the twists and secrets that are revealed as the book progresses. Runner is probably the third or fourth book I have read recently that focuses on subjects that at first glance may appear a little far-fetched, or unrealistic, but when you think about it, are things that could actually happen in real life which, in the case of Runner, is a scary prospect. Another highlight of the book were the vivid descriptions from Patrick Lee, allowing some rather breathtaking and heart stopping scenes to come to life in my head, and this book easily equals any Hollywood film for thrills and some brilliant action sequences. In fact, this should be a film seeing how that's all Hollywood is full of at the minute.

I turned the final page of Runner and thought to myself: please let the second Sam Dryden novel be released very soon. Highly recommended.


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