Review: See How They Run by Tom Bale

Saturday, 7 May 2016
Title: See How They Run
Author: Tom Bale
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 6th May 2016
Pages: 411
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
In the dead of night, new parents Alice and Harry French are plunged into their worst nightmare when they wake to find masked men in their bedroom. Men ruthless enough to threaten their baby daughter, Evie.

This is no burglary gone wrong.
The intruders know who they’re looking for – a man called Edward Renshaw.
And they are prepared to kill to get to him.

When the men leave empty handed, little do Alice and Harry realise that their nightmare is just beginning. Is it a case of mistaken identity? Who is Renshaw? And what is he hiding?

One thing is clear – they already know too much.

As Alice and Harry are separated in the run for their lives, there is no time for breathe in their fight to be reunited. And with their attackers closing in, there is only a choice:

STAY ALIVE. OR DON’T.

See How They Run is absolutely my favourite kind of thriller. Simon Kernick is the author that got me hooked on this genre of books. Those stories that take ordinary (on the surface) people and put them into extraordinary circumstances, and which then proceed to take the characters and the reader on the most enjoyable, shocking and thrilling reading journey. The opening to See How They Run is terrifying, but oh so gripping and really sets the scene for what's to follow throughout the rest of the book. Harry and Alice French wake up in the middle of the night to find masked men in their bedroom, men who threaten their baby daughter Evie, and demand answers from the couple about the whereabouts of a man named Edward Renshaw, a man the couple claim to have no knowledge of. The men leave, but the couples' nightmare is only just beginning...

The first thing I should probably say about See How They Run is do not try and assume a thing about where the story is going. I do like to at least try and work out how things might play out in a story as I read, but this book is full of mystery and misdirection that I found myself expecting one thing to happen only for something completely different to jump out and slap me in the face. In fact, I was gobsmacked at where the story went at times and whilst the story itself is a little out there at times, it's important to remember that it is a fictional story written mostly for the enjoyment of the reader and so I am more than happy for things to be slightly unrealistic. At the same time though, the story and plot itself is so scary and unusual that perhaps it is sometimes best for readers to think it might never happen in real life. Maybe it could and maybe that's why some reviewers are double checking they've locked their doors at night...

Tom Bale is a brilliant writer who writes in a way that you feel a part of the story yourself. Even in the opening chapters, which I read in the middle of the afternoon, I could almost feel the terror felt by the characters themselves. And then I felt each emotion that the characters began to feel. Fear, anger, confusion, violation. Despite the fact we know little about the couple in the beginning, and whether or not we can even trust them (after all, how does the reader know this couple doesn't know Edward Renshaw? We initially have to take them on face value as this innocent couple with a new baby but all the while I was unsure) it is so easy to sense how they are feeling, and to connect with them as characters. Vivid descriptions allow everything to play out in your mind almost like a movie, and the pace of the story moves along blisteringly which means that I had this book read in no time at all and was left very excited at reading more from Tom Bale. This is an exciting, gripping thriller that I highly recommend.

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