Runner by Patrick Lee is a thriller due out in early 2014 featuring a new hero, Sam Dryden. This is a fast-paced, non-stop action book that moves quickly from the opening page all the way to the very end. Dryden is ex-military recovering from a personal tragedy. While out for a jog late one night, a young 12-year-old girl, Rachel, literally runs into him. Rachel is on the run from a bunch of shadowy men whose allegiance and purpose is unclear. All Rachel remembers is that they have held her captive for the last two months and she has no memory before that.
Lee succeeds in creating characters you can identify and sympathize with. It’s made clear early on that Rachel has special abilities. The extent of those abilities, as well as where they came from and what they mean is gradually revealed. Who Rachel is, who she will become and what threat she poses as she regains her memory is a central theme.The chase moves back and forth across the country although who exactly the pursuers are, government agents, government contractors or others and what their interests are remains murky.
Against the backdrop of a run-for-your-life thriller, Lee mixes in such questions as how does our memory influence who we are, what sort of abilities are locked into our DNA and can they be unlocked? The power of government surveillance tools and the skill and methods necessary to evade them are convincingly portrayed.
Runner can be enjoyed on multiple levels. It works as a straight-up thriller with some slightly fantastical elements. It also explores themes related to genetic research, memory and even how we perceive reality.
Patrick Lee has created a dynamic hero that I look forward to following in future books. I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.