Saturday, December 28, 2013

Runner by Patrick Lee

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.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell

Innocent Blood by James Rollins and Rebecca Cantrell is a great follow-up to the first book in the Order of the Sanguines series, The Blood Gospel.  

One of the things I like best about this series is the way they pluck characters out of history, biblical and otherwise, and smoothly integrate them into the story.  The main characters, Erin Granger, Jordan Stone and Father Ruhn are once again thrust into a quest to save the world, this time from Armageddon and the end of days.  They are joined by several characters we’ve met before as well as some new and interesting ones, particular the sanguinist Christian.

The Sanguine series is not short on action and Innocent Blood takes the action from California to the Vatican, to Sweden and back to the Mediterranean.  Any action junkie will enjoy the battles which involve guns, blades, explosions, beasts and other supernatural creatures as well as chases in cars, trains, boats and helicopters.  The plot moves steadily along as both sides try to unravel the clues necessary to either fulfill or thwart prophecy.  

A strength of this book is that the adversaries motives for their actions and goals are reasoned.  The lengths to which both sides will resort and what they are willing to sacrifice in order to achieve their respective goals highlight that none of the choices are clear cut and internal moral wrestling leaves the ultimate outcome in doubt until the very end.

Fans of the first book will not be disappointed in Innocent Blood.  Anyone who loves thrillers, particularly with a historical component to them, will enjoy this book.  I’m eagerly awaiting the next book.   Highly recommended.

I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this book.