I've been reading Terri Blackstock's edge of the seat novels since the 1990's and I must say that IF I RUN, her latest tops everything that precedes. I've been slightly disappointed with thriller novels by other authors that have the protagonist rush from one setting to another in such a rapid succession that there is no rhyme or reason for the moves except to stage another fight scene. Yes, in this novel, protagonist Casey is on the run; the book opens as she flees the scene of a murder and she quickly, but smartly, plans her exit to save her life and to protect her mother and sister. And soon, Dylan Robert, a veteran who has been hired by the deceased reporter Brent's parents to find Casey (now a suspect) is right on Casey's trail. But there is a thoughtful pace to both people's actions, and as an author, Blackstock uses that slightly slower pace to develop both Casey (alias Grace) and Dylan's characters. We learn that although the two have never met they have much in common. Casey has been forever harmed by being the one who discovered her father's dead body when she was twelve. While the police department maintains it was a suicide, Casey knows better but can't prove it. Feeling that she has somehow failed her father's memory and her ill mother, Casey sought help from a friend. Now he is dead, another failure she must face. As Dylan learns more about Casey and her relationship to his childhood friend Brent, Dylan recognizes Casey may be suffering the symptoms of PTSD, something he faces himself almost every day. As Dylan interviews Casey's family and friends, he simply cannot believe she is a killer, but he remains wary and determined to do his duty: find the young woman and return her to justice. As the chapters alternate between the viewpoints of Casey and Dylan, readers learn to trust and root for both, despite knowing that they are on a collision course. Both cannot win.
Casey does not act like the typical book character on the run. She doesn't consider herself a believer, but finds that each day she is turning to God. Her kindness and concern for others surfaces even when she knows that the slightest comment or action may make her recognizable or memorable. Still she acts with her heart and her final decisions are made selflessly. The last scenes of this book pack a mighty wallop and like they say on a certain television series, they are ripped right from the headlines. The only negative comment I can make is that there are two more books to come in this trilogy and the whole story will not be known until the last page of the last book is read. And I simply DO NOT want to wait!! I received a copy of this novel from Litfuse for my honest opinion.
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