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Monday, October 31, 2011

cover of Just Run

I purchased and read this book because it was the ebook was sale for 99 cents, and the description of the protagonist intrigued me: a woman math professor on the run, who sees patterns and numbers and also knows about poker from her father. I was rather disappointed with the character of Dr. Renee Carter-- she seems like the generic pretty-lady plucky heroine, with a few trappings and comments to remind us she works as a college professor. Dr. Carter accidentally gets in trouble with some bad guys because, in her role as mentor to the campus poker club, she notices a statistical anomaly that would significantly benefit the owners of the website. Because of this, a couple of bad guys come to "take care of" her and the other professors she consulted about the data. When the hit men frame Renee for the murder of the local sheriff, she ends up on the run with the regional detective who was called in, Trent Schaefer. Carter can tell there is something off about Trent (he's a little too good at surviving on the run), something he's not telling her, but she never really does figure it out, and the best that can really be said is that she survives.

It was pretty obvious there was more going on with Trent, so the twist ending with his real motivation and purposes was kind of good surprise, in a way, but also a little disappointing in another way (he's not quite the nice guy he seemed).

There were a couple of aspects to the style and structure that I found a bit interesting. First, each chapter or section is labeled with the date, time, and place of the scene-- and frequently the times are stacked pretty closely together, so that we get the same or at least overlapping views of the same scene from the perspective of different characters. At first this was a little disorienting, until I discovered that the table of contents in my e-reader functioned pretty nicely as a stand-in for flipping back to the last section to compare dates and times. Secondly, the story is told from a third-person perspective that centers around different characters at different times, and it seems like an omniscient narrator, because we are told the feelings and inner thoughts of the characters-- and maybe this is why I felt like the book was a bit of a cheat. It's not just that details are withheld from the reader-- that's understandable, something has to be kept back to keep up the suspense; but I felt that certain parts of the omniscient narrative were actually misleading or maybe even wrong, portraying inner thoughts of characters according to the roles they are playing (even when they are by themselves), rather than hinting at their true inner thoughts or motives-- or at least not outright lying-- as I think a more skillful writer would have done.

The price may have been about right, but I'm not sure this book was worth my time (although it was a pretty quick read).

Title:Just Run
Author:Chris Culver
Date published:2011
Genre:Action/Adventure Fiction
Number of pages:504


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