Monday, August 3, 2020

Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison

In the 1960s a man made virus ravaged the Earth after hitching a ride on an innocuous looking tomato killing half the population and exposing the Inderlanders - the 'creatures' that man though were only dreams and nightmares - to the general population.  Decades later the Inderlanders live alongside humans, and an uneasy truce has been struck that sees Inderland Security (the I.S) protecting and policing the Inderlanders, while the Federal Inderland Bureau (FIB) protects the humans and hunts down illegal biolabs (as well as keeping an uneasy eye on the Inderlanders).  It's not a perfect world, but it seems to work, and it means witches like Rachel Morgan don't have to hide what they really are.

Employed as a Runner by the I.S she has one job, to bring in Inderlanders who have broken the rules.  It seems simple enough, but things keep going wrong and she can never seem to please her boss.  Deciding to cut her loses, Rachel makes the call to quit the I.S - which shouldn't be a problem due to her lack of popularity, but that's not as easy as it seems, as people who try and break their I.S Runner contracts have a tendency to end up dead.  Rachel has a plan to deal with that though, plans that are rapidly scuttled when Ivy, the best Runner in the office who also happens to be a living vampire, decides to quit too and start a partnership with Rachel - which puts Rachel squarely in the cross hairs of their former boss.

Starting a new career as an independent Runner is going to be hard enough without dodging death curses and hitmen for the foreseeable future.  Rachel's only hope is to bring in a big target that will help her pay off her I.S contract, and there is no bigger target than Trent Kalamack.  Everyone in the I.S knows that Kalamack is involved with dealing Brimstone, but no one can prove it, and anytime they get close he manages to skate free.  Determined to bring him down, Rachel hatches a plan that she is sure will work.  What she wasn't counting on was the complication of living with Ivy, who as a living vampire has all sorts of interesting buttons to push that will put pressure on their working and personal relationships.  There's nothing like the pressure of being in a life and death situation to bring out the best in someone, but Rachel is about to discover that the price of success might be more than she is prepared to pay.

Dead witch walking is the first book in The Hollows series, and it is a brilliant start to a thoroughly enjoyable series.  I started reading the series years ago and then got distracted and forgot about it until recently, when I decided to reread some series and see what new series some of my favourite authors had written.  I was hooked back into the series from the start and have already ordered the second and third books in the series so I can keep going and read my way up to the current book in the series.  One of the things I love most about the series is how 'real' the world of The Hollows is - Harrison has clearly spent time thinking about the mythology of her world, and she has built up a world and a group of characters that is totally believable and relateable.  

This is not a horror series, despite the presence of witches and vampires, it is best described as an urban fantasy - though it is fair to say it is at the darker end of the scale.  This is a fantastic series (no pun intended) and the best part about discovering it now is that you can read through the books in quick order without having to wait for them to be published like I did the first time I read them!

 If you like this book then try:
  • Omens by Kelley Armstrong
  • Summon the keeper by Tanya Huff
  • Eight million gods by Wen Spencer
  • Dark descendant by Jenna Black
  • Moon called by Patricia Briggs
  • Spiders bite by Jennifer Estep
  • Alien taste by Wen Spencer
  • Blood price by Tanya Huff
  • Kitty and the midnight hour by Carrie Vaughn
  • Children of the night by Mercedes Lackey
  • Moon called by Patricia Briggs
  • Angel's blood by Nalini Singh
  • Cry wolf by Patricia Briggs
  • Born to run by Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon
  • Knight of ghosts and shadows by Mercedes Lackey and Ellen Guon

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Safe by S.K. Barnett

I don't normally include them, but I need to include a *TRIGGER WARNING* with this book as there is reference to child abuse that could trigger memories in survivors of child sexual/physical abuse.

Twelve years ago Jenny Kristal walked our her front door to walk two houses down the road to see her bestfriend - and disappeared.  It was the tragedy that drew the community together, people helping anyway they could, from searching for Jenny and putting up posters, to making meals to support the searchers.  As hours turned into days, and then into weeks, and then years it seemed as all hope was lost that Jenny would ever come home, people moved on with their lives and her posters faded to almost nothing.  It seemed hopeless that Jenny would ever be found, and then a miracle happens - not only is she found, she is home.  

After being missing for years it is hard for Jenny to reconnect with her family - especially with her brother Ben showing open hostility and suspicion.  If only Ben knew the truth about Jenny, or maybe he does, because Jenny is not as careful as she should have been.  She has been clumsy and left open the Facebook page that Ben created, the Facebook page that gave Jenny all she needed to become Jenny, to convince her family that she really is Jenny.  All those little memories bring authenticity, and even make it easier for Jobeth to connect with Jenny, makes it easier to pretend she is Jenny.  This isn't the first time that Jobeth has become someone else, Jenny is not her first missing person, but something isn't right about the Kristal home.  'Jenny' has come home, but it seems too easy, the family too eager to accept Jenny back and carry on with their lives.  Jenny has come home, but is Jobeth safe?

Safe starts with a bang and doesn't slow down as it drags you along for a wild ride of guesses and second guesses as you try and figure out what is happening and what happened in the past.  It's a shame to have to ruin the little twist that Jobeth really isn't Jenny, but that opens the story up quickly to become a thriller that has your wondering what is going on.  This was one of the better thrillers I have read recently, it takes a relatively simple idea and turns it into something that keeps you guessing right to the end.  The characters are suitably complex and each play their part in uncovering Jobeth's story, but also current events.

This thriller is built up with different layers and different points of view, and I challenge you to figure out all the moving parts before the author delivers to final scenes.  

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Monday, July 27, 2020

You can trust me by Emma Rowley

Nicky is a ghostwriter, her job is to take the words of people she interviews and turn them into books in the 'voice' of the person.  Chances are you have read one of her books, they have been on the bestsellers list, but you wouldn't know which ones they were - being a ghostwriter means you see the name of the famous person on the cover, not Nicky's name.  It is an interesting process, one that has both rewards and challenges, and her ability to be discreet is an essential part of the job.  It is a job to pay the bills, and Nicky has more than her share of bills after she broke up with her boyfriend and got stuck with an expensive lease she can't afford to break.  When she receives word that social media star Olivia Hayes would like Nicky to be her ghostwriter it is both a godsend and something of a dream come true - Olivia is famous for her picture perfect online life, and Nicky is enthusiastic about working with her.

That enthusiasm lasts about as long as it takes for Nicky to arrive at Olivia's home, a restored country estate, and discover that in her haste to respond to the email she has arrived expecting to stay with Olivia - while Olivia was expecting her to book into a B&B.  An already awkward situation is made worse by the impression that Olivia is aloof and distant, seeming to want Nicky to keep her distance even when they are supposed to talking about the things Olivia wants in her book.  Every attempt to bring Olivia out of her shell and sharing the information Nicky needs seems to backfire and bring up her barriers instead, and after a few days it becomes clear that Nicky may have to do her own research to find the information she needs to complete the book.  Living in Olivia's home is rather intimate and shows Nicky more than she expected, but it is the story about the fire that destroyed the house that is starting to attract Nicky's attention - and if Olivia won't play ball maybe Nicky can write a story of her own.  

You can trust me is a book of two parts, a thriller that slowly builds the tension and mystery, testing your ability to see through the story to pull the puzzle pieces together.  Nicky is a likeable character who seems to be very determined, if a little na├»ve and lacking in confidence.  Olivia is the opposite, someone who seems so perfect and put together in her public life, but at home she is guarded and dealing with her own issues.  As Nicky learns more about Olivia it is easy to forget that you are reading a work of fiction, all too often people discover that their social media idols are not what they appear to be - that they are all too human like the rest of us.  Giving too many details will ruin the discoveries you make along the way, but this was a very enjoyable read.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Sunday, July 26, 2020

Perfunctory affection by Kim Harrison

Meg is an artist, who has struggled with depression since her mother died, and social anxiety since her boyfriend Austin was badly injured in an accident when she was driving.  Her lifeline is her therapist Dr. Jillium who has been teaching her strategies and counselling her through her bouts of anxiety - and who also placed her on a new medication that seems to be working wonders.  As Meg moves from the trial run of Fitrecepon to a therapeutic dose she has high hopes that the drug will help her regain control of her life.  It has been lonely at home since Austin moved out to giver her space, and it has been challenging at times to deal with the number of students who have flocked to her classes at the University to learn her new and innovative painting technique.  

There's a lot of pressure to be perfect - pressure from the outside and from within.  Fitrecepon seems to be miracle drug, Meg feels better almost immediately, and things get even better when she meets Haley and Rorry.  Haley is a visiting professor at the University, and she is dazzling in ways that Meg never thinks she can be, and Rorry is charming and attentive.  With Haley and Rorry by her side Meg is able to try new things, able to open doors she thought had been closed forever, and they support her in ways that Austin doesn't.  As their friendship grows it's like a veil has been lifted and Meg is starting to realise that Austin is holding her back, and that with support from Haley and Rorry she might finally be able to move forward.  The only thing worrying her is the sudden attention from a homeless man who calls himself Christopher, and warns her that if she can see 'them' she is in danger.  Meg is scared, but also determined to take advantage of Fitrecepon - but at what cost?

Perfunctory affection is one of those annoying books that was amazing to read but a nightmare to review - purely because this is a book written to be uncovered chapter by chapter, and any review runs the risk of exposing the little twists and discoveries that make the story so amazing.  This is a well written and totally absorbing book that I devoured in one sitting, determined to find out what was going to happen in each successive chapter - only to reach the end faster than I expected!  Meg and her world are very real, even though they are not described in exhaustive and minute detail, you the reader are left to fill in some elements with your own imagination and minds eye, but that's what I prefer anyway so I was thrilled to pick up a book I could read and enjoy rather than wade through.

Perfunctory affection was a real treat, and while it is not in the same vein as The Hollows, it was very well written and left me very satisfied at the end.  It can be challenging for an author to create a new world when they are well known for a particular series, but this is well worth the read for existing and new fans alike.  There is nothing particularly gruesome, horrifying, or particularly adult themed in the book, so it is also a good bridging fantasy for teenagers looking to read adult fantasy.

 If you like this book then try:
  • Omens by Kelley Armstrong
  • Summon the keeper by Tanya Huff
  • Dead witch walking by Kim Harrison
  • Eight million gods by Wen Spencer
  • Dark descendant by Jenna Black
  • Moon called by Patricia Briggs
  • Spiders bite by Jennifer Estep
  • Alien taste by Wen Spencer
  • Blood price by Tanya Huff
  • Kitty and the midnight hour by Carrie Vaughn
  • Children of the night by Mercedes Lackey
  • Moon called by Patricia Briggs

Reviewed by Brilla

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Sticks and stones by Katherine Firkin

Detective Emmett Corban is head of the Missing Persons Unit in Melbourne, and it is a position he is beginning to regret accepting.  His small team works on cases from all over the area, picking up where other teams leave off, and his boss seems to be completely underwhelmed by the work Emmett and his team do.  Working through the cases can feel like going through the motions, especially for people like Rosemary Norman who seems to be constantly on the move and unreliable in their employment.  The case seems to be going nowhere, and then a second woman goes missing and Emmett and his team are faced with the prospect of balancing multiple missing persons cases at the same time.  Natale Gibson is the complete opposite of Rosemary Norman - she is dependable, hard working, and has a loving husband and children waiting for her at home.

When Rosemary Norman's body is discovered, it changes from a missing persons case to a murder case - and finding Natale becomes an urgent priority.  It is not an easy case to work, especially when they discover that Rosemary's body has been marked by the killer in a most unusual way.  As they dig deeper and deeper in to the lives of the two women, they uncover surprising facts and carefully hidden secrets.  As the long hours keep Emmett away from home, his wife is taking the first tentative steps towards a new career as a photographer - balancing her working life with her roles as a mother and wife.  As Emmett is dragged deeper into the case and spends more time in the office, Cindy spends more time with her photography tutor Michael, who seems to have a deeper interest in her than she expected - a deeper interest she may share.

As Emmett and the team look into the backgrounds of the victims and the people in their lives, they uncover secrets that could tear some lives apart and change others forever.  It soon becomes clear that there is a killer on the loose in Melbourne, one who shares his story in flashes of is past, a little boy pushed to the limits by a junkie mother who died and left him alone in the world.  A little boy who struggled to find his place in the world, and one who learned that the old saying sticks and stones may brake your bones but words will never hurt you is a lie.  How many victims will be enough for the killer, and what will happen if Emmett and his team can't find him in time?

Sticks and stones was an addictive read that brought together the past and the present to create a taunt thriller where Emmett and the Police in the Missing Persons Unit are given the unenviable task of trying to uncover a killer and stop him before he leaves any more victims in his wake.  The story is told from a number of different perspectives, building the story as individual strands that are woven together as the story builds, bringing together snitches of the past and the present.  Through the glimpses into the past we get a sense of the killer and what motivates them, a broken and damaged little boy whose identity is carefully protected to keep you guessing until the end.  His story is woven around the personal stories of the main characters - not just Emmett and his family, and the victims and their families, but also people involved in their daily lives.

It is a story set in a very real world, one that keeps you hooked from start to finish.  I read a lot of crime and thriller fiction so it can be challenging to find authors and stories that are unique - ones that keep me hooked from start to finish - but Sticks and stones was definitely one of those books.  It will be interesting to see if there are any more books in this series, or if Katherine Firkin writes anything else of this caliber.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Thursday, July 16, 2020

The shadows between us by Tricia Levenseller

Lady Alessandra Stathos is beautiful, intelligent, determined to get what she wants - and deadly.  As a second daughter she must wait until her older sister is married off before she can join society and seek a husband of her own, but that hasn't stopped her from having dalliances with men in the privacy of the family estate.  The first boy she loved broke her heart and paid the ultimate price, a knife in his heart and a hidden grave.  After that first messy mistake Alessandra has learned how to control men through different means, blackmail is a wonderful thing.  There is one thing Alessandra wants more than anything, to be in control of her own destiny - to not be controlled by ancient laws and social controls that constrict her movements and her overall freedom.  

After years of finding creative ways to get her own way, Alessandra has come up with the perfect plan  to get all the power she desires.  She is going to marry the Shadow King and then kill him and take his power for herself.  It seems like a simple enough plan, but every eligible girl in the land is trying to attract his attention, and if they aren't then their parents are.  Alessandra knows she will have to be special to attract his attention, and she is going to use every skill at her disposal to get what she wants.  It is a simple plan, woo him, marry him, then kill him - but the best laid plans can come unstuck over the simplest things.  

Alessandra does indeed capture the attention of the Shadow King, but Kallias Maheras is not what she was expecting, and her game slowly comes unraveled as she learns more about him and the tragedy of his parents deaths.  Kallias is called the Shadow King because of the shadows that surround and protect him, the same shadows that protected his father - until they didn't.  As Alessandra slowly worms her way into his court she learns more about Kallias and why he is so guarded, and why so many people live permanently at court.  Each day she grows closer to the king and her goal, but each day also has an alarming effect on their relationship.  When the perfect opportunity arises to kill Kallias and get what she wants will Alessandra take it?

The shadows between us was a fantastic read full of secrets, magic, and strong characters.  Right from the start Alessandra was a powerful character who burst off the page with her determination to break out of the little box women in her kingdom were forced to live in.  She refused to be chaste and pure until her wedding, refused to be traded off on her fathers whim for a bride price she would never see, and she wasn't afraid to show her intelligence and cunning.  Kallias was a perfect counterbalance and compliment to Alessandra - wounded  by the past, untrusting and calculating, he was determined to protect himself no matter what the cost.  

The flow of the relationship between Alessandra and Kallias is what makes this book so special, it gave it realism and depth that is often missing in books with a similar vein.  The relationship is supported by a story that weaves together multiple strands to create a perfect whole - each of the characters has their piece of the story, and their piece of the drama.  Each of the characters also grows and develops, no one gets left behind or forgotten - and it is all too easy to forget that they are not real people.  This is a beautifully crafted story and a real treat for readers with a little something for everyone - drama, magic, mystery, and just a touch of romance.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Charlie Hernandez and the league of shadows by Ryan Calejo

There's nothing special or unusual about Charlie Hernandez.  He knows a lot about the myths of the Spanish speaking world because his abuela spent hours teaching them to him as he was growing up, but apart from that he hangs out with his friends, goes to school, and tries to avoid the attentions of the school bully.  Then one day Charlie comes home to find his parents missing and his home burnt to the ground, and suddenly he is unusual - his new temporary home is the police station, and that's where things get really interesting (and unusual).  With no warning a pair of horns grows out of his head, horns that he scrambles to hide and brings to mind one of the myths his abuela talked about, the one about the Morphling.  But surely he can't be a Morphling - they're just a myth.

When the horns disappear and he goes to live with a temporary guardian it seems as though life is slowly returning to normal, even if it is not the normal he is used to.  Then another strange manifestation happens when he is at school, one that is much harder to hide than a pair of horns.  The only bright side is that the coolest girl in school, Violet Rey, has finally noticed Charlie and wants to hang out with him.  Sure she's bossy and nosy, great traits in an investigative journalist, but not always great traits when you are trying to move slowly and cautiously.  As Charlie and Violet dig into the mystery of his parents disappearance they come to the startling realisation that all the 'myths' his abuela talked about are not myths at all, and that they are going to have to face some dangerous opponents and keep their wits about them if they want to survive long enough to solve the mystery of what is happening to Charlie.

One of the things I really love about books (and series) is when the author takes the time to build a whole world for their characters, complete with mythology and beliefs.  In most cases those mythologies are made up or created based on our mythologies, and in the case of Charlie Hernandez those mythologies are from the Spanish speaking world - and they were an absolute treasure trove of characters that bring the story to life.  Some of the myths I was vaguely familiar with because of pop culture references, but the rest were fascinating and perfectly suited to the telling of the tale.  I can't vouch for how accurately the myths are portrayed, but they were well defined and seemed to follow a sound logic.  

It was also a treat to have a book that seamlessly blends together two languages, in this case Spanish and English.  We don't have a large Spanish speaking population where I live in New Zealand, but I had a Spanish speaking colleague for many years and many of the words were ones she used all the time so it wasn't too hard to figure out what was being said.  Having the blend of languages gave the story more authenticity and makes it more enjoyable as it makes Charlie and his world seem more real.  The characters are also well developed and leap off the page as complete people - with virtues and flaws in equal measure.  

A very engaging and thoroughly satisfying read, and I am already tracking down the second book in the series to see what happens next!

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Gathering dark by Candice Fox

Blair Harbour is minding her own business working a night shift when a young woman robs her at gun point and takes her car.  What the young woman doesn't know is that Blair is not your average night shift worker, she's an ex-con working in a mob owned store, and she has no intention of getting dragged into someone else's drama.  Quietly replacing the money that was stolen makes Blair feel a little better, that is until one of her former cellmates turns up out of the blue and says that the missing girl is her daughter and that Blair has to help find her.  Desperate to avoid anything that could lead to her going back to prison and losing custody of her young son for ever, Blair tries to wriggle out of it - but Sneak Lawlor is a determined mother who won't take no for an answer.  

As Blair and Sneak are dragged further and further down the rabbit hole of Dayly's disappearance, Blair finds herself tangling with even more unexpected people.  Desperate for help, Sneak is not above swimming with the sharks and there is no bigger shark than Ada Maverick, a street smart crime lord who has a brutal and violent reputation.  After seeing what Ada can do while in prison, Blair is not that keen to work with her, but Ada has connections they don't and seems to be able to connect the dots faster than they can.  As if working with a crime lord isn't flirting with danger enough, Detective Jessica Sanchez has been dragged into the case - the very detective who sent Blair to prison in the first place.

Each of the women has something to offer in the search for Dayly - and each of them has something they want.  It is a race against time to try and find Dayly, and each clue might bring them closer to Dayly, or it might bring them closer to danger.  Blair is desperate to keep her nose clean so she can gain custody of the son she has only seen since she was released from prison.  Jessica is looking for a distraction from her jealous partner who wants a piece of her multimillion dollar (recently acquired) house.  Sneak is desperate to find her missing daughter and is willing to do just about anything to get her back.  Ada owes Blair a debt from when they were in prison, but is that all she is after?

Gathering dark is a new stand alone crime thriller from Australian author Candice Fox.  I was looking forward to reading Gathering dark because I thoroughly enjoyed the books she coauthored with James Patterson, and because of her Crimson Lake series.  I was a little surprised to find the series was based in the United States, but that surprise is quickly forgotten once the story starts with a bang.  All of the characters hold their own in this fast paced story that seems determined to drag you along for a breathless ride in record time.  Through Blair we get to experience her desperation to stay 'clean and legal' so she can gain access to her son, and through the other characters we gain a more complete view of a world that would otherwise be narrow and paranoid (because lets face it, any parolee is going to be paranoid around the Police).  

Without wanting to spoil any of the twists and little subplots, this was an excellent read and shows that Fox is able to write more than one type of story in one country.  I would look forward to more books featuring Blair Harbour and her 'world' if that was a possibility, but I would also look forward to reading more books in a similar style if Fox were to write more.  The cherry on top was that my mother also enjoyed the book, although she did say it wasn't what she was expecting - but that was a compliment not a complaint.

If you like this book then try:
  • Never never by James Patterson and Candice Fox
  • Crimson Lake by Candice Fox
  • Vodka doesn't freeze by Leah Giarratano
  • The nowhere child by Christian White
  • Eeny meeny by M.J. Arlidge
  • City of the lost by Kelley Armstrong
  • What was mine by Helen Klein Ross
  • The better sister by Alafair Burke
  • The vanishing season by Joanna Schaffhausen
  • Killing trail by Margaret Mizushima

Reviewed by Brilla

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The liar's daughter by Claire Allan

Joe McKee is dying of cancer - despite surgery and chemotherapy he has months or weeks left to live.  Returning home, Joe is depending on his stepdaughter Heidi to care for him, but she has her own family to care for, including a young daughter.  Heidi is struggling with more than just the pressures of all she is expected to do, she is also struggling with her relationship with Joe.  To everyone else Joe is the man who selflessly raised Heidi after her mother died, something he was not required to do as he was not her real father.  Heidi wishes he hadn't though because her childhood was not one she enjoyed, not just because of Joe, but also because of his daughter Ciara.  Ciara was angry about her parents separating, and she resented Heidi and made her life hell when all Heidi wanted was her friendship and help.

Now Joe is dying he is trying to meet his end with a clean conscience and having made amends with his two daughters.  When Heidi reaches out to Ciara at Joe's request she hopes that things might have changed, but she quickly discovers that Ciara is just as cold and distant as she was when they were children - maybe even more so, as she has moved on with her life.  With Joe rapidly approaching the end, Heidi invites Ciara and her family to help care for Joe and they come, but Heidi is still under a lot of pressure.  

When Joe dies earlier than expected it seems like a blessing in disguise - until the Police start treating his death as a murder, and those closest to him as suspects.  Already stressed and anxious, Heidi starts teetering on the edge, pushed towards a breakdown and desperate to keep herself safe.  As Ciara and her Aunt Kathleen start dropping hints to Heidi's husband Alex, Heidi's desperation grows - because there are parts of her past that she has never told anyone, especially not her husband.  As the investigation into his death continues, more and more secrets are uncovered - but which was the one that pushed someone to take Joe's life?

The liar's daughter is a crime thriller that tests your ability to sift through the information and clues in the story of Joe - in life and in death.  If you take the book at face value Heidi is unstable mentally and cold towards the man who raised her after her mother died, but as you learn more about Heidi, and Joe and his family, you learn that things aren't that black and white.  There are themes in this novel that are difficult to stomach, even though Allan doesn't drag them out or dwell on them, incest and child sexual abuse are at the core of the story and they make for some very uncomfortable moments in the story.  It is very easy to connect with the characters and what they are going through, and the crime story woven around Joe's death is well written and drags you along for the ride if you want to be or not.  An uncomfortable but engrossing read.


If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The runner by Stephen Leather

Sally Page works for MI5 in a junior position known as a "footie" - a person who helps keep legends authentic by paying bills, shopping with loyalty cards, and keeping up a social media presence.  It's supposed to be a short term gig for a few months before agents move on to more exciting work, but Sally has been working as a footie ever since she knocked her boss back when he made advances one night.  It's not easy watching other footies come and go from their office hidden in a suburban house in Wimbledon, but Sally stubbornly remains professional and does her job, working away in the office.   It isn't easy working as a footie, the routine can be repetitive and boring, and because you work for MI5 you still have to follow all the rules of other agents and not tell anyone what you do.  

It isn't dangerous work being a footie, well not normally, that all changes when Sally goes on a coffee run and comes back to find her colleagues dead and armed men in the house.  Unarmed and not trained to work in the field, Sally does the only thing she can - she runs.  The men start to stalk and hunt her across the streets of London, and Sally's only hope is to reach the relative safety of Thames House and her colleagues.  As the men hunt her Sally runs, which may not seem like a lot, but Sally lives to run and she can run like no one they have ever seen before.  As she learns more about why the men are chasing her it does little to change the fact that Sally will need to keep running to save her life in a race against time, and against a determined enemy that thinks nothing of leaving a bloody swath of destruction in their wake.  

Thrillers can be a little hit and miss, especially if they try and be too clever - but The runner hit just the right note and was a thoroughly enjoyable and engrossing read.  Sally Page seems so ordinary, but she has a very unordinary time, dragging other people into the story along the way.  Stephen Leather has written a thriller that starts with an ordinary scene and slowly builds and develops so that you have the whole picture of what is happening, and the thrill of wondering what the ending will be.  Sally is a likeable and believable character, as are the other characters that help keep the action and storyline on track.  There are the expected characters, but they are well developed and don't come across as two dimensional or completely cliched.  

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla