Strengths: Some very original plot lines, very gripping reading at times.
Weaknesses: Sometimes it was difficult to work out if Shyler was meant to be a ‘goodie’ or a ‘baddie’.
Why I read it: From Random House Australia – thank you!
Pages: 323 (eARC)
Setting: Maine, America
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Run to Me is one of the more original thrillers I’ve read recently. Why? To start with, one of its heroes is a ten year old boy, Zack. Zack has had an awful life to date – rejected by his mother in favour of a new partner, multiple foster homes with neglectful carers and now he’s being chased by a group of people who think he saw something he shouldn’t. Add to that two younger foster brothers to look after, and Zack’s got a lot more on his plate than many adults.
One of the other main characters is Shyler; a reclusive woman who retreated to a cabin in the remote Maine woods after her son was killed in a mugging gone wrong. Shyler can’t stand to be around children and rejects any attempt at help, even from the local doctor. She lives a life carving wooden figurines in exchange for food and services. As we read on, we find that Shyler’s version of events may not be correct…
The narrative is fast paced for the majority of the novel, as Zack tries to keep his brothers safe. When he teams up with Shyler (who thinks he is her dead son), the action becomes even more cut throat as they try to save themselves. Shyler’s mental state deteriorates during this time, becoming more paranoid, and it’s difficult to see if she will redeem herself (even though you will hope that she does, she’s a likeable character). I found myself wondering if Shyler’s version of events was in fact real at times.
Hester’s ability to devise a masterful plot comes out in the chase scenes. Her characters make use of every opportunity and resource available to them to defend themselves. I also liked how the environment was used to remind Shyler of the traumatic loss of her son and how the action seemed to suspend itself as she tried to confront her demons.
I would have liked to know a little more about why the ‘baddies’ (namely Vanessa, Nolan and Tragg) wanted Zack and his brothers after supposedly observing something in a warehouse. It would have been interesting to know a bit more about Lazaro and what he and his colleagues were up to.
Dr Chase Hadley was an excellent supporting character and added a bit of normality to a plot where everyone else had something to run from. His incredible patience made him quite desirable!
I also enjoyed the ending to the book – quite fitting with the hope of redemption. I’d be very interested to see what Diane Hester brings out next!