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'Runner' is a great thriller that also makes you think

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Runner by Patrick Lee

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"Runner" by Patrick Lee bursts off the page like Usain Bolt at full speed. Sam Dryden, an ex special forces soldier is on a midnight run at the seashore when he comes across a young girl named Rachel on the run from bad guys with guns. Before we know it, Dryden is hiding in a precarious position under the boardwalk. But although they escape the bad guys that time, Dryden and Rachel are soon racing to escape myriad search parties, amazing satellite imagery, and throngs of special forces soldiers. There are great car chases and near amazing escapes.

Why is Rachel wanted? Part of what makes Runner more than just the run of the mill thriller is that it delves into the issue of the government using the "super soldier" for illegal purposes. Think of ET being captured by the government and used by them. It seems that two military contractors have been independently working to develop drugs that create mind powers based on prior research from an earlier company. Rachel has escaped from one project, and the leaders of that contractor are hunting for her because of her talents -- which are a mystery to the reader at this point because she has been drugged.

However, Patrick Lee shows how the contractors are using the "super soldiers" to manipulate other people - marks- into committing disgusting acts and crimes. All the world needs is amoral military types controlling equally amoral "talents" to commit crimes.

The novel does falter slightly in the last third as Rachel's talent and past is revealed, but its the rare thriller that can continue a breakneck pace throughout the story.

This is a winning combination of fast paced action packed thriller tied to a disturbing look at how the government might choose to use "mind powers" in the future.

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