I had an advanced reading copy of a novel that seemed to have a very interesting premise with a blend of horror, the supernatural, and maybe even a crime theme that I found almost irresistible so I just knew that I had to dive right in to “The dead run” by Adam Mansbach as quickly as I could even though I had never read anything by the author before.
The United States/Mexico border has often been a kind of throwback to the Wild West. With corrupt law enforcement and gangs that wield strong influence over everything and even people hunting down others in the name of protecting their country, this is not a place for the weak of heart. Jess is not a weak man even though he would prefer peace over battle. He cannot, however, sit still and watch injustice and thus finds himself sent to a Mexican prison for his attempt to protect a woman who was about to be raped in a seedy Mexican bar. He is given a rare opportunity to get out of the prison if he can transport a strange box into the U.S. He accepts this mission without asking what the catch was.
North of the border, a teenager named Sherry finds herself on the run from a cult that is looking to make her a virgin sacrifice. With the aid of her friend, Eric, and a honest sheriff and her mother’s psychiatrist, Sherry must remain alive as the leader of the cult seeks to use her as a means to gain control of the legendary Virgin Army. Aided by a biker gang and his lead enforcer known as “The Rod of Corrections,” the cult leader has Sherry fleeing for her life. What the connection between Sherry and Jess is and what all of this has to do with a strange Mexican named Cuy Cuy, the Virgin Army, and a disembodied heart is something that will only be discovered if Sherry and Jess can stay alive long enough to finally meet and hopefully defeat the leader of the deadly cult.
“The dead run” was a good action/horror hybrid of a novel. The supernatural is an integral part of the story by the horror aspect of it is not heavily emphasized. While there are enough horror elements to satisfy fans of the genre like me, it is not so much to keep a broader range of readers from enjoying the novel. In fact, I thought that this book read a lot like a Dean Koontz novel with a horror theme as a backdrop to more of a thriller although there is a little bit more horror in this book than in Koontz’s more recent works.
“The dead run” is a good novel that is sure to satisfy both fans of horror and thriller novels. Mansbach weaves these elements together to craft a story that is both exciting and terrifying at the same time. With enough elements of horror to satisfy even a jaded fan of the genre, he still manages to keep the story moving at a breakneck pace through the action of the novel and rockets the reader toward the chilling conclusion in a manner that keeps the few holes in the story covered with pacing and action. While “The dead run” is not a great novel, it is still good enough to send chills down the readers spine while keeping the reader turning the pages to see what will happen next. Mansbach handles the tale with a deft hand the left me wanting for more and I will definitely seek out more of his works in the future.
I would like to give a special thank you to Harper Voyager and Edelweiss for this advanced reading copy. “The dead run” will be available from Harper Voyager on September 24, 2013.