Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Running Dark

One would expect that when ultramarathoner Emma Caldridge is blown off her feet by a car bomb near the halfway point of South Africa’s Comrades race, she would call it a day. Emma, feeling the ill effects of the run even before the bomb blast, is too stunned by the explosion to protest when a stranger injects her with a mysterious drug via the EpiPen in his hand. All she knows for sure is that the drug immediately has her back on her feet, her race injuries are quickly healing, and she cannot wait to get on down the road. From this point, the plot of Running Dark moves as quickly toward the finish line as Emma does.

Running Dark is Jamie Freveletti’s second novel featuring Emma Caldridge and Cameron Sumner and much of what happened in the first book, Running from the Devil, has an impact on character relationships in Running Dark. Most importantly, Cameron Sumner saved Emma’s life during a hostage situation in the first book, and in this one, she is determined to return the favor.

For much of the book, Freveletti aptly juggles three separate, and exciting, plotlines. The first involves Emma’s efforts to identify the performance enhancing drug she was injected with, and to make her way to a cruise ship off the coast of Somalia where Cameron Sumner is desperately hoping to hold off the Somali pirates trying to take it. The second plotline focuses on the cruise ship itself and Cameron’s efforts to organize the crew and passengers in a way that gives them at least a fighting chance against the pirates. Cameron has smuggled a sniper’s rifle on board the ship but, with the exception of a supersonic noise generator, that is about the only real weapon he has. The third plotline follows the efforts of Darkview Security’s Edward Banner and Carol Strohmeyer to fight off the efforts of the mysterious “Vulture” and a ruthless Senator who want to shut the company down.

Each of the plotlines is interesting but the most suspenseful one involves Emma’s determination to get to the ill fated cruise ship. Once she finally gets to the region, the support organized by Darkview starts to break down and she is forced to think on the run if she is to survive the ordeal, much less actually board a cruise ship already under the watchful eye of a big shot Somali pirate. Freveletti closes the book with a frantic fight to the finish between thirty or so pirates and a handful of people trying to create weapons from what they can find on the ship.

Running Dark is filled with impressive, and likable, characters, and readers will want to follow them into their next adventure. I do wish that their first book backstory had been told in more detail, but that is a small quibble.

Rated at: 4.0

(Review Copy provided by Publisher)


  1. Sounds like fun read, but I'm with you. When a bomb goes off, I go home.

  2. C.B., I think I deleted your comment by mistake while trying to get rid of a spammer who commented after you did. Sorry about that.

    But, yeah, getting blown off my feet by a bomb would have ended my day in running shoes for sure.