Blake Crouch’s Run is an Apocalyptic Thriller on a small scale. A strange Aurora appears over the United States, only visible from parts of southern Canada south to northern Mexico. The effects are to ‘enlighten’ those who actually witness it. It is described as “the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see” and those who see it are driven to kill those who did not. Suddenly, they’re reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System. You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they’ve just read yours.
Your name is Jack Colclough. You have a 7.62×39 ammo for sale wife, a daughter, and a young son. You live in Albuquerque, New Mexico. People are coming to your house to kill you and your family.
Jack, his wife Dee, daughter Naomi and son Cole pack the Land Rover quick and head out of town. Equipped with 8 gallons of water, whatever canned food was in the house, a Mossberg Shotgun, a.45 auto and a thousand dollars worth of never been used camping equipment, they run for their lives. Before they can get out of the garage, they are confronted by Kiernan. Dee’s lover. Kiernan has “seen the light” and in this tale those who have seen the light are driven to kill, maim, torture and extinguish those who have not. And they can automatically tell if you have seen the light, but you are not afforded that luxury. All you can do is Run. Trust nobody. Be very, very scarred.
I highly recommend this 80,000 word book. Fans of Stephen King and Dean Koontz will love it. The novel opens, like a foot race in short ‘scenes’, almost made for a movie director and quickly, as the race progresses, finds a pace and a stride which is both fast and deliberate. Along the way a fractured, modern family comes back together and forms a bond that is more satisfying than any modern convenience or comfort and they learn to survive and rediscover those skills needed for survival. Jack and Dee heal their love, which will guide them back together when they are separated by time and space. The children, Naomi mid teens, and seven year old Cole learn to trust the instincts of their parents and to work together. They learn to sacrifice for each other, to endure pain and hard ship, to each contribute beyond their personal limits. They learn or relearn what it means to be a family and just how important that is.
Along the route of this race, towards Canada (where they have heard people didn’t see the aurora and aren’t ‘effected’), they must replenish their supplies, find sanctuary, search for answers- learn who to trust and who to avoid. This is no Independence Day where the President will heroically call the survivors together -it is very much what you could expect in an apoplectic scenario. Your world gets very small and time is tight now and you don’t make plans beyond the next can of cold beans. There is no communications, no cell phones, no radio, no nightly news. There is no micro waves and no fast food or even electricity.There are no leaders to guide you out of the wilderness, there is just you and those you love and slowly rediscover the value of. They also must learn who they can trust, and discover that even those unaffected people may not have their survival at the top of their personal To-Do List.
The only fault I could find with the novel is that a few times I wanted to grab Jack by the shirt front and shake him. Here he is, low on ammunition, and Walmart is not exactly selling ammo anymore, and he leaves guns and ammo, as well as other potential supplies and equipment, behind. Once when he has to kill a couple that have chased him into the cold foothills bent on taking his and his families life. And again when they discover an out of the way mountain cabin where the elderly couple that own the place have committed murder-suicide instead of trying to survive. It seems to me that even the most naïve city slicker would instinctively pick up the guns! Come on, Jack! get with it.