Saturday, January 26, 2013

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: ‘Red Run’ takes a unique look at unique people



I’m always interested in books from Michigan writers.

Rob Cornell is just that.

After finishing Cornell’s ‘Red Run,’ though, I have to give him credit for being more than just a Michigan writer. He’s a gutsy writer, too.

‘Red Run’ is the story of single father Ethan, who is woken one night because his teenage daughter has been found beaten and killed. Ethan’s son, Graham, is also missing – but he eventually shows up, although he's hazy about his whereabouts.

What follows is a very visceral reaction by an immature father that is realizing his limitations. Ethan became a father to Graham when he was a teenager. Not learning his lesson, he became a father again a few years later.

Over the years – which you find out through the winding narrative – Ethan realizes his shortcomings and tries to do better by his children. He leaves his drug addicted wife, Rain, gets a job and tries to be the father he never had himself.

While all this is going on, suspicion starts to fall on Graham – who was seen with his sister the night she disappeared – while Ethan is fixated on his ex-wife’s abusive boyfriend.

The mystery at the center of ‘Red Run’ is complex. I think what I liked best about the book was that Ethan is not an entirely likable guy. He has faults. He makes mistakes. He doesn’t make the best decisions – even now.

On the flip side, his ex-wife Rain is really hateful. She’s a typical drug addict who refuses to take responsibility for the decisions she has made in her life.

Then, later, when her son’s life is on the line – she still puts herself first.

I don’t want to go into a lot of details about ‘Red Run,’ because spoilers will hurt the central mystery. For fans of the genre, though, this is a must read. For fans of book with a Michigan connection, this is also a must read.

The book isn’t perfect, though. Pretending it is would be a misnomer.

There are a decent amount of grammar mistakes, and there are a handful of situations that don’t come across as believable – especially for a guy who is supposed to be in tune with the criminal elements of the dark Detroit streets.

Still, in the end, the outcome of the mystery will stick with you – and the characters are memorable.

‘Red Run’ is available on Kindle for $2.99.

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