Thursday, March 3, 2016

Review: If I Run by Terri Blackstock

Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

ARC received for review

From the cover description I knew I had to read this since I adore suspense novels and I was quite pleased. The story immediately drew you right in and kept you glued to the pages as you tried to decide whether Casey was guilty or innocent. I also really liked how the narrative switched between Casey and Dylan as well. That gave the reader an interesting perspective and actually made things more rather than less complex and helped to underscore the complicated dynamic between the two.

I genuinely enjoyed the fact that the author did not make it immediately clear whether Casey was a crazy killer or completely innocent. It kept me guessing throughout and really added to the suspense in a Gone Girl sort of way.

The ending was unexpected and really quite refreshing for a book of this type. It was certainly not how I imagined things playing out but I was left quite a bit more satisfied than if they had been resolved the way I'd expected.

What I was not fond of was Casey herself. I wanted to like her, I really did, but she came across rather like the heroine in a Harlequin novel. She was annoying, selfish, and genuinely unlikeable, and I felt absolutely zero sympathy for her during her adventures. Dylan, also, was straight out of a Harlequin novel. He was the dashing former military man - yawn.

Also, what brought this from four stars to three was the author's unusual choice to give the book a religious tone. From the author's notes it's quite clear that the author is a hardcore Christian (the entire four pages mention God, Jesus, and the Bible at least once in every sentence while dismissing evolution and the Big Bang) and she has brought that viewpoint to the book. I felt the references to God and praying in the book to be unnecessary and it really took away from the enjoyment of reading. It was a niggling feature that kept the book from being a real "wow" experience.

Overall, this was a very well thought out and written story with plenty of twists and turns that kept me intrigued but the annoying characters and religiosity kept it from being truly satisfying. I certainly recommend it to those looking for a suspenseful read that will keep you wondering every step of the way.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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