M. J. Crook

Publisher: AuthorHouse Pages: 366 Price: (paperback) $23.95 ISBN: 9781481726955 Reviewed: May, 2014 Author Website: Visit »

Runner is a contemporary romance novel about a successful 30-something woman who is happily single until she falls in love with two men: one who can read her heart and one who can read her mind.

Marsha is living a quiet writer’s life until the day she unexpectedly rescues Thom, who has fallen while running past her beach house. Feeling responsible for the handsome ex-Marine, she helps his aging mother with his care. At the same time, she meets attractive, sensitive Adrian and begins to fall in love.

As Thom recovers, he finds he can read Marsha’s mind. She is startled, then accepting. Slowly her feelings for Thom deepen as they indulge in telepathic conversations. Meanwhile, Adrian intuits and satisfies all of Marsha’s emotional needs and their relationship intensifies.

Runner fits the contemporary romance genre with suitable writing, appealing characters, appropriate dialogue and an interesting telepathy twist. The book, however, lets the reader down in several areas. First, the contrived plot points are distracting: Marsha deeply kisses Adrian only moments after they meet; Thom recovers, re-enlists’ and uses telepathy to capture a terrorist. In addition, the plot lacks motivation. Characters often say they are “compelled” to feel deeply, but the author never explains why, as in this comment Thom makes to Marsha: “There seems to be a bond between us. I can’t explain it better than that. I really don’t understand it either.” Neither does the reader, who needs more information.

The pace is slowed by frequent multi-page descriptions of daily minutia, deadening reader interest. And in a side note: Thom and Adrian’s names are switched in Chapter 19.

Runner has a promising seed of a plot and an interesting premise. Unfortunately, it lacks the depth that would allow readers to happily sink into the story.
Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Torrance, California
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