RUNNING DARK by Jamie Freveletti


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Biochemist-cum-action hero Emma Caldridge, barely recovered from her frightening Colombian adventure in Running from the Devil (2009), is drafted by a Blackwater-like security firm to help save a cruise ship and its dangerous cargo from Somali pirates.

In Running from the Devil, Freveletti's debut, Caldridge survived a plane crash in the Colombian jungle and aided the rescue of surviving passengers who were taken hostage by guerrilla soldiers. In this sequel, she is blown “out of her shoes” by a roadside car-bomb blast while running an ultramarathon in South Africa, but she finishes the race in full stride after someone injects her with a mysterious performance-enhancing substance. Before she can figure out who injected her, she is making her way to the Gulf of Aden on assignment from the security company, Darkview, to infiltrate the cruise ship and determine what is hidden in its cache of pharmaceuticals. It's a dangerous job: “Somalia has a way of devouring whatever falls in its path. But as Emma says, ‘Who better than a chemist to figure this out?’ ” And how can she not become involved, what with the man who saved her in Colombia, attractive government agent Cameron Sumner, on the ship? Stocked with ruthless warlords, grenade-launching baddies, duplicitous middle men, a stoic pilot and, let's not forget, the deadly box jellyfish, the book is squarely in the Peter Benchley mode, only with a female hero front and center. But while it’s efficiently plotted and competently written, it lacks involving characters and a compelling voice, and it often reads more like a blueprint for a movie than a novel.

Decent story, by-the-numbers execution.

Pub Date: June 29th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-06-168424-1
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2010