Adrian Magson is the author of 20 crime and spy thrillers, including the Harry Tate series, the Lucas Rocco series and the Marc Portman series. His latest books are ‘The Locker’ (Midnight Ink - Feb 2016) the first in a new thriller series, and ‘Hard Cover’ (Severn House - March 2016), the third of his Marc Portman novels.
Tom Bale is getting known for his trademark shock openings, and this latest work, ‘See How They Run’ is certainly no exception.
When Harry French is woken by a noise in the middle of the night, with his wife Alice and baby daughter, Evie asleep by his side, he feels instinctively that something is wrong. But what could disturb them in their ordinary suburban home in Brighton? Well, Harry quickly finds out when a voice in the dark says, ‘Wake up, sleepyhead.’
In an instant, Harry and his family are plunged into a nightmare scenario with two masked and armed men threatening his daughter and assaulting Alice in an attempt to force Harry to give them information he doesn’t have – and has no way of getting. According to the men, a package has been delivered to the house in the name of Renshaw, and despite Harry’s protestations that he has never heard of the man nor seen any package, the men don’t believe him.
Harry is left feeling helpless, useless, unable to protect his family, and aware that all his beliefs about their pleasant life have been blown apart. And when the men finally leave, they tell him they are watching and will come back if he tries to tell the police or anyone else.
As they lie there, traumatised and unable to move after the men have gone, only Alice has an inkling about the reason for the invasion of their home, and wonders if she hasn’t made the worst mistake of her life. With daylight comes the realisation that they have to push the events of the night down deep, and try to get on with their ordinary life.
But it isn’t as simple as that, because neither Harry nor Alice can let it go, and each in their own way tries to cope; Alice by checking similar addresses in an attempt to find the mysterious Renshaw, and Harry by following a seemingly random encounter with a woman who appears to know far more than she should about the shock encountered by him and his family.
This is not a story about a normal couple suddenly transformed into a pair of ruthless avengers, making weapons out of kitchen implements and squeegee bottles, but of ordinary people thrust into extraordinary circumstances where their personal reality is shattered by events beyond their control.
In the way that he used what is still one of the best opening scenes I’ve ever read (in ‘Terror’s Reach’), Tom Bale rips into the story from the first line and doesn’t let up, portraying two people well outside their comfort zone and trying to retain their grip on a life suddenly turned upside down.
In a word - “Recommended”.