Book Review: If I Run! (First Book of this Fiction – Mystery – Murder Series)

God forbid if one day your best friend winds up dead, and you become the prime suspect in their murder, what would you do? Casey Cox, the lead character of the book If I Run, finds herself in  this exact situation when she finds her best friend, Brent, dead in his apartment. Instead of reporting the police, she hits the road to avoid being arrested. If she did not murder her friend, why does she leave her family, friends, and life behind in the place where she spent most of her life? For one simple reason: she does not trust the system. A few years ago, when her father was found dead in his house, the police had declared that he had committed suicide; however, Casey did not — and does not, even today — buy that story. The sudden closure of that investigation broke her trust in the law and order. Mr.Pace, Brent’s father, hires Dylan Roberts as a private investigator to search Casey. Gordon Keegan and Rollins, the cops who are investigating this case, are not happy with Dylan’s involvement in the case, but there is nothing they can do about it. Dylan, who had been an excellent friend to Brent, begins his investigation while dealing with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Running from the justice system is never an easy task, I imagine, and the description of Casey’s emotions, while she is on the run, is commendable. Her feelings of loneliness, fear, affection for her family, and immense grief begin to surface as soon as she plans to leave the town. Terri Blackstock, the author of the book, narrates her overly emotional journey flawlessly. There are no elements that she forgot to include. As a reader, I enjoyed the plot and found it hard to put down the book before reaching the last page. The author’s creative imagination is at work throughout the book. From breaking her phone to getting off the bus at different stops, Casey implements various methods to escape from the cops. Her actions are in sync with a common person’s logic, and thus, maintain the overall believability of the plot. The diversity of the plot by introducing Dylan’s medical condition, other supporting characters, and a variety of incidents keeps the reader hooked to the book. The author’s ability to eliminate monotonicity in a plot — such as this one — exhibits her extraordinary imagination and writing talent.

Other than the “girl on a run” theme, this book introduces a wide range of important facts and lessons. Casey, who is not a believer, begins developing faith in God. Of course, it does not happen overnight — if it had, it would have been bizarre. This gradual development of the faith scores a bull’s eye because it is very close to reality. When we do not find anything and anyone to turn to, we tend to look at God to fix our problems. We should believe in him always, but how many of us really remember him in our prosperous and joyous times. Casey’s suicidal thoughts and her technique to shoo them away should work as a guideline for many people who deal with such thoughts on a daily basis.

The introduction of Dylan Roberts in the story troubled me because I thought that now the story would become too predictable: Dylan would find Casey, then he would fall in love with her, and then he will help her escape the cops. I turned pages waiting for the story to go down this predictable path; however, to my surprise and relief, this is not one of those stories. I am glad that the author did not embrace the easy road and implemented her logic to entertain the readers. A love story in the middle of a crime investigation has become a cliché, to say the least; it is not something that I, as a reader, want to read over and over.

Having said that I would have liked the book more if the chapters had thought-provoking or interest-building titles, instead of the names of the characters. Although I see her purpose in giving these titles, I don’t think that as a reader, I enjoy this sort of titles. Moreover, there are some unanswered questions related to Casey’s mission to rescue a girl — can’t write this line clearly without giving away too much; therefore, leaving it as it is. I hope the whys and the hows of Laura are explained in the next book of this series.

I would rate the book 5 out of 5 stars. A troubled daughter’s quest and determination to find the truth of her father’s untimely death is spell binding. My heart goes out to the people who are falsely accused of murder and are forced to run all their life. Terri’s powerful voice is evident throughout the narration of this book. It is now my obsession to read the next book of this series because I want to see the real culprits behind the bars. I would recommend this book to the readers who enjoy crime investigation genre.

P.S. I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

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