You Can Run – Trevor Wood

After his award winning debut trilogy featuring homeless detective Jimmy Mullen, Trevor Wood took the decision to end the series on three. After the popular and accolades, that’s a pretty bold decision and one I wish more series authors would be brave enough to take. I could name four big name authors whose series I loved the first few books but have become so tired – almost pastiches of themselves, that I’ve given up half way through on them in recent months.

So, the big question is – was the risk worth it? And how different is it?

Answering the second question first: very different.

Set in a fictionalised Northumberland village You Can Run starts quickly and keeps going at full tilt in a far more adventure based narrative than the Jimmy Mullen books. If I could see the Jimmy books being turned into a BBC series, then You Can Run feels like a streaming service limited series.

So, the plot:

Ruby is a sixteen year old girl living with her reclusive father in a village where even having lived there pretty much her whole life, they are considered ‘outsiders’. (So far, so accurate to the North East).

When a stranger in army dress knocks at the door and confronts her father – a confrontation that ends in violence, Ruby is forced to go on the run, relying on the same neighbours she has felt so isolated from, against a threat she does not yet understand.

It’s a fast moving story which at times reminded me (albeit without the non-horror/ sci fi) of a book like Firestarter – a father and daughter relationship trying to face up to authority where we quickly switch focus from the adult to the child as the protagonist of the tale.

Given we follow Ruby for the majority of the book there is a risk it can come across as a Young Adult novel (as one or two reviewers have commented), but Wood provides a cast of secondary characters, each with their own backgrounds to play which brings a multi-faceted story on. Fans of the Jimmy Mullen books won’t be surprised by the ability the author has with a cast of characters or infusing humour into tense situations – and if this stand alone (for the moment) doesn’t have the underlying social commentary that the author’s debut trilogy had, it is a good old fashioned (in the best sense of the word) romp of a thriller. And that seems answer the first question.

Available in Hardback, Audio and Kindle now. Paperback coming September 14th.

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