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Night Runner


Night Runner

My name is Daniel Zachariah Thomson. Everyone calls me Zack. I live in the Nicholls Ward of Peterborough Civic Hospital, and this is the story of how I died, twice.”

Growing up in a mental ward is pretty…boring. Zack experiences an extreme allergic reaction to the sun, so he spends all his days sleeping and his nights are filled with running on the treadmill, reading his favorite books, and his must-have “brain cocktails” that are similar to strawberry smoothies. Zack wouldn’t say that he’s crazy, but lucky to have a place that took him in after the tragic death of his parents at an early age. The coma that ate up the early years of his life didn’t help either. Zack is well-fed and happy and doesn’t ask for much --- until the night when his life changes forever.

It starts with a crazed old man crashing a motorcycle through the lobby of the ward and telling Zack to run. Zack hesitates, and eventually the police bring the old man down with nothing less than 20 gunshots to the torso. Then an uncle who Zack never knew he had, Uncle Max, shows up to the ward and begins to explain the mystery surrounding Zack’s illness and his father’s death. Not only was Zack’s father, Dr. Thomson, a famed archeologist, he was also a world-class vampire hunter. Dr. Thomson was tracking a dangerous vampire, Baron Vrolok, when a temple collapsed, killing the doctor and nearly killing Vrolok. Vrolok would have died if not for a last desperate feeding on his nearest victim --- Zack.

Armed with the knowledge that he is, in fact, a vampire and that Baron Vrolok is looking for him, Zack has no choice but to flee the mental ward. He gets the chance when the crazed old man, seemingly back from the dead, takes him to a safe-house and fills him in on the brief but disastrous history of vampires. Just when Zack is starting to understand what kind of creature he is, the police show up and Zack is forced on the run again. He ends up calling upon his best friend, Charlie, for help and sneaks away to a cabin hidden away. There Zack quenches his thirst for blood on squirrels and deer, and even manages to forge a relationship with a local girl. Things are never as simple as they seem --- especially when you’re a vampire --- and Zack is about to learn that the hard way.

Uncle Max seems to have his own agenda for locating Zack, and it appears to have nothing to do with honoring family bonds. Baron Vrolok also wants to find Zack, and his endgame will no doubt involve a lot of blood. The police are after an escaped mental ward patient who suddenly is connected with a gruesome death. Zack is on the run again, but there is little chance for escape this time.

NIGHT RUNNER joins the ranks of the latest books associated with the current vampire craze. Max Turner’s debut novel takes some traditional folklore elements like supernatural strength and sensitivity to sunlight and mixes in a few modern tricks of its own. My hope is that the next installment in this fast-paced series spends more time on certain aspects of the story, such as Endpoint Psychosis, that deserve to be explored. If you’re looking for new and interesting takes on vampires, then NIGHT RUNNER should be added to your must-read list.

Reviewed by Benjamin Boche on October 18, 2011

Night Runner
by Max Turner

  • Publication Date: September 1, 2009
  • Genres: Fantasy
  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
  • ISBN-10: 0312592280
  • ISBN-13: 9780312592288