Two Part Review Event: If I Run by Terri Blackstock


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Published: 16 February 2016

Publisher: Zondervan

Category: Mystery/Suspense/Christian Fiction

Casey knows the truth.

But it won’t set her free.

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.

I’m a huge fan of criminal intrigue shows like Law & Order, Criminal Minds, or Rizzoli & Isles. When I was contacted by Sarah Miniaci, a publicist from Zondervan, with the opportunity to read Terri Blackstock’s books in the If I Run series, If I Run and If I’m Found, I was excited because the summaries sound nothing short of fast paced and intriguing. As I’ve gotten both books to review, I will be doing a two part review event, starting today with the release of my review for If I Run and concluding tomorrow with the If I’m Found review.

Rating: 4 Stars

The book starts out after Casey, the main character, revealing that one of her close friends is dead. Murdered. And it looks like she’s done it, though she hasn’t and she knows it. The problem is her DNA is all over the crime scene. Rather than contacting the police, Casey immediately goes on the run. While that might sound like a bad decision to make right off the bat, she does have her reasons for distrust and as she flees we learn about her past and her character.

Casey has a tragic past, compounded by the death of her father when she was young. Having found the body, there was some trauma to be sure, but there’s also her surety that what appears to be a hanging death is not a suicide after all as others would have her believe. Given this event in particular, I understand why she’d have trust issues. Still, she’s very intelligent because as she’s fleeing from the crime scene, she makes clear decisions in regards to mode of transportation, her physical appearance, etc. I admire someone that can keep a clear mind under pressure.

The book is told from two points of view, the second being that of Dylan, a former army member coming home with PTSD who attempts to get a job as a police officer but is unable to because of said PTSD. Instead, he becomes a private investigator and is sent after Casey. For all his issues, he is very good at his job. By taking the bits and pieces left behind, he begins to put together a trail and finds out more information about Casey and her past, leading him to wonder whether what he’s been told about her and this murder case is all together true.

Both points of view were handled masterfully and I felt like they had a distinct voice to each of them, an important factor when writing in this manner. I didn’t have a preference for one over the other, but I took from both the strengths of each character and saw how they were working in the daily events to bring their narratives closer together.

Something I loved about Casey was that, while she was running from the law and trying to find out the truth about her friend’s murder, she never let it blind her to the injustice she saw around her. Under an assumed identity, she meets a woman who is also the victim of losing a family member, though this lady (Lucy) doesn’t know what happened to her. Unable to let this rest, Casey puts herself in even more danger from another angle to try and find justice for someone, if not for herself.

Casey and Dylan were well written characters that I admired both for their courage and determination. One, on the run from murderers that have all the power, still fights for someone else’s family, knowing that to doubt, to not know what happened to your family, is a horrid thing to live with year after year. The other, struggling with PTSD and putting his life back together after war, is trying to find justice for his friend and the family left behind

While not all loose ends or answers are given by the end of the novel, I saw real growth in the primary characters. Casey’s fate is yet to be determined by the end of the novel, Dylan is still on her trail, but is there hope in sight? The only way to find out will be to read If I’m Found, the second book in the If I Run series.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

All pictures, quotes, and videos belong to their respective owners. I use them here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

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