Ebook review: Desolation Run by James Snyder

Publication date 10th October 2013
About the author: “James Snyder was born in Memphis, Tennessee and fell in love with the cadence and sound of storytelling as a child, listening to the meandering tales of his Southern grandmothers and great aunts.”
From the dust cover: “70-something Oreny “Big” Johnson has a problem. Actually, he has two. Or maybe three. The first is that he’ll be dead from cancer, less than a year, which doesn’t particularly concern him: “Things I’ve been through, dying is just one more page in a long bad book.” But spending his last living days, taking his last living breath, behind steel bars does. That’s the second problem: Inmate #78903 in the notorious level-four Washington State prison known as Horseneck Bay.
Then there’s the money. Two million dollars of stolen military payroll, supposedly buried in some remote and mysterious south-Texas mountain range called Los Despoblados, or The Uninhabited, which sounds to Oreny like one of those places his Mama Maybell always told him to avoid. But he’ll worry about that later. He has to get there first. Problem number three.
That’s when he brings those two smoldering dynamite sticks he’s attached himself to–his Luke-boy and Jaime–on board to help his tired old body break out of Horseneck and go dig up that money and then hightail it across the border into Mexico. And when they do break out, and Luke decides to bring his girlfriend Lauren along, and her enraged ex comes after them, and then the manhunt starts multiplying faster around them than those cancer cells inside him, Oreny still thinks he can control them. The problems, that is. At least, until Cade arrives.
Cade, the prison investigator Oreny knows is dangerous and unpredictable as a six-foot-two wolverine on eight gallons of adrenalin gone bad. And who won’t stop until he catches them and does to them what Cade does best.
Cade, Oreny knows better than anything else, is their biggest problem of all.”

My Ebook review: meandering and full of character Desolation Run takes its time over 310 pages to tell a number of stories. Every character takes us on a detour to pick up their history, secrets and drives. There is therefore not a straight arrow through the book that I could readily point to and say: that is the point, there is the intended destination. Relating to the characters on anything but superficial level was a challenge that I was not up to. They were well written and interesting but there was no point when I felt drawn to hope for a particular outcome. I became a simple voyeur into the lives of a diverse set of people who need never have known about the existence of the others without the simple choice of Oreny to chase one last dream.
It meanders, the plot, with little clarity of purpose, but like the river there is a clear destination and we get there just as certainly. All we need is the patience to sit on the river.
It will be a book that is well received by many who like a rough and tough story of unexpected and at times gruesome interactions of man.
Did I enjoy it?: I enjoyed the descriptions, the prose and the characters, these were all rich and deep and interesting.


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