I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway. I entered the giveaway because it seemed like a different type of book and I’m trying to broaden the types of things I read. When I won the advanced, uncorrected copy, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
The story is about running. Not just marathons, either. Ultramarathons. I didn’t really know these existed until I read this book. You know how you watch a marathon during the Olympics and think “oh my god, how do those people run 26 miles?” Well, ultramarathons are between five and sixty-five, or more, miles longer than that.
This would take some serious dedication.
But Caleb, the ultramarathoner in this story, is literally and figuratively running. He’s running from 9/11, from an unfulfilled life, from fear of the unknown. When he… not exactly falls in love with, but falls for the companionship that new mom June and her sick baby daughter bring to the club he trains with, his carefully orchestrated world spins even further out of control.
Caleb’s brother is Shane. Shane does everything by the book. Sports, school, marriage, good job, kid. At least he does it by the book until Caleb asks him to use his good job to find a way to fix June’s sick baby. Then Shane becomes someone he doesn’t really recognize as he fights to get his brother back and save his little girl.
There is a bad guy in this story. It’s Mack, the trainer at the ultramarathon club Caleb joins. To put it mildly, he’s a cult leader. He dictates when his people sleep and eat, what they eat, who on the outside world they can talk to, and how long they run – usually 8 hours a day. He takes the money they make from working menial jobs and he “heals” them with kinetic energy. He gets his energy from the women who run for him.
I would have given this story four stars, because it was creepy and disconcerting enough to not put it down, if Mack had got what he deserved. It’s not a happily ever after, but it needed that.
(This is the review I wrote for the book on Goodreads, copied word for word.)