4.4 15
by Douglas E. Winter

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The buyers find us. Establish their bona fides.
Then, and only then, we run.

Burdon Lane is a businessman living out the American Dream in a shiny suburb of Washington, D.C. His business card lists him as Executive VP of UniArms, Inc., a legitimate arms dealer that's a front for a gunrunning empire. His girlfriend thinks he's a salesman. His best…  See more details below


The buyers find us. Establish their bona fides.
Then, and only then, we run.

Burdon Lane is a businessman living out the American Dream in a shiny suburb of Washington, D.C. His business card lists him as Executive VP of UniArms, Inc., a legitimate arms dealer that's a front for a gunrunning empire. His girlfriend thinks he's a salesman. His best friend thinks he's a role model. His boss thinks he's a good soldier.

This weekend's run should be business as usual — guns for money, money for guns — moving the product north on the Iron Highway from Dirty City to Manhattan. But this weekend is going to teach Burdon something he doesn't yet know about who he is . . . and isn't. When the meet in Manhattan turns into a five-alarm fire and an all-out war on the tenth floor of a New York hotel, there is only one way out: an uneasy alliance with a hard case named Jinx and the street gang known as the U Street Crew. And once the heat is on, with a cadre of killers and every police officer and Federal agent on the eastern seaboard on their tail, Burdon gets the chilling sensation that, one way or another, this so-called milk run may be his last.

This is the story of the last run, the run where no one — criminal, cop, or civilian — is who or what they seem.

Douglas E. Winter's debut novel blasts into the dark heart of America's culture of guns and violence with breathtaking velocity. Run is a streamlined tour de force of full-throttle action and high-tech weaponry, a brilliantly controlled ride through America's most brutal terrain, with a surprising moral message — fantastically harrowing, relentlessly cinematic,impossible to look away from.

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Editorial Reviews

Blue Murder Maqazine
Douglas E. Winter's debut novel blasts into the dark heart of America's culture of guns and violence with breathtaking velocity. Run is a streamlined tour de force of full-throttle action and high tech weaponry, a brilliantly controlled ride through America's most brutal terrain, with a surprising moral message-fantastically harrowing, relentlessly cinematic, impossible to look away from.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Relentlessly paced, this chase novel impressively captures the frantic energy and emotional panic experienced by an East Coast gunrunner forced to flee both his own gang and the law. Written in rough, gritty street vernacular, the story covers about 24 hours in the life of 40-something Burdon Lane, who is part of a large group of criminals transporting a shipment of guns from Washington, D.C., to New York City. Just as the deal is about to go down in a Manhattan tenement, bedlam erupts. As Lane takes cover, his own people start shooting each other, the gun merchants begin killing their own and men dressed in police uniforms but not acting like police mysteriously show up. Meanwhile, somebody assassinates a prominent civil rights leader marching in a parade nearby. When the shooting stops, Lane finds himself in possession of the $2 million intended for the purchase of the guns. He has no idea, however, what has just happened. All he knows is that he must run. Winter sets a torrid tempo for his electric narrative as the plot unfolds. Using cars, trains and his own feet, Lane escapes death time and time again as he makes his way back home to confront his boss about whether the gun deal was merely a diversion in a larger scheme, orchestrated by larger powers, to kill the black political leader. Winter, a noted horror critic and anthologist, has written a memorable debut novel. His otherwise fine outing bogs down only at the end, during a protracted, bloody battle that, for its impact, relies on violence rather than on cunning plot dexterity.
Library Journal
D.C. attorney Winter's first novel is a boring and exceedingly violent short story that seems to have been stretched out to novel length. Narrator Burden Lane, a gun-runner, goes with his best friend and several others on what is supposed to be a routine gun deal. In actuality, though, Lane has been set up in an assassination plot. He goes on the run, not knowing who to trust as he tries to stay alive. Winter's rambling writing style makes it difficult to get involved in the story right away, and his vague descriptions don't help. Even if Quentin Tarrentino and John Woo made a movie together the result wouldn't have come closer to the level of gratuitous violence in this novel. Run far away from Run. Not recommended.-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L.
Alfred A. Knopf
"With Run, Douglas E. Winter puts a battery up in the reader and ups the ante for thriller writers everywhere. Run has the hard, sharklike sheen of a Richard Stark novel and the bullet-riddled kineticism of early John Woo. Plan to stay up half the night." --George P. Pelecanos, author of Shame the Devil

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Product Details

Knopf Publishing Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
1 ED
Product dimensions:
6.62(w) x 9.65(h) x 1.15(d)

Read an Excerpt

once upon a time in virginia

So we're shaking down this Dickie Mullen guy, and the guy's your usual suburban shoot-shop owner, talks the talk about home defense and hunting season, spreads out copies of Guns & Ammo and Soldier of Fortune, sells crappy .38s to concerned hubbies and housewives, and all the while he's dressed up in the red, the white, the blue, it's the grand old fucking flag. They're taking away our constitutional rights comes out of this Dickie Mullen guy's mouth about as often as those fine patriotic words We take VISA and MasterCard. This guy couldn't defend a house against cockroaches and he wouldn't know a ten-point buck from a heifer, and right about now he's talking his talk at the lee side of the counter, an overfed gnome with capped teeth and a lame smile, and I really don't want to be here but the numbers didn't add up for the third time in as many months, and this upsets Jules, and the shop's on my beat so this upsets me. But what upsets me more is that this Dickie Mullen guy is talking a Hefty Bag worth of trash about this and about that, he is talking about anything but the numbers and why the numbers didn't add up, and I wish he'd come out and say it. Just look up out of the lies and say:

Hey, all right, okay, I've been skimming here and scamming there, but I need the money, owe the money, got to have the money. I got a wife, I got kids, I got a mortgage, and a little from a lot don't matter, can't matter, just should not matter.

Then he ought to say, and say very loud:

And after all, you are reasonable men.

I look at Trey Costa, who's leaning into a hardwood trophy case at the back of thestoreroom, right under the deer mounts and a rack of lever-action center-fires. Trey slips the sawed-off from under his raincoat, tips the barrel back over his shoulder, and starts cat-scratching its snout against the glass of the trophy case. Screech, screech, boom.

I look at Renny Two Hand, who just told this Dickie Mullen guy, owner and operator of Safari Guns in the Triland Mall in this bright little suburb of Dirty City, that there's no time for new lies. That's when Two Hand shoved the really meaningful part of that wicked Colt Python .357, a nasty handgun if I say so myself, to a spot two inches below the guy's belly button.

And while I'm taking the time to look, I check out myself, courtesy of the mirror behind this Dickie Mullen guy's head: solemn-faced and empty-handed. I do not draw down unless I'm going to shoot, but if looks could kill, dear Safari Guns, with its wondrous selection of overpriced foreign product, Taiwanese knockoffs, and well-oiled calendar girls in camouflage and string bikinis, would be redecorated in red right now.

The look I'm giving this Dickie Mullen guy, the stone-cold thing that looks back at me from the mirror, takes years of practice. If you can fake the sincerity, you're halfway home. So when I try on the face, now and again, I do want to laugh. But today it's there on its own, and I'm not laughing, this is not a laughing matter. Because, after all, there should be no doubt:

We are reasonable men.

Which is why I hit the spineless fuck in the face.

His head snaps back and red spit leaks out from between those too-real teeth. On cue, Renny hoists his pistol from gut level and points it down on this Dickie Mullen guy's dome.

Now that we have his attention, it's time to talk.

Hey, pal, I tell him. I say this one time. So listen up and listen good.

Here's what I tell this Dickie Mullen guy.

I tell him:

You have the right to remain silent.

I tell him:

If you choose to speak, anything you say can be used against you in a court of law.

I tell him:

You have the right to talk to a lawyer before we ask you any questions.

I tell him:

You have the right to have a lawyer with you during questioning.

I tell him:

If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be appointed for you before any questioning if you wish.

You have all these rights, I tell him. And, if some cop says so, maybe even a few more. But what you don't have, pal, is the right to fuck around with me.

That's when I hit him again. And then I nod, and then Renny cocks the hammer, and then I happen to believe that Dickie's little dickie just pissed his pants.

You got a nice business here, I tell him. And you ought to keep it that way. But hey, you've been selling off the books.

I look down into the display case of pistols and I cannot believe the crap this Dickie Mullen guy is peddling. Just like I cannot believe that Jules Berenger and I are selling it to him.

You want to keep out of trouble, pal. You don't need this shit. If the state cops or the ATF come sniffing round here, then my friend with the gun comes sniffing round here, and sooner or later I have to come and pay you a visit. Not that I don't like a friendly chat now and then, but I'm about done with the talking. So you keep things in order, pal. You sell your stock over the counter and you send in those little forms to Treasury. You know why?

He hesitates, shakes his head: No.

I cannot believe this guy.

Because it's the law, dumb shit. It is the fucking law.

I pass him a handkerchief.

Now wipe your face off.

He looks at the hankie like it's an alien life form. Then he gets the idea and starts mopping down. First the split lip, then the forehead, then he starts on his pants. Guess he gets to keep this one.

You got a wife, right?

Yeah, he says, but when I give him the look he locks eyes with me and says it right: Yes.

You got kids?


And a mortgage?

He looks at me funny but not for long. Then: Yes.

I point to the front door. So, I tell him. You don't open up today. You leave that closed sign hanging there, and you take the rest of the day off and you go home. You tell them all -- the wife, the kids, the mortgage -- that you love them. And then tomorrow -- well, tomorrow you come in here and you turn that sign over to open, and, hey, it's like they say: Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of your life. You got me?

Yes, he says.

I fucking hope so, I tell him.

But worms like this one never learn. Never. Guy probably cheats on his tax returns, cheats on his wife, maybe even cheats on his poker buddies. Next time this happens, and sooner or later there's gonna be a next time, he's gonna skim a little bit less, he's gonna hide a little bit more, the guy's gonna think he's getting away with something, and you know what?

That's when I'm gonna have to kill him.


one a.m.

Renny Two Hand's in the hot seat, drinking Bud Light out of a bottle and snaking a new cigarette from the battered pack on the bar. Some achy-voiced rock-and-roller, a dead guy, is droning on and on and he's not even in tune with these dentist-drill guitars. Five one-dollar bills are tented on top of the bar, and Two Hand is looking point-blank into the dancer's snatch like there's no tomorrow.

You ever pray? he says.

For what? I ask him, and he just looks right through me and says:

You ever pray?

Shawnee, that's this dancer's name, ha-ha, she lets down that witchy-woman hair, and she works her way over to me, and she wants me. I know she wants me because she smiles, a little sly smile, and then the little wink as she strides on past, high heels clicking in time to the beat. So she wants me. Yeah, right. She wants me to lay a little more green on the bar, and when I do, I get some good old hippy-hippy-shake, and then it's walk on down the line to the next guy, and then the next and the next, still smiling, still winking, still shaking, still wanting. Sweet kid, probably studies psych or sociology at George Mason University and dates a fraternity boy when she isn't giving blow jobs in the alleyway out back.

I'm leaning my head toward Renny Two Hand, trying to imagine what he's really saying to me through a night's worth of cigarette smoke, drugstore aftershave, gutter rock guitar, and the cheap talk of the Dauphine Steak House, and that is when I hear the cough. It's a nasty cough, the kind of cough that sort of stands right up and says: I'm a Glock.

Sitting on my cozy stool, nodding away to the music from the band with the dead guy, minding my own business and a lot of the naked lady who's strutting her stuff atop the bar, trying to think real hard about Bud Light instead of tomorrow, and with that cough in my ear, I realize there's no escaping a simple fact:

Guns are my life.

So I grind out Renny's Chesterfield and take a spin on the bar stool and there's this damn fool backpedaling away from one of the tables out on the dance floor. His chair's tipped over, and he's pushing a Spandex-bursting waitress out of the way with one hand and waving a Glock 19 with the other. Asshole.

Not that I don't like the Glock 19. It's my weapon of choice. Right about now I'm carrying two of them: one out in the glove compartment of my Mustang, the other one tight to the flat of my back, snug in a Bianchi holster.

Nice construction on the Glock. It's the original polymer pistol; some folks, the dumb ones, thought you could walk it through airport security. The G19 is compact, weighs thirty ounces loaded with a fifteen-round magazine, and the trigger pulls as smooth as taffy. Maybe it's just the cough that bothers me. Hearing it when it's not my own. That annoys me. Like shooting one of the Beretta 80s, those little .22s that sort of spit when you squeeze them. Or the MAC-10: On full auto, sounds like a cat pissing.

I used to like my weapons loud. Let's face it, when the shit goes down, so deep that it's time to shoot -- well then, you ought to make a statement. The old Springfield 1911A1, standard-issue Army .45, spoke up with a bull roar, scared the shit out of anybody, anything. Which was helpful, since it's a bitch for anyone but a pro to score hits with old Slab Sides from more than about twenty feet. But that four-five talks like it looks: big and mean. I keep mine in a footlocker, way up in the attic, with a pair of my old fatigues, a picture of my high school sweetheart -- that bitch -- and a map of the provinces. That's where it belongs: put to rest, another buried dream.

Don't even think about it, I tell myself, and then I say it aloud to Renny Two Hand, who's finally fallen out of the beer-and-babe fugue and noticed that something's going down. He looks from the asshole on the dance floor to me and then down to the cuff of his right pants leg, which no doubt hides a heavy something with a barrel and a trigger and, if I know Two Hand, a high-capacity magazine. I snag his jacket, ready to hustle our happy asses to the fire exit and out of this nonsense. Trouble is something you just never need.

So through the huddle comes this well-armed asshole from the outland, Manassas maybe, wearing torn jeans, standard-issue black Metallica T-shirt, a flannel overshirt, and about five too many beers. He shakes his sloppy blond head and slow-dances back into the jukebox. That band with the dead guy -- now I remember, it's called Nirvana -- starts singing in double time. Little wrestling around, then cue the scream. So the asshole's got a Glock. Full magazine, maybe, and he's shot one time. Could be lots of bodies rolled out of the place by Springfield EMS, but that one's beyond Vegas odds; no way he's serious. Drunks are rarely serious about anything but fighting or fucking, and like most drunks this asshole isn't much capable of either.

By now the piece is pointed at the linoleum. The first of the bouncers, a skull-shaven Marine probably moonlighting out of Quantico, makes his appearance, gives him the old okeydokey take-it-easy routine. Hands up, smile and a nod, smile and a nod, one step closer, one step more.

The jarhead gestures to the ceiling and when the asshole looks up -- told you he was an asshole -- the Marine whales him with what the boxing announcers like to call a solid right to the jaw. Down and out for the count. Stick a fork in him, this one's done.

I look over at the table where the commotion started and there's another spud there, another black T-shirt, another flannel shirt, another pair of jeans, and he's looking at his left thigh like it just sprouted an eye and winked at him. He's saying oh momma oh momma and wiping blood back and forth in his hands like it's grease.

I look at my watch, which reads nigh on one in the morning. Last call for blood and alcohol. A black-and-white ought to be wheeling around any minute now. So:

Th-th-that's all, folks.

Ren, I say, let's call it a night.

Yeah, he says. A night.

He pulls back the last of his Bud Light and shrugs himself up off the bar stool. It's hard to believe he can walk.

I drop a fiver on the bar for dearest Shawnee, she shakes her tits at me, and we're gone.

Sucking cold air on the blacktop parking lot, shaking out the smell of cigarettes, I'm taken with one of those Twilight Zone thoughts, and this time it's the idea that, while we were being entertained, the mighty suburb of Springfield, Virginia, slid into a deep black hole. Then I realize the power is out along Backlick Road and its rat maze of mini-malls. And how much I hate the dark.

I steer Renny toward the Mustang. A couple beers, that's all. The age-old promise, man-to-man. So we had a couple beers, did our business, traded the keys, and seven p.m. rolled into nine, and we had a couple beers again, and round about eleven the bottles and the dollar bills formed up ranks on the counter. A nice drunk, until the coughing fit.

I try to remind Renny about Thursday, about why we traded the keys, but he's giving me the Ren routine, hands waving out at nothing in particular, clearing the cobwebs, no doubt searching for the clever exit line. An unshaven and gimp-kneed Shakespearean. All the world's barrooms and parking lots are a stage.

Ah, the smell of blood after midnight, he finally tells me and the parking lot and the black, black sky and the red-and-blue lights of the police car whirlybirding down Franconia Road toward us. It's the smell of --

There isn't a pause; it's a gap. His face goes loose, and he takes a long look back at the Dauphine Steak House like he's left his best friend, which is me, inside. The silence doesn't stop. I stand there until it's just too much.

The smell of . . . what? I ask him.

His face comes back at me, a full moon that shines on with nothingness. Then:

You drive, he tells me. He hooks his fingers into his belt, hoists his jeans, and wobbles on to the car.

That's my partner, Reynolds James -- aka Renny, aka Two Hand, aka The Wrap -- for you: Always starting something but never getting it done.

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Run 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book, along with Thomas Perry's "Butcher's Boy" and "Sleeping Dogs," I always make sure I keep a backup copy of before lending out. So glad it is now in ebook.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Pointless and badly written I found the story only vaguely engaging and the characters boring and flat. In a word: garbage.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just got this book for X-mas. Started to Read it and the plot pulled me in. I loved it. I would Read it again. This book started me reading again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The pace of this book is ruthlessly fast. Winter lets the story and its characters carry itself (at a good clip), putting aside the dull exposition that litters most contemporary thrillers. It withstands multiple close readings as well as any classic, and is full of moments of truth, as when Lane, toward the end of the book, stands on his suburban street and yells, 'I am your neighbor. I am your f***ing neighbor.' It takes a while for that to sink in, but once it does it reveals the complexity and depth of this brilliant novel. These gun-wielding characters are not detached fabrications--they are the the kind of people with whom all Americans share a country, a culture, a neighborhood. Winter tries to get every word right, rather than resorting to the kind of hit-or-miss bombardment of verbiage of much contemporary literary fiction. This really is a book not to be missed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Leaving aside the technical irritations of no punctuation for speech I found this book to be cliched and pointless. The plot, if you can call it that, was really substandard and the characters two dimensional. Not worth the money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! What else can I say. The unique style of writting that Winter uses is amazing and drew me into the story even more. Winter knows just how to piece action and dialogue together so that the reader is still left wanting more at any moment. The action scenes were the most amazing bits of literature that I had read in a long time. I tip my at to Winter and i look forward o reading more by him soon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I tell my friends about RUN, I tell them it's very Tarontino-esque, but it's so much more. Burdon Lane is your ultimate anti-hero and you can't help but root for him from the very start. Winter's pace is breakneck and the twists are unseen, I can't wait til his next novel. I urge anyone who likes a gritty, urban thriller to pick up this book-you won't be disappointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was a well written and exciting book, as the main charachter says ' by now you've figured out that I am not the good guy' well that may be true but I can guarantee you will be rooting for him any way!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I love the language, the style Winter uses. After reading Run, every other book seemed dull, too factual and too formal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I primarily know Douglas E. Winter as one of the first people to write a biography of Stephen King back during the eighties and also as the editor of PRIME EVIL (a collection of short stories by some of the leading ¿horror¿ writers of the eighties, featuring Stephen King¿s ¿Nightflyer¿) Now, with his first novel, RUN, Mr. Winter clearly demonstrates his ability to write a successful, in-your-face thriller that not only entertains, but leaves the reader lying on the floor, totally exhausted from the adrenaline rush, feeling as though he/she has just run the fastest mile in history. Whew is all I can say! RUN is the story of Burdon Lane, a Vietnam vet who has a wonderful home, a fabulous girlfriend, and works as a professional arms dealer for UniArms of Alexandria, Virginia. It seems that UniArms is a legitimate cover for its owner, Jules Berenger, a man who understands that the real money is in the illegitimate selling of weapons to whomever has the cash. When Lane is asked to help broker an illegitimate arms deal to the 9 Bravos¿a bunch of New York City gangbangers¿he gets a very bad feeling about the whole situation. Berenger has arranged for a Washington D.C. gang (the U Street Crew) to act as protection for the UniArms people when they meet with the 9 Bravos. Lane¿s instincts, however, are correct. The arms deal is nothing but a setup for something much, much bigger, and Lane is one of the people designed to take a fall for what transpires. It isn¿t long before he¿s running for his life. The Feds are after him, along with the police, his own people from UniArms, and the two gangs. Lane doesn't know who to trust;but, if he can survive for the next twenty-four hours, he may have a chance at living to a ripe old age, unless he decides to do something stupid like take his Glock 19s and go after the men who set him up to die. RUN is like the Japanese ¿Bullet¿ train, speeding by at a 120 miles an hour. Once you get on for the ride, there¿s no getting off till the last page is turned. The character of Burdon Lane, though not your ordinary hero, does have his own code of honor and is certainly loyal to his friends. This doesn¿t mean that he¿s the good guy. Lane is a killer, and you definitely don¿t want to be standing in his way when he comes barreling down the highway looking for revenge and total annihilation. The rest of the main characters (Fiona, Jinx, CK, Daddy D and Jules Berenger) are also cleverly drawn. They each add to the plot, as well as to the story¿s pacing. A number of surprising twists and turns let the reader know rather quickly that no one is quite what they appear to be. I want to point out that this is a violent novel with a high kill ratio, but it also has a strong message with regards to what the availability of guns is doing to our country. Finally, I should also add that Mr. Winter has an unusual style of writing that takes several pages of reading to get used to. For some peculiar reason the author doesn¿t like to put quotation marks around the dialogue. At times it can be a little confusing to the reader, but it¿s a small price to pay for a novel of this caliber. I highly recommend RUN to all who enjoy an extremely fast-paced thriller, and I hope it won¿t be long before Mr. Winter writes another book of equal excitement.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great book. I thought the odd way he wrote this in the first person would eventually do me in, but i ended up loving it. It was so crisp and snappy. It was very unique in the way it was written and i thought that it was a pretty origional story. The end had twists that really took me by surprise. This is a must read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't read horror novels. I don't enjoy slasher flicks. I read classics and the occasional fantasy. But Run is the best book I've read in years. There's not much to say in a review. The excerpts don't do the book justice. I work in a library and happened to pick up the advance reader's edition before I closed on New Year's Eve. I missed the party. I won't deviate with much commentary on how effective the Winter's modulations on the perspective are. (He adapts to stream of consciousness so subtly that I missed the transition. All I knew was that when reached the end of the chapter, my hand was shaking. The scene with the train, you'll understand after you read it.) He's the next Faulkner. He disturbed me, but held my attention. So I'm not a professional critic. Douglas Winter is. This won't end up on the back of a later paperback, but I don't care. I'm not even encouraging yanyoneou to buy it yet. That's what libraries are for. Find this one. It's
Guest More than 1 year ago
Douglas E. Winter has written on of the most memorable thrillers in years. The plot comes at you with breakneck speed and the author's stream-of-consciousness narative will intstantly transport you into Burdon Lane's world gun-running, violence, and double-dealing. What Winter has done is elevate the hardboiled novel to a whole new level. Fans of Elmore Leonard, Andrew Vachss, and James Elroy will consume this novel like the feast of mind and soul that it truly is, for while violence, death, and deceit are the elements that tumble out of control in Burdon Lane's life it is ultimately his humanity of this self-admitted 'bad guy' that redeems him. You will remember Run for a long long time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Run' by Doug Winter is an action-packed gun fest of the highest caliber. A noted horror critic, editor of horror anthologies and a writer of short fiction, Winter makes a big, bloody splash with his first novel. Written in the pared-down syle of next-generation 'Dutch' Leonard, 'Run' will leave you gasping for your second wind as you sprint along to the slam-bang end. I would love to see the author turn his creative energies back to his roots and write a horror novel next. I have the feeling he could inject new blood into the anemic genre of dark ficion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have to admit that when I first saw this book, I had no interest to read it. I started it one night when I had nothing else to read and was immediately hooked. The writing style is different from anything else I've ever read. This is one of those books that grabs you at page 1 and doesn't let you go until the very end. When you do finally get to the end, you wish there were more to read. I'm very glad I decided to read this book and hope you decide to give it a try as well. Hopefully, like me, you won't be disappointed.