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by Douglas E. Winter

Onyx, 2001 $6.99, 390 pages (paperback reissue)
ISBN: 0451409809

Reviewed by Rick McMahan

Douglas E. Winter has been around the horror field for many years, his name being associated with some of the best edited horror anthologies, but his first foray into the novel is a pure, heart-pumping crime novel, RUN. The book is told from the point of view of Burdon Lane, a typical middle-aged white guy living in DC, struggling, like everyone else to make living. He looks just like any of the thousands of middle-class middle management people living in an average neighborhood with a forgettable face. Just an average Joe. Like everyone else in the rat race, Burdon has an average face and wears run of the mill suits, nothing flashy in his life, not even the two Glocks he straps on before he heads out the door to work. You see, Burdon Lane is a gun-runner, a middle level soldier in a corporation that does black market gun deals all across the good old US of A, and other parts around the world.

At the start of the book, Burdon is up front with the reader when he says he's not one of the good guys. He's a businessman on the wrong side of the law who just runs guns around the world. And this is supposed to be like any other run, no fuss, no muss. Burdon's people are suppose to take a shipment of very high-tech, very deadly guns up to New York City and arrange a set-down between the wildest drug street gangs of DC and New York. Sort of like any other Wall Street merger, only with hip-hop and AK-47s.

Of course, the run should be a milk run, but nothing is at it appears. The Big Apple milk-run turns into a bloodbath, a chaotic hell of death and destruction. And everyone wants Burdon Lane dead. The cops, the crooks, and even Burdon's own people are all gunning for him.

If this description seems chaotic and hectic, then I've conveyed the feel and pace of Winter's book in a snapshot. RUN is a maelstrom of violence; a tale where nothing is as it seems, and there are machinations within machinations at work, scheming and plotting, using the people as pawns of a larger conspiracy. Burdon Lane is not one of the good guys, but the reader sure is cheering him on as he runs for his life.

When I finished this book, one of the first questions in my mind was if this is Winter's first book, what in the hell will his second book be like?

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