Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy! I hope you’re all doing well. Today I’m posting my review of Hollie Overton’s latest thriller, ‘The Runaway’. Overton is one of my favourite authors and I have loved her previous books – and ‘The Runaway’ was no exception! It now sits on my “favourites” bookshelf, alongside her other two spectacular novels. So, keep reading to discover my thoughts…
ONCE YOU JOIN THE TRIBE, YOU’RE THERE FOR LIFE.
Becca Ortiz, Los Angeles Police Department psychologist, is fostering teenage runaway Ash.
But Ash can’t bring herself to trust a cop, not after what she’s been through. Her boyfriend Nate introduces her to the Tribe, his street-smart crew of delinquents and runaways, and Ash finally feels like she’s found a home among the homeless.
So one night, she disappears. And as Becca frantically searches for her missing foster daughter, Ash finds herself entangled in the shadows of a criminal underworld, beginning to realise that there may be no way to leave the Tribe without paying a deadly price.
** TRIGGER WARNING ** Explores the theme of homelessness and all the hardships that come with living on the streets. Substance abuse, specifically drug use, is explored throughout the novel. Scenes of extreme violence (both physical and emotional) are included, with some scenes describing the act of murder. Emotional manipulation and blackmail are central to the novel. The theme of infidelity and also fertility issues are explored.
‘The Runaway’ (October 2019) is Hollie Overton’s third novel, following on from ‘Baby Doll’ (2016) and ‘The Walls’ (2017). Overton is also a TV Writer and Producer, and she has written for shows on ABC Family, CBS and Lifetime. Overton’s father was a member of the notorious Texas Overton gang. She now lives in California with her family.
Overton’s novels have received positive reviews, from the likes of Publishers Weekly: “Overton throws in enough twists, turns, and surprises to keep the reader wondering what on earth can happen next,” Booklist: ” A fast-moving, increasingly compelling tale” and Love Reading: “A menacing, yet beautifully compassionate read.” Fellow author Tess Gerritsen also praised her novels, labelling her debut “a brilliant first novel that kept me transfixed and entertained until the very last page.”
‘The Runaway’ follows the characters of Ash and her foster mother Becca, whose lives are turned upside down when Ash becomes involved with a dangerous gang named “The Tribe”. It soon becomes clear that Ash and her family’s lives are in danger, and “The Tribe” will not rest until Ash has paid the price for her misdemeanours.
The narrative is told from the third-person throughout, with each chapter flitting between focusing on Ash and Becca. This narrative technique is up-close and personal at times, but sometimes distanced too, allowing for an in-depth perspective of the characters’ thoughts and emotions, as well as a distanced description of the events as they unravel. The narrative is easy to follow, yet still very effective.
Ash is my favourite character in the novel. She’s had a really difficult life, and has suffered a great deal of pain and heartbreak. She finally finds happiness in her home with Becca and her new relationship with boyfriend Nate, but it seems that even this new chapter in her life is doomed. Ash is by no means perfect and she makes many mistakes, but underneath her hard exterior, she is a kind-hearted and loving individual. She loves her foster mother Becca and will go to great lengths to protect her. Ash is an extremely well-written character, and I felt a great deal of sympathy towards her throughout the novel.
Ash’s foster mother Becca seems to have it all together on the outside – but on the inside, she’s also struggling. She has some secrets that she has buried deep inside, and when Ash goes missing, Becca is forced to confront her past. She is loving and caring, and is willing to give up everything to ensure that Ash is safe. Becca has also made many mistakes throughout her life, and she is forced to pay for those mistakes. Becca is another fantastically-written character, and I really connected with her on a deep level. I just wanted to give her a hug and tell her everything would be okay!
** TRIGGER WARNING ** (I apologise for any spoilers here.) This novel explores the theme of homelessness in great detail, including all the hardships and dangers that come with living on the streets. One of these difficulties that is greatly explored is substance abuse, specifically the drug usage present on the streets. Scenes of extreme physical and emotional violence are included, with some scenes describing the brutal act of murder. The themes of emotional manipulation and blackmail are central to the novel, as we see some characters become brainwashed by a dangerous individual. Finally, the theme of infidelity and fertility issues are also touched upon. All of these issues are explored with appropriate sensitivity – but if you feel that any may trigger a negative response, I suggest you skip this book.
As the narrative motors onwards, Ash finds herself in a very dangerous position. Becca must put her all into discovering where Ash is, and saving her from a terrible fate. But will she find her before its too late?
So, let’s talk about the ending! There’s a really dramatic end scene, and the characters must fight for survival. There’s plenty of action and drama – I simply couldn’t tear my eyes away, and just had to keep reading on. The events are all tied together brilliantly, and I was really satisfied with the end resolution. A fantastic ending to a fantastic book!
Overall, I highly recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy psychological thrillers, particularly if you’re interested in reading a book about homelessness and life on the streets. The characters are very well-written and the book spectacularly deals with some very difficult themes. There’s plenty of tension and suspense throughout, and an almighty ending. What more could you want?! I simply couldn’t fault this book if I tried!
Sound good? Click here to purchase ‘The Runaway’.
Happy reading 🙂