Saturday 18 February 2017

Hit the Ground Running - Mark Burley

Hit the Ground Running
Mark Burley
Blue Moon Publishers
ISBN 9781988279473
eISBN 9781988279480

This book was addictive from the first chapter. In some ways it reads like the 39 Clues, and in some ways it reads like Conspiracy 365 by Gabrielle Lord.  Or another way to maybe describe it would be a cross between a young Jack Ryan, Jason Bourne and Indiana Jones. And I do not throw out those three names lightly. This book has action, adventure, anthropology, archaeology and a mixing in of various mythologies and legends.

This book begins with Eric Bakker getting a video message from his older brother, it begins with "Eric-Mom and Dad are gone. I don't know what happened, but I'm going to find out." And ends with the sounds of a gunshot after a chase. And it seems like it is up to Eric to figure it out. Eric is at a new school in Canada, he has not made any friends yet, he has not even really tried. But between this message and his own uneasiness soon he finds he is relying on people he has just met and in much deeper than he ever expected.

In this first volume in the Hit The Ground Running Trilogy the action goes up and down the west coast, and then the climax is in Montana. Eric is our main protagonist but his new friend who joins him on the adventure is Tess Edwards, and she draws into their circle two geniuses Seth and Lakey Sawatzky. While Eric and Tess are gallivanting from Victoria to San Francisco and back the Lakey's are manning the computers, enhancing videos and photos and breaking into secure networks to help their friends out.

But this story is more than just grand adventure. There is a lot of internal dialogue as Eric tries to figure things out. Why he made the decisions he has made. How he is processing what is going on now. But there are some serious thugs, a very rich eccentric maybe bordering on madman, and some unknown forces all at play on the board. Soon Eric must make a choice about who to trust, even though his brother said to trust no one. For Eric is running out of options, all the key people he knew his parents trusted cannot be reached. So after figuring out where his brother is being held, and hoping his parents are there also, he must risk it all on a daring rescue.

The characters in this story are great. In fact the characters are one of the greatest strengths in the novel. But the pace of the action is also excellent, and the descriptions during some of the chase scenes, especially Eric's parkour, is thrilling and really helps transport the reader into the action. I average over 100 books a year, and this is an excellent fiction read. I know the marketing is towards the Young Adult but I am planning on giving it to my father who is 70 this year because I know he will love it. A great book and I look forward to the rest of the series!

Books by Mark Burley:
Hit the Ground Running Series:

Hit the Ground Running
Flows Like Water
Take Flight


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