Saturday, August 29, 2015

Run (Charlotte Marshall Mysteries Book 1) by Becky Johnson

Rating: 3/5 Stars
Author: Becky Johnson
Available Formats: eBook & Paperback
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Publication Date: 06-11-14                  Pages:  198
A decades old mystery and a deadly game of cat and mouse will change Charlotte Marshall forever. 

Charlotte has a good life: friends, family, a successful career. Her perfect life is destroyed when research for a book and a connection from her past plunges her into the middle of her worst nightmare. On the run, with no one to trust, Charlotte begins to unravel the work of a sadistic murderer. Afraid and alone, she will learn the meaning of trust and just when to run.

My So-Called Review: 
Run centers around Charlotte Marshall, an author who is suffering a bout of writer’s block. She remembers an unsolved murder of a local girl from her childhood and hopes that by researching the case it will spark some new ideas for her novel. But the more she researches unsolved cases, the more she notices a connection between other murdered girls and the one from her youth. When she believes she has a solid trail of evidence which link the murders to that of an unknown serial killer she decides to turn it over to the FBI. Unfortunately, the agents she meets aren’t exactly jumping on board with her theory; but Charlotte figures she’s done her part and can walk away. Shortly after leaving the FBI she’s attacked and almost kidnapped by a masked man before she narrowly escapes. What’s most shocking is that her attacker spoke to her, he speaks of the murdered girls as his “babies” (creepy!) and tells Charlotte he will show her exactly what he did to them (more creepy!). The fact that nobody BUT the FBI knew of her theory makes her realize the murderer must be someone on the inside. Charlotte knows her only chance of survival is to go on the run, stay off the grid, and try to figure out the identity of the murderer.

Despite only rating this book 3 stars there were many things I really enjoyed about it. Like the cover, I don’t know what it is about covers with dark woods and silhouettes of people hiding or running but they draw me in and make me want to read. I also really enjoyed Charlotte’s character; she’s relatable, slightly eccentric, and has an extreme love of her cat and dog, refusing to go anywhere without them. This story initially pulled me right in and had all the aspects that I traditionally love in a thriller. Especially once Charlotte realizes she must go on the run, I enjoyed how smart and clinical she became. Knowing exactly how much time she had at home to grab what she needed, including her animals, and pack up her car before the killer could potentially find her. She counts off the exact minutes it takes her to do everything I really cause some great, edge of your seat moments within the story! The story is continued in this style as she stays constantly on the move, trying to make it difficult for anyone to find her. Even when an FBI agent that she spoke to offered his help, I loved that she didn’t immediately agree to his help. She remained leery of him even after she cleared him as a suspect from her list, it was nice to see that she didn’t “fall into the arms” of a man willing to protect her.

The reason for my rating is two-fold. First, I really found it hard to believe that Charlotte, an author, was able to put together in a few days what the FBI could not in 30 years. I have no problem suspending belief when it fits the story but this was a little too much belief to suspend. This wasn’t the only time it happens either, it seemed like whenever Charlotte needed answers the information was easily available to her online. This may be the case for the general public but she’s investigating FBI agents and consultants so how could it be that easy to track down all their information? Handled differently, I think that these plotlines could have been believable if the author created some complex scenarios that explained why the FBI missed the links and how Charlotte was able to obtain so much information about their agents.

This leads me to my second reason for the lower rating. In my opinion, it’s extremely hard to make suspense and psychological thrillers work as short stories. There was so much potential for this book to be amazing, all the building blocks were there but in order to make the story fit into 198 pages so much was skimmed over. Too many things felt rushed and not thoroughly explained which lead to the issues I mentioned in the previous paragraph. I would love to ask the author why she chose to make this a short story and not expand on some of the obvious plot holes and inconsistencies. Overall I enjoyed Run, it was a fun book that I was able to read in one sitting, I just felt it could have been so much better. I’m interested enough to want to see where the author takes the series and if she changes these issues within future books so I will definitely be looking for book two when it’s released. I would recommend this for fans of mysteries and thrillers that aren’t overly complex and fall on the lighter, fun side of reading.

Thank you to Enchanted Book Promotions and to author, Becky Johnson for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
About the Author:
Run is Becky Johnson’s first published novel, but not her first book. Books are Becky’s passion and always have been. She used to get in trouble in school for reading during class! Becky has Master’s degrees in social work and history, and for her day job she is a social worker. In her writing she tries to answer a question that is important to both social work and history: Why? She always wants to know why people do the things they do or feel the way they feel. When not reading or writing she enjoys yoga, running, cooking, and makes a pretty mean chili! 


  1. This is such an intriguing book! Great Review Jen! :)

    Donita @ My Random Book thoughts

    1. Thanks so much Donita! I really struggled with how to rate this one because I did enjoy it a lot :)