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Night Runner    by Max Turner order for
Night Runner
by Max Turner
Order:  USA  Can
Griffin, 2009 (2009)
Softcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Zack Thomson has been raised in the Nicholls Ward (a mental institution) since his parents died. He's not there because he's nuts but because he has a 'degenerative blood disease' and it's the only facility capable of handling his extreme allergies and required nocturnal lifestyle. His best friend Charlie visits him at night, and Nurse Ophelia looks after him and makes special blended brain cocktails, the only nourishment his body can handle.

Zack's life changes the night a man (who looks seventy) crashes his motorcycle through the lobby doors and warns Zack to get a move on as 'He's coming. Run!' Though the cops shoot the old man, he gets up again and sprints away. Then an uncle (Max) Zack never knew he had shows up to inform Zack that his archaeologist dad was really a vampire hunter, and that an ancient vampire (Baron Vrolok) killed his dad, savaged Zack as a child, and still hunts him. Though there's no cure for Zack's condition, his uncle assures him that there are ways to cope.

Before his uncle can return to remove Zack from the institution, Ophelia goes missing and Zack flees with the 'crazy old motorcycle man', who offers what turns out to be only a temporary refuge. On the run again, Zack turns to Charlie, who hides him in a tool shed at his island cottage and traps squirrels to feed him. On evening outings with his friend, Zack meets Luna. When his enemies catch up with him, there are killings, betrayals, and big surprises as Zack's friends are pulled in to his strange and dangerous world.

Night Runner, first in a new series, portrays a world in which vampires and humans coexist, though most of the latter are unaware of the nocturnal predators in their midst. Zack grows up fast after being ejected from his protected and controlled environment. He quickly experiences first love and learns of the real world dangers to his kind. It will be interesting to see what adventures Max Turner throws at his young hero next.

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