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You Can Run, A Blockbuster Novel

Maria is a book reviewer, editor, and proofreader, as well as a master of public health, master gardener, photographer, artist, and writer.


It has been a long, long time since I read a book in less than twenty-four hours, but I absolutely could not put this one down. Well, okay, I did sleep, but not much else. I was invited by Ballentine Books of Random House to read the uncorrected proof copy of You Can Run, by former CIA analyst, Karen Cleveland, in exchange for an honest review. I already knew Ms. Cleveland to be a master storyteller, and this latest book, due out on August 31, 2021, has only confirmed that.

Fast-paced is an Understatement

To say this is a fast-paced novel is truly an understatement. Cleveland clearly knows how the counterterrorism and surveillance systems work and has used her knowledge to spin a compelling tale that is not only suspenseful, but truly frightening. Her books always have a surprising ending. This is a psychological thriller, and knowing this could actually happen is quite jarring. Maybe it already has?

Jill Bailey

Main character, Jill Bailey Smith is a counterterrorism analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency who vets foreign sources for the United States. The day she is coerced to approve a new source, code named Falcon, her world changes forever.

To have a child or any loved one kidnapped is every parent’s worst nightmare, but for those who serve our country at this level, it is a constant fear. The day she gets the call that says, “We have your son”, her world and her sense of security change forever.

Alex Charles

Alexandra (Alex) Charles is a journalist extraordinaire who is striving for a Pulitzer Prize, but who operates with only the highest of standards. Alex always searches for the truth. No sensationalism, muckraking or yellow journalism can be found in her work.

Two Strong Women

These two strong women eventually join forces, and fight to protect not only Jill’s children, but their country, as well. It takes a while, but after trust is established between the two, they work well together, and could make a great team if their careers were not so very different.

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How Important Are Awards, Anyway?

After realizing she is in the running for that Pulitzer, Alex begins to realize her constant focus on her career has led to an otherwise empty life. Jill simultaneously reaches a similar conclusion.

While she loved her work as a CIA analyst, and was a valued employee, Jill knows she would do anything to protect her children, and that her family and marriage have suffered because of her particular line of work.

She Already Had The Most Important Things

This book makes no insinuations that women’s careers are not important. It does, however, illustrate the threats our civil servants (both male and female) are under constantly, while also illustrating the detrimental ways in which dedication to career at the expense of all else can affect not only the one person, but loved ones, as well. As Jill said, “It took almost losing it all to realize I actually have it all.”

Clear Your Calendar

Clear your calendar, and plant yourself in your favorite chair. Be prepared for non-stop action in this page turner novel. You won’t be sorry you took the time to read this one. I promise.

What made The Grumpy Book Reviewer grumpy?

You Can Run is so well-written, there is very little for me to complain about. Mainly, the author fell into the current habit of many people: that of incorrect verb usage: bringing vs. taking, and bring vs. take. We bring things here. We take things there.

© 2021 Maria Logan Montgomery

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