As our life becomes more and more a function of black ops, grey ops, and I’m hoping a few white ops as well, Spy Thrillers and other types of thrillers involving secret agencies, governments and shadowy organizations are becoming a genre all their own, and many times as well, reflective and even predictive of what is going on now behind the scenes, as well as of what is to come.
“Patriot Run” is a stellar example of this new and expanding genre. Self-described beginner author Benjamin Dancer stirs together an unlikely mix of characters, from a back woods town in Colorado to confront a situation none could have imagined. Characters change from good guys to bad, some stay the same, but the author never really tips his hand to what is going on until the last possible second.
Amidst the blue team, and the other than blue team, and the “El Cartel” Cartel mercenaries, ranging from pure evil to the morally ambiguous, to the downright disturbed, Benjamin Dancer paints the portraits of some very fine and courageous people; Billy, the teenage protagonist, comes of age in a rush of circumstance, pressure and tragedy. His mother and the Sheriff of Patriarchs Run are all good people caught up in a meat grinder of intrigue. Without giving anything away, they all survive as good people, even though one does not make it out alive physically.
So the book exists as a character study, a philosophical journey, or perhaps a meandering as well on the issues of life and death, eugenics; the burden of being a survivor in a world where so many don’t, among the list.
Saying this, in spite of it’s complexities, “Patriarchs Run” never misses a beat or slows down even to catch it’s breath. The action is at times frenetic, but never overly so. All in all a very good read, and from what I understand, from a talent that is just coming into it’s own.