Nathan’s Run

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Author: John Gilstrap

Title: Nathan’s Run

Genre: thriller (crime thriller)

Publication Date: 1996

Plot Summary: 12 year old Nathan Bailey is an escaped murderer. He stabbed his prison guard to death and is now on the loose in Virginia. The whole book is based around this basic problem, but goes to different perspectives of the people who get embroiled in the investigation. There is Warren, who is the lieutenant of the local police department and the detective on the case. His own son died the previous year and he is obviously still dealing with his grief as he draws connections between Nathan and his own son, making him more sympathetic to the fugitive as the case unfolds. We see Nathan’s perspective as he is trying to  remain at large and uncaptured, thinks through his crimes and motives, and tells his story to the radio host, “The Bitch.” Monica is the radio host who receives Nathan’s call as she is discussing his escape and murder on her radio show. Nathan’s Uncle Mark, who had custody of him before his initial arrest is featured and he has an interesting part in the plot (which I won’t give away).

Subject Headings:

Boy murder suspects, Orphans, Fugitives, Juvenile justice system, Suspense stories

Appeals: compelling, emotionally-charged, sarcastic, philosophical, archetypal, multiple points of view, character-centered, puzzle, cinematic, episodic, issue-oriented, strong language, thought-provoking, sad, simple, straightforward, jaded

3 words to describe book: fugitive, multiple perspectives, philosophical

Read a likes:

Fiction

The Client -John Grisham

This book is similar to Nathan’s Run, in that a kid is being tracked by organized crime because of a crime he witnessed. This is slightly different in that it is also a lawyer type of thriller. Mark is 11. He witnesses a guy who tries to kill himself by gassing himself in his car in the woods. Mark and his little brother, Ricky, are in the woods at the time. Ricky goes into shock and has to be institutionalized. Mark tries to stop the guy. The man, before he shoots himself, tells Mark that he is a lawyer who was defending a mafia person. The mafia man killed a senator and the lawyer tells Mark where the body is. So now, Mark has to help his brother and save his family, without being killed by the mafia tying up loose ends. The family gets the eccentric lawyer, Reggie Love, to try and end the chaos before they all end up dead.

New York Dead – Stuart Woods

This is the first book in the Stone Barrington series. Stone Barrington is a humble detective in a snotty setting. On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, irresistibly famous and sexy Sasha falls 12 stories from her condo right in front of Stone… He always seems to be in the middle of the action. But, she is still alive. When her ambulance gets into a crash, she disappears. Stone doesn’t believe that Sasha’s lesbian lover is the killer, so he goes beyond the NYPD investigations to find out himself. This is a read alike for those who like melodramtic detective thrillers with sexual undertones.

The Bone Collector – Jeffery Deaver

This is the first book in the Lincoln Rhyme series. Lincoln Rhyme is the main character throughout these series, who is a criminologist (famous and extraordinary in the novel’s world). He gets in a bad accident which scared him and injured him. He cannot rest, though, because a serial killer is on the loose. He and his side kick Amelia Sachs go through New York City following clues the egotistical killer leaves behind on purpose. This is good if you like another thriller with a sexual tension and a puzzle to solve.

NF

Juvenile – Joseph Rodriguez

This addresses the philosophical controversy thread throughout the book about juveniles in prison, what it’s like, and the issues behind it. In Gilstrap’s novel, the radio host and callers, as well as the detective and his family discuss whether Nathan is to blame and how he should be punished.

Hidden evidence: Forty true crimes and how forensic science helped to solve them – David Owen

This discusses how detectives solve crimes. In Gilstrap’s book, Warren is the detective in the book trying to find Nathan, the boy killer, based on clues and leads he finds throughout the books. Readers would want to see how real detectives do this.

Villains’ paradise: A history of Britain’s Underworld – Donald Thomas

True crime of organized crime, including mafia and gangs. This is for people who like to read about history. It also involves crime, which is the basis for Gilstrap’s thriller.

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