I rarely read novels and was quite skeptical when my brother recommended this book. If you read much of my writing, you’ll see where I spend most of my “leisure” reading time. But, since it was about running I thought I’d give it a go.
The novel is written by Dr. James Fischer who happens to be a reknowned cancer researcher and Chairman of the Department of Therapeutic Radiology at Yale University School of Medicine. He is also a runner – a marathoner. Though the book was published in 2000 I think it was overlooked by most runners.
This mystery includes murder, theft, and secret deals set in the world of elite Olympic level competition. It plays on the technical research most large countries do on their elite runners – all trying to find that edge that gets them an Olympic medal. Ok, the protagonist even has a beautiful teammate – Susie – who gets in on the action.
Given the author’s background it is no wonder that the story line is based on a scientific breakthrough that enhances running performance. I found the early scenario of an Olympic favorite (Sean Rourke from Ireland, living in the US) being beaten in a small road race by a middle-aged man dressed in blue. (Funny, I could easily put myself there as that middle-aged guy… well fantasy anyway.) The event raised some questions since the time was very fast and no one knew who “Blue Guy” was.
The book has detailed elements of science, biology, physiology woven throughout. This will appeal to anyone who really likes the CSI TV or similar forensic research programs. In fact, it is so scientifically and clearly stated I had to question myself as to whether something like this is in fact being developed. If you don’t get too bogged down in trying to actually learn it all like a text book, you’ll do best. Read through it. If you don’t like this kind of writing (like my brother) skim them or just skip over those passages. I think you will still get a really good read from this.
Finally, because I really don’t care for novels, the point for me that makes this a recommended book is the real plausibility of the whole plot. Get this book for the runner in your life. I give it a three and a half out of five shoe rating for most runners and a four out of five shoe rating if you get into techie-type information.