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Fox on the Run    by David Pascoe order for
Fox on the Run
by David Pascoe
Order:  USA  Can
Orion, 2000 (1999)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

'It was dark in the cave, darker than the night outside......I'm going to die, she thought. Soon I shall die.' From this intriguing prologue, we're soon drawn into Kate Randall's flight from prosecution for her dead lover's murder.

Kate is a successful cellist involved in a relationship with an intensely driven journalist, whose primary interest is in environmental issues. She's been with Michael Lester for two years, but is now feeling the desire to move on and waiting for the right opportunity to break up with him. Unexpectedly, this breakup unleashes a violent outburst from Michael at his house. He strikes Kate several times. A neighbor sees the confrontation through the window but decides not to call the police after it appears to cool down.

Inexplicably, Kate spends the night with Michael. She awakens to find him missing from the bed. When she looks downstairs, she finds Michael staggering around the kitchen with a knife embedded in him. Kate helplessly watches him die. Unfortunately for her, the police quickly make her the number one suspect. Kate is galvanized into running when they arrive to arrest her at her sister's vacation cabin.

Deciding that the only way to get out of this mess is to find the real culprits, Kate soon discovers that Michael's latest investigation involved a high-up government official, and that this may have triggered his murder. Unbeknownst to her, there are others who are just as interested and so begin to focus their energy on learning exactly how much Kate knows.

There's plenty of excitment in this first novel, but some inconsistencies as well. The characters don't always act according to what we've learned so far of their personalities. For instance, Kate is a strong-minded, independent woman. Yet, she sleeps with Michael after he repeatedly hits her, and it's not because she's afraid of him. Actions of some other major characters are occasionally just as unbelievable. Another odd thing is the proliferation of law enforcement / security people who don't seem to have many moral qualms. They consider hiding evidence to get a speedy, cheap conviction and even equate murder for personal gain with killing in the line of duty.

However, the descriptive language is good enough to hold the reader's attention, as you wonder if Kate will ever make it out of this situation alive. The repeated use of the "f" word jarred on me somewhat, but may not bother others. The plot is well-constructed and coherent, and the ending is logical with no rabbits pulled out of the hat. Overall, it's a decent thriller, if you can overlook the minor head-scratching caused by the characters at times.

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