Run Jane Run by Maureen Tan

Maureen Tan

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Mass market, 292 pages, 1999

Rating: 4/10

Reason for Reading: I just grabbed it an random at the library. I always need to be reading a small mass market paperback so I can take it with me wherever I go.

Synopsis: Jane is a spy who finds herself on the run after a bungled hostage mission. Now, she thinks someone is out to get her, and she’s certain it has to do with her parents being murdered in front of her when she was a child. The problem? She can’t remember what happened that night, so she has no idea who’s trying to kill her. The race is on for her to remember in time to save herself.

Why you should read this book: Mildly tolerable if you’re looking for cheap entertainment that you’ll never think of again as soon as you close the book. It does keep the pages turning, even if it’s because of a ‘huh?’ response than actual excitement. Once and a while, Jane’s glib sense of humour comes through.

Why you should avoid this book: Bad characters, bad plot, and bad writing. Tan missed the boat with ‘mysterious’ and made Jane into a closed-off character that gives the reader very little to grow attached to, or even hate. It’s hard to care at all, really. The plot seems as though Tan clipped a half a dozen scenes from various spy/thriller movies and sewed them together at random. It feels like she’s got too much going on in order to hide the fact that she doesn’t know what should be going on. Using a large number of flashbacks/dream sequences that never quite reveal anything is a pretty cheap ploy to keep a reader going, especially considering how much repetition it creates in a book that’s under 300 pages. The book fails mainly due to Tan’s inability to paint a clear picture of the action or give the reader any reason to care about the two-dimensional characters.

Opening paragraph:

Summertime in Savannah.
Alex and I strolled along River Street, dressed in shorts and short-sleeved shirts, blending with the crowd of tourists and locals moving lazily along the river walk, enjoying the night life and the evening breeze.

Fabulous quotes:

I glanced behind me, pulled the radio from my belt left-handed, pressed the transmit button.
‘Primary target secure-‘
A man came into the foyer, his Uzi held point up, obviously not expecting any trouble. He saw us. And died. His finger spasmed on the trigger, bullets unaimed, ineffective, loud. No way the music could cover the sound.
Three bullets left.

A strong cup of tea can fix all manner of woes.
Sometimes, a stiff drink works better.
Scotch was my drink of choice. After downing a shot, I felt adventurous enough to risk a bite of cold sausage-and-mushroom pizza.
Some things, even a stiff drink can’t fix.

Instead, try: Fifty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt; The Blue Nowhere by Jeffery Deaver.

Also by this author: Too Close to Home; AKA Jane; A Perfect Cover.

Fun tidbit: A second career has Tan working on video games for Playstation 2 like Red Faction doing story lines and dialogue.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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