In the Running (Dee Lloyd) – Chapter One

Maura gets herself into a (quote) mustard-green buick. Which right away opens the question whether mustard is really green.

Judge for yourself. I’d say it’s yellow.

Anyway, she only has $180,52 left after buying the car, doesn’t dare to access her bank account and she’s running from her murderous boyfriend, so she thinks about the impossible situation she is in.

She couldn’t go to the police. What would she tell them? She didn’t know if Danny was really dead. [And if he isn’t dead, it was obviously no crime to beat the shit out of him. Good to know! If you ever want to beat up someone, go wherever Maura is and do it. At least you don’t have to fear any legal ramifications.] She’d called Emergency Services from a pay phone at the airport last night and told them to send an ambulance to Driftwood Lodge because someone had been seriously injured in a fight. But she’d heard nothing on the radio about it. [I don’t know about the US, but in Austria, radio news usually are really short and don’t feature stuff like that unless a celebrity is involved. (I’m not saying anything about quality here.)] If Danny was all right [after three guys beating him and thinking themselves that he was dead, I seriously doubt that he is all right.], what would she tell the police? That Jon Casen had looked at her with murder in his eyes? Yeah, right! Jon played golf with the D.A., and the local sheriff was in his weekly poker club. [That obviously means that they have to be corrupt. Hey, they know Jon.]

It’s always great to hear why people won’t go to the police, so it may lead to stretched-to-the-point-of-breaking plots. Imagine the book went like this: Maura finds out her boyfriend cheats on her, she sees him kill a guy, she calls the police, they arrest him, she breaks up with him and he goes to prison. The End. I guess that wouldn’t be spectacular enough.

Anyway, Maura’s thoughts turn to Gran who seems to be her grandmother after all. But she wouldn’t help her because she wants to (quote) relive her glory days in the governor’s mansion. (Was she governor herself? Her husband? Her father? Her mother? Or does she mean something else entirely?) And therefore she backs up Jon’s political carreer and convinced her granddaughter to take one for the family and marry him to strengthen the tie.

Gran would see Danny’s death, if he were dead, as an unfortunate accident. Even if Maura showed her the photos of Jon with those other women, she’d find a way to make Jon’s actions Maura’s fault.

As we can see here, people who have ever come into contact with power, get addicted to it and do anything to have it again. Even if it means being delusional and betraying your own family.
Actually, I guess that’s somehow true. I just think that not all people react that way and that the way it’s described here is terribly stereotypical.

“Don’t think about them. Concentrate on your driving, Maura Irene,” she muttered to herself.

I believe that people in the US only have second names to use them when they are being serious. Ok, so she’s Maura Irene and she concentrates on driving. Unfortunately, the interstate is closed for repairs and she has to use secondary roads to reach her father’s hunting cabin.

WTF? Her father’s hunting cabin? Because that is such a good hiding place? Maura explains that Jon doesn’t know she inherited it because she’s been too busy to drive up there since they got engaged. But what about her Gran? She will know about it and obviously, she’s evil. So she will tell Jon about it.

Anyway, in all this confusion, Maura still managed to go to the hair dresser. Before you ask, it’s not because she wanted to look good in her mustard-green buick on the run in the running. She changed her hair so as not to be recognised. Maybe she got a quick nose job, too. You can never know.

Well, Maura’s driving on. It starts to rain. A jeep with a boat in tow pulls in in front of her. A deer jumps out of the wood. The jeep brakes, the boat breaks free. Maura manages to not let the boat hit her but gets off the road and hits some trees.

Wow, what an accident! Usually, one of these things (rain, a loose boat, a deer, trees) is enough to have fatal ones but here we are lucky. Maura only hits her head and blacks out.

We jump back in time three minutes and get to know Matt Hanson, the driver of the jeep. And because the accident was so awesome, we are able to read it once more from his point of view. Yay!
I’ll spare you and get right back to the action.

Matt struggles to reach Maura in the car which is blocked by trees and the gas tank is obviously damaged and OH MY GOD IT’S GOING TO BLOW UP!, but still, he manages to notice her wonderful blue eyes (she regains consciousness and opens them).

Finally, he gets into the car:
Hoisting himself onto the seat, he reached over and pressed his fingers against the side of the woman’s slender throat. Her skin was slippery with blood but her pulse was steady. Matt knew enough not to move an accident victim but the fumes from the spilled gas were turning the hollow into a bomb about to explode. Both their lives probably depended on the speed of their escape.
Even as he hurried to release her from her seat belt, his training
[What training?] made him note her vital statistics. She was small – no taller than five foot three and about one hundred and ten pounds. Late twenties. Tidily built. Not voluptuous but unmistakably female. [These are vital statistics??? Is he a trained pimp?]

He gets her out of the car, just in time to be able to get her purse, too and then carry her back to his car before hers explodes.

Maura almost faints (again).
She knew that the tall man with the angry, jet-black eyes [There we have the black eyes again. And again, I can only say: IT’S REALLY FREAKY when you can’t tell the pupils from the irises anymore. Really.] and the impressively strong, lean body was placing her carefully on the back seat of his Jeep and trying to discover the extent of her injuries with efficient, yet gentle fingers. The sensations reached her through the thick veil of pain that emanated from somewhere behind her eyes. Strangely detached from the scene, Maura wondered why the light feathering of this stranger’s fingers over her body didn’t distress her more. [Probably, but that’s a wild guess, because you have other things to worry about.]

While he’s feeling her up, Matt talks to her and Maura is calmed by (quote) his marvelous low, gravelly voice. I’m imagining now a voice like Christopher Lee’s and that’s actually pretty cool.

He gives her first aid and they introduce themselves. Maura starts saying her real name, but in the last moment decides that that’s not a good idea and tells him she’s Maureen, but everyone calls her Reenie (Her father used to call her that.), last name Kelly.

Matt wants to bring her to the hospital. She declines the offer, as she has no money and her ID is burning in the car. But she doesn’t want to use that anyway. Matt is reluctant. He wants to call the sheriff. Again, Maura asks him not to.

Matt could see a sheen of tears in her startling blue eyes. Even an eye that was rapidly puffing up and closing, purplish bruises on her cheek and bloody, matted hair couldn’t lessen the impact of those eyes. [Wow, even though you can’t see the eye anymore, because it’s swollen shut, the impact is still there. Probably it’s Sauron’s. That would explain it.] He’d better deposit her at the hospital before he did something really stupid. He had learned to avoid needy females like the plague. [Goddammit, how obsessed with sex can you be? They’ve just been in an accident, she only has one side of her face left and what he thinks about is how to stay out of her pants…] However, he should do something to erase the desperate look from those blue eyes. He had a totally irrational urge to take her in his arms and tell her to leave everything to him. Now, that was an urge he was damn well going to resist!
Reenie Kelly was on the verge of hysteria. He was receiving a clear message that she was in real trouble. Hazel Leigh’s
[He towed the boat for her.] runaway boat had simply added to it. Were the police after her? Had the man in her life hurt her? Or threatened her? [Because that’s really the only possibilities when it comes to running away from the police. And for men, it’s even only the first option.]
The outrage he felt at the possibility that any man had laid violent hands on her came out of nowhere. In his brief stint with the anti-terrorist squad [Notice: anti-terrorist, not anti-terrorism. Very telling.], he’d seen the brutality that men willingly inflicted on each other and on innocent bystanders. He’d been able to distance himself emotionally from it then. Now, just imagining someone hurting this spunky little woman was giving him fits. He wasn’t thrilled with this sudden onset of empathy. [Empathy is very, very bad. Empathy is evil. Empathy supports terrorists.]

 Anyway, Matt gives in with the condition that Maura/Reenie gets checked by his sister who is a nurse and whose name is Bronwyn.


He calls her and tells her to come to his place and then they drive off.

There was something ironic about deciding not to make her getaway in a lodge boat because of the high waves on Lake Michigan, then having her escape scuppered by a boat on dry land. Some day, if she lived long enough, she’d laugh at that.

I don’t see the irony. Sorry.


2 Responses

  1. …wwwwait, the situation reminds me a bit of “misery” by a guy named stephen king.
    People who don’t get you to hospital after an accident and agree not to call the police, but take you home to have their sister look at you are a bit eerie. Just a bit. But, well.

  2. People are freaky, aren’t they?
    Especially considering that somehow the author thought that this was the perfect context for a romantic story…

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