The Race by Joan De La Haye

December 8, 2016

Joanna Parypinski is drugged, kidnapped, and forced to fight for survival, for the entertainment of the world’s rich and depraved, as well as the chance to win her weight in gold.

In the race for her life, glory, and gold, Joanna must kill or be killed.

Sometimes I like nothing more than a straightforward thriller. My needs are simple – a plot that whips along at breakneck speed, a protagonist made of steel, and a few twists and turns to keep things interesting. The latest from Joan De La Haye, The Race, does exactly that and then some.

The thing I liked most about The Race is the premise. It manages to be deceptively simple but still effective. Just imagine it, you wake up in an unfamiliar location, surrounded by complete strangers. You are all given a simple choice – participate in a race to the death or face immediate execution. I suspect in my case I’d be dead within approximately twenty seconds, but Joanna Parypinki fares slightly better than I. When she finds herself in the world’s most brutal competition she steps up.

Joanna finds herself in a situation that she is barely prepared for. The good news for our heroine is that she swiftly proves she is nothing if not adaptable. I found myself cheering Joanna on. She suffers, and has her ass kicked on more than one occasion, but there is a steely determination that forces her to always get back up. The tension builds nicely as we race towards the conclusion of the event. Will Joanna last long enough to survive? Especially when the rest of the field is made up by a who’s who of sword waving sociopaths with anger management issues.

There are a handful of glimpses behind that curtain of the shady group who are responsible for the race. I’d be keen to learn more of what is going on behind the scenes of the competition. There is obviously a massive amount of organisation happening. How far does it spread? Who is ultimately responsible? The narrative indicates that governments, and those with influence, are responsible for sponsoring the participants, but there must be more going on.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for far reaching globe-spanning conspiracies. Obviously, being the kind hearted wishy washy liberal anti-capitalist that I am, it almost goes without saying that I want to see the ringleaders destroyed for their evil schemes.

My only complaint is that I wish there was more. Just at the point where I was really getting into all the action and mayhem the story was done. Normally I’d be hugely disappointed but in this instance, it becomes only a minor quibble.  I recently read that there is a sequel to The Race already in the works so I can be content with that. My personal preference will always be for a full-length novel rather than splitting the story up, but that is just the way I prefer reading.

I’m a big fan of Joan’s writing, her horror stories are always wonderfully gruesome. I’m glad to see that she can turn her hand to explosive action as well. If you haven’t already, I suggest you check out her back catalogue available via her website.

The Race is published by the author and is available now.

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