The past is what motivates Colby Walker, the defining character in this suspenseful novel. While vacationing with his family, and his son’s best friend, Jess, Colby discovers that Jesse has been abused by his father. Revisiting the horrors ofhis own childhood abuse, Colby decides, against his wife’s better judgment, to kidnap the abused boy.
Colby has cashed out his company and made millions from the deal. But his long hours at work have created a distance between himself and his family. Now with plenty of time on his hand, he feels the need to assert his control over them. His quest to save Jess from his abusive father becomes an all-consuming passion, to the exclusion of his wife and children.
This is the creepy part of RUNNING FROM THE PAST. Colby’s childhood abuse drives his obsession to save Jesse. The questions he asked the boy that made me at times squirm. He pries and sticks his neck out in the wrong places. His decision to kidnap Jess seems honorable, but it puts his family in jeopardy. One wonders if this is transference. It also begs the question: to what degree does the past affect our everyday decisions? How far are willing to go to save another troubled soul?
This is a fast paced book with interesting family dynamics. A sub-plot with Jesse’s aunt is less effective, but it does not distract from the powerful message of childhood abuse. While reading this, I found myself wondering what I would do in a similar situation. And that’s the highest compliment.