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Nathan's Run Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1997

165 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Twelve-year-old Nathan Bailey, accused of murdering a cop, becomes the target of a nationwide manhunt even as a vicious hit man is closing in on him. Orphaned and alone, Nathan has no one to count on but himself. To stay alive he must exercise all his agility and cleverness. And ironically, he finds his honesty is the best weapon he has as he wins the trust of a radio talk-show host and pleads his case to a rapt nation. This debut novel by John Gilstrap has created an international sensation. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA. If John Grisham and Charles Dickens were to collaborate, this book could be the result, for The Client and Oliver Twist both come to mind when reading Gilstrap's first novel. It's a page-turner with a star-crossed, brave young hero. Nathan, a 12-year-old orphan, is locked up in a juvenile-detention center after stealing a car belonging to his no-good guardian. The boy escapes after killing a guard in self defense, and eludes police with a combination of limited street smarts and dumb luck. While holed up in a vacant house, he tunes into a call-in radio show on which he is the topic of discussion. After hearing a number of adults condemn his behavior, he calls the show and tells his side of the story. YAs will appreciate the courage Nathan shows in confronting his accusers, explaining the circumstances of his actions and convincing many listeners that he is not a killer. The authorities consider Nathan a cop killer and he must keep moving, unaware that a hit man is also on his trail. One officer investigates Nathan's side of the story. It's a race between the good cop and the contract killer to see who finds the boy first. Readers are left to ponder his ultimate fate. A riveting read.?Nancy Karst, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (August 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446604682
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446604680
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.7 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #715,821 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of Against All Enemies, End Game, Soft Targets, High Treason, Damage Control, Threat Warning, Hostage Zero, No Mercy, Nathan's Run, At All Costs, Even Steven, Scott Free and Six Minutes to Freedom. In addition, John has written four screenplays for Hollywood, adapting the works of Nelson DeMille, Norman McLean and Thomas Harris. He will write and co-produce the film adaptation of his book, Six Minutes to Freedom.

A frequent speaker at literary events, John also teaches seminars on suspense writing techniques at a wide variety of venues, from local libraries to The Smithsonian Institution. Outside of his writing life, John is a renowned safety expert with extensive knowledge of explosives, hazardous materials, and fire behavior. John lives in Fairfax, VA.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. Wolverton VINE VOICE on November 28, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Nathan's Run is a very good thriller about a 12-year old boy who escapes from a youth detention center after killing a guard in self-defense. (Or was it self-defense???) In an ordinary thriller, the author would follow a formula that the reader would probably be able to easily figure out. That doesn't happen here. Gilstrap gives us just enough information to keep us turning the pages to find out what happens to Nathan next. All is not as it seems in Nathan's life. Anxious to tell someone his story, Nathan telephones a national radio talk show. Improbable? Maybe. Maybe not. But it is suspenseful and riveting.
Nathan's Run may not be for everyone. There's lots of violence and profanity, but there's also quite a lot that Gilstrap has to say about our society and where we're headed. Also Nathan is one of the most unforgettable characters in adult fiction. A good read, but not a great ending, thus earning four stars instead of five.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By "cautro" on January 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Gilstrap happens to be one of my favorite authors, and Nathan's Run was a great story. The plot of a young 12 year old boy who murders a Juvinille Detention Supervisor and becomes a fugitive of the law is gripping and thrilling. Gilstarp does a have a problem getting off a subject though. If you want a great book in the same genre, by the same author try At All Costs (Read my review on it). Overall this was a great book, if you have the time to read it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "paul_kgb" on June 17, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
An excellent book from a first time writer. The blurb on the back compared the writer to John Grisham which is a bit unfair as I found Nathan's Run more enjoyable than the other JG's efforts.
The book is fast paced and you can relate to the characters. The story is well thought out and structured. The writing style is undemanding as it should be for a book of this type.
Definately one of the best action books I have read. It would actually translate into an excellent movie.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful By P. Kingsriter on June 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Nathan Bailey had the life we wish nobody had to endure. Orphaned, raised by an uncle plagued by personal demons, committed to a kiddie jail (primarily on the testimony of said uncle), and became a fugitive from the law all before reaching his teens. It's easy to sympathize with Nathan as Mr. Gilstrap included many small details so unique to adolescence. The way Nathan is portrayed to think and act are very much in character for a young man, albeit a VERY contientious one. Most of the other characters were not given the same descriptive attention, unfortunately. They're servicible and believable, but somewhat flat.
While reading Nathan's Run, I couldn't help but think policemen were given a bad rap in this book. I doubt that Mr. Gilstrap has a vendetta against cops, but they are (with two exceptions) made to look incompetent, manipulative, career-driven, and cruel. There is one particularly tense scene in which Nathan, smaller than normal for his pre-teen age, is brutalized by three policemen at once. I understand that some may be necessary to advance a plot following a fugitive, but this stereotyping felt like the stuff of 100 Bad Cop movies.
Since this is a suspenseful tale with a young man at its center, I also believe Mr. Gilstrap alienated what might have been a massive audience, young adults, with generous portions of gratuitous profanity. It was, in my opinion, largely unneccessary to have nearly every character have an extensive 4-letter vocabulary.
Still, Nathan's story is absorbing and tense to the last page. Emotions crescendoed to such a peak in the final scene that if I weren't riding a city bus with my goatee'd "big-guy" image to uphold, I might have cried. Honestly.
My recommendation would be this: it's good, but not destined to be one of the "greats". Pick it up if you're in the mood for a fast-paced thriller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By chuck lang on September 24, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading Nathan's Run is a little like watching episodes in those old-time serials, where each ended with the hero in some absolutely inescapable predicament. Impatiently we awaited next week's chapter. If this novel were a weekly serial, we would see Nathan's head in the cross hairs of the sniper's gun sight, then see a closeup of the gunman's finger squeezing off a shot as the scene and the chapter end . How could he possibly get out of this one? So it is in this novel, where Nathan runs from one perilous predicament to another.
The superintendent (read warden) of the Juvenile Detention Center (read prison) learns that Nathan has killed a child care supervisor (read guard). Nathan killed in self-defense, but during his run to safety several other people are murdered, and all clues point to Nathan as the killer. We know better, of course, but the cops chasing Nathan do not, and the book becomes one long chase scene. Adding to the suspense is a third killer, a hit man with a contract on Nathan. Who put out the contract, and why someone wants Nathan dead, we are not told until Page331 of this 338 page novel, though sophisticated mystery fans will guess correctly ong before that.
Beneath the exciting storyline author John Gilstrap makes some telling points about our system of justice, about barbaric and sadistic prison guards,about brutality and man's inhumanity to man. He also attempts to tweak the conscience of our mass media, especially talk radio, who coldly and deliberately manipulate public opinion to serve their own materialistic ends. (" Rick, I want the calls about three to one approving our point of view.")
Nathan wins our hearts from the beginning. We are almost glad when one of the pursuing cops is shot by another pursuing pseudo-cop. We look forward to the next Gilstrap work.
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