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Red Means Run: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Brad Smith
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Brad Smith, a “funny, poignant, evocative” (Dennis Lehane) crime novelist, debuts a new series set in upstate New York featuring jack-of-all trades, Virgil Cain, who must clear his name of two murders while on the run from the law in this spirited country noir.

Mickey Dupree is one of the most successful criminal attorneys in upstate New York, having never lost a capital murder case. That is the upside of being Mickey. The downside: Mickey has a lot of enemies and one of them drives the shaft of a golf club through his heart, leaving him dead in a sand trap at his exclusive country club.

The cops, led by a dim-witted detective named Joe Brady, focus their attentions on Virgil Cain. Just two weeks earlier Virgil told a crowded bar that “somebody ought to blow Mickey’s head off,” after the slippery lawyer earned an acquittal for Alan Comstock, the man accused of murdering Virgil’s wife. Comstock, a legendary record producer, gun nut, and certifiable lunatic, has returned to his estate, where he lives with his wife, the long suffering Jane.

It appears to Virgil that the fix is in when Brady immediately throws him into jail with no questions asked. In order to set things right, Virgil escapes from jail, determined to find Mickey’s killer himself. Aside from a smart and sexy detective named Claire Marchand, everybody is convinced that Virgil is the culprit. When Alan Comstock is discovered with six slugs in his body the day after Virgil’s escape, his guilt is almost assured. Now it is up to Virgil to convince everyone of his innocence—by finding the killer before he winds up as the next victim.

Editorial Reviews


"Brad Smith has got the goods--he's funny, poignant, evocative, and he tells a blistering tale."--Dennis Lehane

“ Brad Smith is a writer with lots of skill, lots of heart, [and] lots of brains." --Richard Russo

“Smith has marvelous control of his material, effortlessly mixing laugh-out-loud comedy with streaks of country noir that call to mind Daniel Woodrell.”--Booklist


"Brad Smith has got the goods--he's funny, poignant, evocative, and he tells a blistering tale."--Dennis Lehane

“ Brad Smith is a writer with lots of skill, lots of heart, [and] lots of brains." --Richard Russo

“Smith has marvelous control of his material, effortlessly mixing laugh-out-loud comedy with streaks of country noir that call to mind Daniel Woodrell.”--Booklist

Product Details

  • File Size: 993 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner (January 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004U7GIDC
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #561,226 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new series January 10, 2012
I've added Brad Smith's previous books to my Canadian authors displays at the library in the past, but I admit I hadn't read this author until I picked up his new release - Red Means Run. And I really wish I had, because he's good - really good.

Criminal attorney Mickey Dupree is found dead at the local golf course. It looks to be murder - the golf club shaft through the chest points to it. And the cops think the clues point straight to Virgil Cain. Once they've locked him up in jail, Virgil realizes that the only way to prove his innocence is to do it himself. So....he breaks out of jail and starts to work the case himself.

Smith's forté is the characters he has created. Virgil is described as a 'clever, laconic charmer' and I don't think I could say it any better. But I would add in sexy. Kind of a country Jack Reacher if you will. The two cops pursuing Virgil are poles apart. Joe Brady is an inept bumbler completely unaware of his deficiencies, certain that he is the man. But Claire Marchand is another story - she's a match for Virgil - maybe in more ways than one. Their cat and mouse game is fantastic. The aging vet, Mary, is a solid supporting character with many of her own tales I suspect.

But those characters are also carrying a plot that is fun, fast and furious. The run up to the ending (which featured a great twist) had me turning pages at breakneck speed. Okay, so the characters and the plot are great - what else? The dialogue - short and snappy, matching the pace of the action. The book is set in the US, but I enjoyed the sly Canadian jibes and references thrown in.

Red Means Run will appeal to all readers - Smith has provided strong protagonists of both sexes. I can't wait to read the next in this new series.

Just a fantastic read - highly recommended.(And I think there's more than a little of Brad in Virgil.... which means I'm a little bit in love with Brad too...)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read April 13, 2012
By MaryK
The only reason that I rated this book less than 5 stars was that I felt the premise wasn't enough to sustain the arrest and if that falls then the whole reason of the book--Virgil saving his own skin--is gone. Any good lawyer--how come he doesn't consult a lawyer--would have blown a hole in the whole arrest thing at the arraignment and had the charges dismissed. But then you wouldn't have the rest of the book. If you can look past that initial problem the rest of the book is a fast paced read with lots of characters that we'll see again, I'll bet. The other problem--and it's a problem with all series mysteries--is the "Cabot Cove" effect. Set the books in a small town and sooner or later you run out of victims and suspects. We'll just have to see how this series plays out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read from a talented Canadian April 10, 2012
Brad Smith is a Canadian Crime Novelist who may not be as familiar as Louise Penny to the lovers of crime fiction, but we believe his work has definitely been overlooked in the last couple of years. We recently reviewed his latest work, Red Means Run, and found it a fun and gripping read.

Our Take:

What is different about this book? Well, we think it's the dialogue: Short and snappy, matching the pace of a very fast paced thriller...the author is definitely a gifted storyteller. The subplots in the book include abused horses and an angry vet, several murders, a crooked businessman, killer's parents, and a congresswoman looking toward retirement. All these parallel stories are mixed together in a masterful way and the reader is not distracted by each side story at all.

Overall, this is a thriller which appeals to all fans of mystery books.

Mystery Tribune
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5.0 out of 5 stars First book of my favorite new series February 22, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Red Means Run by Brad Smith Scribner 2012

All Virgil Cain wants to do is get his crops in, but he soon finds himself on the run when he is accused of killing a lawyer he previously had a run in with during the trial of the man accused of murdering his wife. Cain leads the police on a long case after escaping custody to do his own investigation of the events leading up to the murder. Cain is very resourceful in keeping one step of the law and the attractive detective trying to bring him in. A great character and series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Red Means Run March 29, 2013
Smith is just plain good. Great characters, convoluted and well developed plots, terrific believeable characters, great music tie ins. The Whole Enchilada. Read 'em all !
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2.0 out of 5 stars Preposterous story!! March 11, 2013
By EinLA
This book's mystery hangs on a totally unbelievable plot and characters whose actions defy logic and reality. One police detective is a complete dolt. The other police detective seems a little bit competent but then she gets involved romantically with a murder suspect, and more - really?? There is no lieutenant, no captain around to impose any kind of real investigation upon these two. The evidence the main character is held on is totally laughable. We know he didn't do it, there is zero physical evidence and of course he doesn't request a lawyer. It makes no sense. Of course without that, well, there isn't a book. A ridiculous escape leads to a silly manhunt. The "mystery" is "solved" by last page reveals that are very unsatisfying and extremely unlikely.

I was fooled initially as the character we are introduced to, a lawyer, is not the main character. Unfortunately for him - and for the reader - he is killed off pretty quickly. He was definitely the most interesting character in the book!

The actual main character is a typical guy's guy type of cliched character. Doesn't ask for help, stoic, plays dumb but is actually fairly clever, etc. He is provided with lots of back story but it doesn't help. His character is mostly 2 dimensional, occasionally veering into 3 dimensions, barely. The main character is from Canada. Why he is stuck with the name Virgil Cain is beyond my imagination. I guess his parents were big fans of The Band?! ;)

Other characters are fairly stock. The most believable character is one ripped right from the recent news, a record producer, obviously a direct copy of Phil Spector - whose recent arrest seems to have been the inspiration for the story.
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