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Runaway Heart: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – August 3, 2004


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; First Edition edition (August 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312997183
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312997182
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,051,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cannell's second novel in six months (after Hollywood Tough) is a cop thriller with a futuristic, sci-fi twist. Hollywood Tough's heroes, LAPD officers Shane Scully and his wife, Alexa Hamilton, take a backseat to a new protagonist, fledgling PI Jack Wirta, a hard-nosed ex-cop (former partner of Scully) who left the force on disability. Irascible and jaded, Wirta has been hooked on Percocet since taking a bullet in the spine during a bank robbery shootout. He is called in to help the eccentric, crusading attorney Herman Strockmeyer, founder of the Institute for Planetary Justice. Strockmeyer has dedicated his professional life to pursuing corrupt corporations and various wings of the government. A houseguest of Barbra Streisand's in L.A., Strockmeyer is suing the USDA, EPA, FDA and others to get an injunction against planting genetically engineered corn, which threatens the Monarch butterfly population. When Strockmeyer's assistant hacks into the computer bank of Gen-A-Tech, a prime contractor in the genetic engineering of agricultural products, he uncovers something much more horrifying than dead butterflies: the Feds are creating a vicious manlike creature to replace human soldiers in combat. And when the assistant is murdered, Strockmeyer and his daughter look to Wirta to save the day. Cannell has a genius for creating memorable characters and quirky, gripping plots. Despite overwriting and jerky pacing, this is a fun read.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Herman J. Strockmire is a lawyer with the heart of Don Quixote. His caseload might be better characterized as a lost-cause load. Here he's battling for the survival of the monarch butterfly, which is on the verge of extinction thanks to a reaction to genetically altered foods. Assisting him in the case are his daughter, Susan, and computer hacker Roland Minton. When Minton is brutally murdered after a surreptitious assault on the data systems of Gen-a-Tec, a firm specializing in genetic research for the government, Herman hires private eye Jack Wirta to dig deeper. Armed with little more than determination to see justice done, Herman, Susan, and Jack find themselves squared off against the worst elements of American industry and the U.S. military. Cannell, one of the most successful television producers of all time as well as the best-selling author of the Shane Scully thrillers, creates memorably endearing characters and places them in harrowing situations with clearly defined moral choices. Strockmire is one of his best. Between battling the military-industrial forces of evil, he copes with an irregular heartbeat, kvetches over Susan and Jack's blossoming relationship, and summons the wherewithal to help Jack with his drug addiction. Too many thriller heroes carry Glocks and boast six-pack abs and dangerously high testosterone levels. Herman has a conscience and a disorganized briefcase. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Ah, the monarch butterfly!
Karen Kirsch
The story is smart, well thought out and at the same time is a fast paced action adventure.
Rafael Lydon
All in all it is a good quick read, possible made for TV movie.
H. F. Miglino

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Michael Butts HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Cannell is best when he sticks to high-octane, energetic pacing and stronger characters. What we get in RUNAWAY HEARTS is a story that takes forever to kick into high octane gear, and we get as secondary characters, both seen and unseen, of Donald Trump, Barbra Streisand, James Brolin, Jim Carrey, Mary Steenburgen and Ted Danson. It's like Cannell is showing how he panders with the upper crust celebrities. Cute, but rather unbelievable.
The plot is straightforward, although Cannell doesn't have to let the reader know on every other page, how "ugly and fat" Herman Strockmire is, or how "beautiful" his daughter Susan is. Judge Melissa King is too much of a villain to be believable, and the chimera aren't used enough to generate the suspense. There are some witty scenarios, and some black humor; and the ending picks up the pace considerably, but this is not Cannell at his best, as evidenced in his Shane Scully series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on July 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Stephen Cannell has the gift of writing good old fiction that will keep you reading until you finish the book. The star of this novel is his unlikely protagonist, Herman Strockmeyer. An older, unattractive, overweight attorney for "lost cause" clients against Government agencies, he is the David that takes on Goliath for the good of humanity.
With a serious heart condition threatening his life, he refuses to take time out from his cases because he is the only one who will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. His lovely daughter Susan works with him, and during his investigation for his case against Gen-a-Tec and their biologically engineered corn, his assistant is savagely murdered. Susan and Herman hire unlikely detective Jack Wirta, an ex-LA cop with a prescription drug habit, to find out why Roland was murdered.
This unusual trio of heros is what makes this book tick so loudly, Mr. Cannell's talent for bringing these people to life is the heart of the novel. Our trio discovers much more than biologically engineered corn when their investigation of Gen-a-Tec pulls them into danger with DARPA, a black-op government agency that will do anything to hide their illegal and unethical genetics project. As they run from one danger straight into the next, barely escaping time after time, you won't be able to let go until the conclusion.
Fast paced as all of Mr. Cannell's books are, this is a good story and a quick read with a truly likeable protagonist, and a highly recommended break from your stack of self-help and text books. Enjoy! :-)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michelle L. Beck VINE VOICE on June 2, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are a person who wants to believe in conspiracy theories or believe that anything is possible, this is the novel for you. There are government biologically enhanced animals;bad guys; a group of soldiers who do only what they are told; a brief showing of Donald Trump; mention of Barbara Streisand; a pain-ridden ex-cop who is falling for a beautiful attorney, who is the daughter of the main character; a main character who is a zealot for environmental and conspiracy issues. It is a delightful, fast moving story that is extremely enjoyable.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H. F. Miglino on December 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rather than summarize the book, as other reviewers have so skillfully done I recommend this book as an exciting page turner. Difficult to put down. SJC writes primarily about the LAPD beat and adds a bit of the x files. I really wanted to know more about "Pan" and his training, development and breeding. A better twist might have been if the DNA was alien or such. The Donald Trump addition was priceless. What ever happened to Pan after he wounded and ran away and disappeared, I've looked back several times and can't seem to find out what happened to him. If anyone knows please post. All in all it is a good quick read, possible made for TV movie.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John R. Linnell on October 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that is a little bit of John Grisham and Michael Crichton, but mostly it is Stephen Cannell. It holds your attention, challenges your ideas of what is credible, makes you laugh, makes you think and always entertains you. I looked forward to picking it up and continuing along with the story of the Don Quixote of the legal community in California as he tilted at windmills and the judiciary that thought him unworthy. However, one of his windmills turned out to be real and also deadly and how that all gets exposed and dealt with is a most entertaining story and a tale worth reading and thinking about. Let's hope that the technology which is in the book is not available today. The fly leaf says it is. If so, we all have something to think about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rafael Lydon on June 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a great novel from Cannell. The story is smart, well thought out and at the same time is a fast paced action adventure. I found it hard to put down ! Cannell is a master story teller. Runaway Heart ranks up there with his other great novels and leaves you reflecting on the points he raises about our world. Go get this book !!!! Enjoy!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Phoebe Marie on June 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I immensely enjoyed this work of Cannell's. I think it's my favorite of his so far. It's exciting, fast-paced, and the characters are unique and interesting - incredibly so.
The fact that the technology in the novel exists is quite frightening and Stephen Cannell paints a realistic and believable picture of what could actually be in our future.
Since I am an activist, I really loved (and could identify with) the Quixotic Herman Strockmire. I hope to see more of him in future novels!
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