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The Dead Run: A Novel (Jess Galvan) Kindle Edition

3.8 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Length: 309 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"The Short Drop" by Matthew FitzSimmons
Meet the assassin The Washington Post calls "a doozy of a sociopath" in this debut thriller from Matthew FitzSimmons. Available on Kindle and in paperback.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this taut and gritty adventure thriller with a supernatural element from Mansbach (best known for the satirical children&'s book Go the F**k to Sleep), Jess Galvan, a contraband runner along the Texas-Mexico border with a heart of gold and a daughter he wants to free from his nutcase ex-wife, allows his protective instincts to get the better of him in attempting to save a prostitute from abuse. Galvan winds up in a Mexican prison, where he meets a shamanic figure who straps a box to his back with baling wire. Inside the box is the magically still-beating heart of a virgin. Galvan&'s task: deliver this package across the border to a cult leader in Texas. The problem: doing so will end the world—Aztec style—and usher in an era of evil. The initially staccato narrative voice morphs in fits and starts into rollicking goofiness as the action builds to a finale that threatens to overwhelm all willing suspension of disbelief. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Oct.)

From Booklist

Yes, Mansbach is the author of the hilarious children’s-book spoof, Go the F**k to Sleep (2011). But don’t expect many laughs here. His new book is more in keeping with his earlier novels (including Rage is Back, 2013)—an exploration of good and evil, light and dark. A genre-bender, the novel is strong on horror elements, especially its main plotline, in which an American man, stuck in a Mexican prison, is coerced into taking the beating heart—yes, the living, beating heart—of a young girl across the border, where he is to deliver it to a seriously dangerous man. A second, seemingly unrelated story involves a Texas police officer’s search for a missing girl, who may be trying to escape her overbearing, fanatically religious mother. The book has a startlingly compelling villain, the cult leader Aaron Seth, and a nominal hero, sheriff Bob Nichols, and then it has Jess Galvan, the guy with the heart strapped to his back in a sealed box, who fits in somewhere between hero and villain. Both surreal and grounded in harsh reality, the novel is ambitiously plotted and powerfully written. --David Pitt

Product Details

  • File Size: 1184 KB
  • Print Length: 309 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; Reissue edition (September 24, 2013)
  • Publication Date: September 24, 2013
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009NF6CO6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #450,857 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Adam Mansbach's new novel, Rage is Back (Viking) has been named an Best Book of the Month for January 2013, and a Barnes & Noble Best Book. The Washington Post says "Mansbach has clearly had a play date with Michael Chabon and Junot Diaz, and his fresh, witty novel is one that hip readers will relish," and adds that "There's no resisting [narrator] Dondi, 'a nerd with swagger,' as he riffs on everything from Madison Avenue to yuppies' racial anxiety ," and the San Francisco Chronicle writes that "Rage Is Back does for graffiti what Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay did for comic books. Dondi mashes up disparate linguistic registers with an effortlessness that brings to mind Junot Díaz's perennial narrator, Junior. The ideal interpreter for this journey, he is equally comfortable holding forth on the history of graffiti style, explaining the "tripartite drug economy" of Fort Greene or (like many a smart high school student), bringing it all back to Homer, Plato and The Great Gatsby. ...but beneath all the weed and spray paint, it's a warmhearted story about a son searching for his father and for himself, a trip through the past and present of an American art form that fits surprisingly well within the confines of the novel."

Mansbach's previous book, Go the F*ck to Sleep is a #1 New York Times bestseller, and one of the most talked-about books of the decade. A viral sensation that shot to #1 on months before the book was even available, it has been published in forty languages, and is forthcoming as a feature film from Fox 2000. Mansbach also wrote"Wake the F*ck Up," a pro-Obama video starring Samuel L. Jackson that has been described by many as the greatest political ad of all time. Released online on September 27, 2012, it received 5 million views in its first week.

Mansbach's 2008 novel, The End of the Jews, won the California Book Award and was long-listed for the IMPAC-Dublin Prize. His previous novel, Angry Black White Boy, or The Miscegenation of Macon Detornay, was a San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2005; it is taught at more than eighty universities and has been adapted into a prize-winning stage play. He is also the author of the novel Shackling Water, the poetry collection genius b-boy cynics getting weeded in the garden of delights, the graphic novel Nature of the Beast (co-written with Douglas Mcgowan).

An inaugural recipient of the Ford Foundation's Future Aesthetics Artist Grant, Mansbach was also a 2012 Sundance Institute Screenwriting Lab fellow and the recipient of the Indian Paintbrush/Sundance Institute Feature Filmwriting Grant. The 2009-2011 New Voices Professor of Fiction at Rutgers University, he founded, edited and published the pioneering 1990s hip hop journal Elementary and spent several years traveling as a drum technician with the Elvin Jones Jazz Machine. His fiction and essays have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Esquire, The Believer, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

Mansbach's His debut thriller, The Dead Run will be published in September 2013, by HarperCollins. A frequent lecturer on college campuses across the country, Mansbach lives in Berkeley, California, where he co-hosts the KPFA/Pacifica radio show "Father Figures."

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Combine the movie Taken with the movie Dusk to Dawn and you get a bit of an idea of the breakneck pace and action of this book. It's a modern action thriller with a bit of paranormal thrown in for an extra kick.
A young girl is kidnapped off the street by a murderous religious cult. A man wrongly imprisoned in a Mexican jail is chosen to be the "righteous messenger" for an ancient evil entity and sent on a mission across the desert. A small town Texas sheriff and a high class psychologist join forces to take on the cult. Add an outlaw biker gang, a few corrupt federales, a disfigured psychotic henchman, and an undead virgin army. Are you getting the picture?
The first couple of chapters set up the plot and introduce us to the characters. The good guys are likable and funny. The bad guys are beyond evil. The action begins with the kidnapping and the clock is set for 24 hours. What takes place within one day for all these characters will have you on the edge of your seat for every chapter. When time runs out, the fate of the world is at stake. Can a handful of ordinary people defeat a supernatural evil entity? Hmm, I wonder.
If you enjoy fast paced, high energy movies and books, this one should be on your reading list. It's a lot of fun and definitely holds your interest throughout. The author doesn't pull punches with his prose so there is a good deal of profanity and violence. Be forewarned if that kind of thing offends you. The only aspect that I was just a little disappointed with was the ending. It kind of leaves you hanging without there being mention of a sequel. If so, I definitely want to read it.
I haven't read any other works by Adam Mansbach but this book certainly makes we want to check out what else he's done. I can see this book being made into a killer action movie. Are you out there Quentin Tarantino?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
You won't go the f--- to sleep while reading Adam Mansbach's latest novel. In fact, "The Dead Run" may keep you up late as you navigate a twisting path decorated with chills, grossouts, head-bashing encounters and supernatural shenanigans. The plot centers on a sometimes likable prisoner named Jess Galvan, who is charged with carrying a live and beating heart (you read that right) across the Tex-Mex desert in a desperate try to save himself and a few others. That's no easy job when you're up against characters that include a centuries-old Aztec, his slimy son, a flesh-eating virgin army (you read that right, too) and a killer motorcycle gang, while only a few people are on your side, most notably an honest Texas lawman, a 16-year-old girl, and a therapist whose instincts are as good as her looks. In the hands of a lesser writer, the horror-happenings in "The Dead Run" might seem overly far out, but from the novel's tense prologue to its unexpected climax, Mansbach will make a believer of you.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When Jess Galvan walked into that seedy bar in Mexico, his goal was to carry a package across the border and use his earnings against his crazy ex-wife in a custody battle for their daughter. Instead, a poorly timed act of altruism lands Galvan in a Mexican prison inhabited by the legendary El Cucuy.

Returning home from a lousy day at the community swimming pool, Sherry Richards is kidnapped and becomes another statistic in a growing succession of sixteen year-old females who have disappeared. Her mother, recently rehabilitated from a powerful cult, calls the police.

Sheriff Bob Nichols, of the woefully understaffed Del Verde County office, believes Sherry is just another runaway until the mother's psychiatrist, Ruth Cantwell, contacts him. She supports the mother's fears and convinces Nichols to jump into her bright red Prius and pay a visit to the cult compound.

The Dead Run, a story that involves a freakish cult, ancient legends, supernatural beings, patriotic bikers, a still beating heart in a box, and a dangerous trek through the desert inhabited by the Virgin Army of zombie girls, is unquestionably bizarre. The writing is hip, gritty, violent, and fast-paced with some laugh out loud moments. The fact that the writer is also the author of the hysterical "children's" book, Go the (BEEP) to Sleep, makes the dark humor of this outlandish story even more wicked.

Now, any horror story that includes the supernatural is going to be a stretch of the imagination. The Dead Run, however, requires an elastic contortion of the reader's imagination; sometimes asking much patience and indulgence on the reader's part.
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Format: Hardcover
Review Courtesy of All Things Urban FAntasy

THE DEAD RUN was an exhilarating thriller with a blend of horror and supernatural qualities, though I was left wondering whether I was reading a straight up horror novel as much of the super intricate and magical plot line doesn't seem to start until a few chapters in. Aside from expecting more paranormal qualities earlier in the story THE DEAD RUN was a pretty enjoyable read and the plot was set to eleven in terms of speed which is how thrillers should be. I am typically not a fan of gore which tends to be synonymous with horror so I was pleased that while THE DEAD RUN does have a fair amount of gore it wasn't excessive enough for me to stop reading it.

Another aspect of THE DEAD RUN I enjoyed was the very bloody fight sequences that showed no one is safe from death or horrible injury. So much goes on in these battles with supernatural creatures that I had to re-read parts to figure out what happened to who and where exactly. Also, Most of the supernatural creatures and human characters exist in a grey zone of morality to the point that I could almost understand why a character would randomly decide to do something absolutely crazy in a dire situation.

While I enjoyed the horror story and creepy mythology involving the main bad guy, one of the big issues I had with this THE DEAD RUN is the lack of character development. I could tell that these characters were generally not all good or all bad but they came off more as generalizations of characters. I didn't know or like anyone enough to really care about them, even Galvan. He's very flawed which I only figured out from the vague mentions of his troubled past in the first chapter.
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