*May Contain Spoilers*
Benjamin Dancer reveals the world's Achilles heel and one man who understands it in his novel, Patriarch Run. Jack, a contractor for the United States Government, has traveled the world and witnessed war, famine, and other unspeakable horrors. In his mind there is only one reason for this: the human population is out of control.
But after the Washington bombing, an event that was designed to exterminate him, Jack can't remember who he is, what he was doing, why there are men trying to kill him, or where he hid the stolen Chinese device that could fix the root of the problem. His blank mind leads him home to the wife and child he abandoned ten years prior, bringing pain and suffering to their happy lives.
Jack, Rachel, and Billy share the focus of this novel. Jack is a blank slate of a person. He's methodical and automatic. The flashbacks reveal Jack to be an innately good man who wants to live off the land, creating his own world in the middle of nature. The present version of Jack is not easily liked. He's solely focused on finishing his mission, though he struggles to remember what it is. Understanding that his family might die doesn't unnerve him. Readers will find it difficult to connect with his view and, therefore, his actions.
Rachel is an impressive character focused on survival and protecting her son. She's kidnapped, beaten, and veers awfully close to death. Yet, she's determined, hopeful, and brave. Readers will enjoy seeing her side of the story, though the situations she faces are gut-wrenching. Billy's character is similar to his mother's. As a teenage boy on the brink of high school graduation, Billy is an innocent victim of his father's decision. He's quite intelligent, can protect himself, and shares the survival focus that his parents also have. Readers will enjoy his respectful attitude and the way in which he handles the terrifying circumstances.
Patriarch Run begins with the attempted assassination of Jack in a car bombing. After this causes his amnesia, Jack finds himself at home, bringing chaos and destruction to a Colorado town he loves. As Jack tries to survive and remember how he came to be in this deadly situation, his family becomes the target to force his hand. Though the story is entertaining, at times terrifying, and fast-paced, the timeline was hard to understand. Some of the chapters are flashbacks but I found myself mixing up the facts as the story became more in-depth. The writing style implies information without adding needed clarification. Patriarch Run is a thrilling novel that takes one family on a frightening journey of survival, intended for mature reading audiences.
Rating: 3/5 Cups