Night Runner by Tim Bowler

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Night Runner by Tim Bowler

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Tense, exciting thriller that holds your attention entirely. Why are strange men watching Zinny's house? What is Dad really doing when he leaves the house every day? It's not working, that's for sure. Loved this short, sharp, dark story. Loved it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 208 Date: August 2014
Publisher: OUP
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 0192794140

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Strange men are watching Zinny's house but he doesn't know why. His mum is being disloyal to his dad but he doesn't know why. Something is up with his dad and his job but Zinny doesn't know what. But Zinny does know that he's had enough of school, where he's being bullied. Everything is going wrong. And now, the men who are watching the house are after Zinny too. Mum ends up in the hospital. Dad disappears.

What's going on?

To find out and to save his family, Zinny will have to help the very man he's been running away from...

Poor Zinny! He's really in trouble! I really enjoyed this thriller. It inhabits an area somewhere between Tim Bowler's fabulous Blade series and your more standard meaty thrillers. For starters, it's short and sharp - coming in at under two-hundred pages and without a wasted word. But it doesn't feel at all otherworldly, as Blade sometimes does. Night Runner is a real kitchen sink drama. As Zinny's family begins to fall apart under the weight of his mother's infidelity and his father's work problems, it gets caught up in other people's misdoings too.

Bowler fills in all the details with just a few words but paints an incredibly vivid picture. I love this way of doing things - it produces a real page-turner of a read but it doesn't sacrifice the human interest. I read the whole thing in one, rather breathless, sitting, and I hadn't quite worked out what was going on until it was all revealed.

Night Runner will appeal to both middle-grade readers and teens too, if they like a tight, tense thriller. It really is well done. The action doesn't falter for a moment and Zinny is a tremendously sympathetic central character, caught as he is in the midst of an entire pile of hopeless - and sometimes downright wicked - adults. Only Mr Latham, his headmaster, exhibits any sense at all. Zinny's parents are so caught up in their own problems that they entirely forget to look out for their son. You really do root for Zinny.

Recommended. We also enjoyed Tim Bowler's Game Changer.

If you like thrillers, you might also enjoy Crossing the Line by Gillian Philip, the story of the aftermath of a fatal stabbing.

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Buy Night Runner by Tim Bowler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Night Runner by Tim Bowler at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Night Runner by Tim Bowler at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Night Runner by Tim Bowler at


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