‘A debut novel that blows me away…’ a rave in Night Owl Reviews

October 21, 2013


Race Across the Sky

It’s always nice to read a debut novel that blows me away, and in Derek Sherman’s case, with his first novel, Race Across the Sky, he has had that affect. This novel really did blow me away. It was written so well and the author really brought his character’s to life. I was surprised he was able to switch between the characters so well and portray them so realistically. Another thing that surprised me was the author’s way of sharing what he learned about running cults and biotechnology without giving a lecture to the reader. Bits and pieces of his research came through in the story so well without causing me to lose interest or feel like I was all of a sudden in a classroom. The characters in the story need to know these things, and believe me, they know them as they should.

Aside from the character Mack, the characters in this story were very likable. I just fell in love with them – Caleb, June, Lily, Shane, Janelle and even Dr. Acharn. Now I’m always going to remember that doctor and the strange way he smoked his cigarettes – and it was funny how he’d be smoking one moment, turning around to hack up a lung in another moment, then continue smoking again as if nothing happened. My heart went out to the character, Lily. I wasn’t surprised that Caleb loved that little girl so much that he was willing to risk his life for her. Mack is the “evil guru” in this story. I didn’t like him very much. He was crazy! There were many scenes with Mack that had me rolling my eyes and muttering, “That guy is nuts.” I DID get a little mad over how he instructed June on changes to make to her baby’s diet and sleep schedule – I actually wanted to shake him and scream that a baby needs more than two meals a day – but this was not a surprise coming from him. I had to admit I was a little sad that Caleb and June were so brainwashed by Mack that they thought their set-up was a good deal. Why would they not want to get away from that? Mack controlled their lives. And while Mack said they were free to leave at any time, the truth was, they weren’t. And Caleb may not have realized that Mack was using him to achieve notoriety for himself. Caleb was Mack’s star runner, his ticket to fame and fortune. Before I read this novel, I was not aware of running cults. While I’m all for an active, healthy lifestyle, and while that dormant runner in me had me cheering the characters on during their runs, it’s unfortunate that there are running groups have elevated such a lifestyle to cult status and ruined the sport for people.

Despite something tragic that happens at the end of this story, Race Across the Sky was a really good novel. It was an engrossing, powerful story that I had a hard time putting down. This story definitely held my interest and it affected me so profoundly that I would not soon forget it. Race Across the Sky is a great novel for anybody who enjoys suspense, mystery and medical thrillers. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing more good books from this author.

Caleb Oberest thinks his life is perfect being a member of the Happy Trails Running Club. Despite having no contact with friends or family, no cell phone, no bank account or even his own home, Caleb spends his days running for hours and living by the strict standards of the group, which pretty much includes 4 hours of sleep and two meals a day. Then young Lily enters the picture, a child with a fatal disease that could mean she’ll be dead in three years. Caleb falls in love with Lily’s mother, June, and loves Lily so much that he realizes he would do anything to save her – even if it meant leaving behind the life he’d grown to love for 10 years and risking it all for a cure. But can Caleb get Lily to this cure in time? It literally becomes a “race for a cure” to save Lily and escape from the cult that will stop at nothing to get him back.