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Run Rose Run

James Paterson’s collaboration with celebrities is an interesting exercise in guessing where one collaborators' work ends and the other begins. In The President is Missing, secret tunnels from beneath the White House were probably Bill Clinton’s contribution, but a House of Representative squirrelly member trying to impeach the president… Yeah, that was Bill.

It doesn’t take much to believe that in Run Rose Run, the countryfied quips that run sweet as sorghum were Dolly Parton’s. To my southern-born ear, they made me smile. If country talk is not for you, they will make you wince.

The book is a rags-to-riches country singer tale, with an unbelievable meteoric rise of a gifted young singer by the name of AnnieLee. A reader must suspend disbelief to enjoy how AnnieLee comes to Nashville sleeping in the park and becomes the next big thing. The list of main characters is short. Besides AnnieLee, there is a fictional country legend Ruthanna (Yes, all the women have two names welded together), who takes AnnieLee under her wing, and love interest Ethan Blake who is strong, handsome, and troubled.

The story arc is sugary until two men who invade her motel room beat AnnieLee. The chapter is so out of character with the story up to then, I had to flip back to see if I missed something. It is a prelude to understanding AnnieLee is not all she pretended to be. The last part of the book is a dark ride by Ethan into AnnieLee’s past.

The novel would earn three stars were it not for my aforementioned soft-spot for country talk. That raised it a notch, and of course, underlying it all is James Patterson’s expertise in the writing craft.

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