Sullivan's Run by Andrew Vaillencourt
Reviewed by Tobias Roote
The ultimate fighter battles a perfect killer for the fate of the future.
John Sullivan didn't ask to be born, and he certainly didn't ask to be crazy. But that's what happens when somebody else gets to pick out your DNA. Even worse, under the Genetic Equity Act of 2141 all artificial modifications granting 'unfair advantage' belong to society. As the genetically engineered son of a famous mobster, Sullivan's physical gifts and illegal provenance condemn him to a life of government service hunting and apprehending others like himself.
It feels like a perfect fit for Sullivan. Cursed with a state of unending aggression and neurologically inhibited from interacting with his anger, fieldwork is the only place he can explore his psychological demons without revealing how unhinged he really is.
A disconcerting shift in his volatile mental state becomes frantic race against time when a brilliant scientist disappears with a groundbreaking discovery. A remorseless killer joins the hunt and the trail leads to a lawless underground metroplex filled with refugees and revolutionaries. Deep beneath the surface, new trials and unpleasant discoveries will challenge everything Sullivan knows about himself and his place in the world.
Is John Sullivan a hero? A psychopath? Not even he knows for sure, and finding out means running a dangerous gauntlet of ruthless enemies. Whatever the answer, the world will be a very different place after the last brutal strides of:
Andrew Vaillencourt tells a good story.
Sullivan is a mutant, a very expensive one designed by the mob as the ultimate enforcer. But it appears somebody didn't plan for what life would throw at him. Sullivan didn't like much of anything it did either. As a result the people he meets aren't going to like it one bit. Seems like a tough time is set for everyone.
The Government wants all mutants to be controlled and Sullivan is just the man to do it. He's not happy about it, but then nothing makes him happy - and that's his problem. His lack of anger management makes him a dangerous loose cannon in and out of the system and despite everyone's constant efforts to sweep up the mess, he continues to create mayhem wherever he's sent. Which suits some elements perfectly - until he goes a step too far.
Deemed out of control by higher-up's, a department psychiatrist steps in and unknowingly sets off a trip switch in Sullivan's brain. Now all bets are off and utter chaos unfolds as the mentally-disturbed mutant begins to discover that everything he thought he knew or understood about himself and everything around him isn't quite what it seems.
The author writes in a fast-paced but controlled fashion, very unlike his character, while the story moves like an express train, fast, unswerving in it's drive to reach its destination. Amassing forward momentum as it goes the plot doesn't waiver, building speed and action in equal measure until nearing the final curtain where a pivotal point in Sullivan's Run looks like it might swing the balance, but which way?
Sullivan's Run isn't so much a science fiction novel as an action-packed suspense thriller. It doesn't matter because the genetic science is solid and the characters are superb. The story, which takes place in the 22nd century, is well thought out and more than once I marvelled at how well the author set characters and scenery and wished I could write half as well.
At 305 pages it's a long book, but I thoroughly enjoyed the read and it kept me entertained for most of the week.