No Place to Run by Mark Edwards

Scarlett Faith was fifteen when she travelled across the world from the UK to visit her big brother Aidan in USA. She was curious and excited, but also bored to the back of her teeth with their parents’ inability to understand what she had wanted to achieve in life. She has not seen Aidan for a long time and hoped that he would appreciate her passion for protecting the Earth, for trying to save it for the next generations in the face of incoming destruction.

First outing in Seattle and she was nearly lost in the all-encompassing powerful demonstration where protesters wanted more climate action, waving slogans like ‘There is no planet B’ and ‘Our house is on fire’. Pilgrimage to Nirvana and Kurt Cobain’s place proved quite thrilling, until her brother got involved when a man talked about a special tribute gig. Yet, the music didn’t feel as urgent as the environmental issues. Then Scarlett vanished from the city, totally and completely disappeared which created a huge irreplaceable hole in the family’s life. Two years of fruitless investigations and searches and still no sign of the young woman. Aidan never gave up, feeling both guilty and responsible for what has happened under his watch; he still believes she is alive.

Lana Carrera refuses to believe that her younger brother Samuel has died in a recent wildfire. She wants answers and hopes to find him but the locals in the area hate her ‘loose cannon’ determination, warning her to forget conspiracy theories, or else. But Lana continues to question everything as she suspects police cover-up and the unexpected hostility of those who should be supportive in the face of growing occurrences of missing teenagers.

After an invitation to join a secret WhatsApp group, student Kristin Fox travels to Eaglewood. She wants to become part of the conscientious team with other environmental activists who take the climate change seriously. She is ready to train and work with them at the Ranch, and to complete important drastic missions to save the Earth. Soon though she notices that abundance of drugs and various reckless dangerous men have too much presence in the environment meant to be clean and inspiring.

And Shannon Reinhardt, charismatic leader of the Ranch where together with her wingman Jimmy she has been recruiting eco-warriors. She is a passionate visionary, strong independent woman, who after a spiritual awakening made her life mission to fight climate threats. And even though she would definitely not chosen that word herself, Shannon leads a cult.

Mark Edwards

The action of No Place to Run is set in and around a fictional Californian town where the undercurrent of secrecy and violence runs under the surface of ordinary life. The Mayor Christopher Hood seems to have all under control. However, as Aidan follows the vague trail based on a possible sighting of a young woman looking like Scarlett, he meets strange characters and unreliable police force, and begins to realise that lofty ideas and business deals hide something very sinister.

There are futuristic concepts which actually take us back to the nearly biblical notions of survival of the strongest and the best who would be able to take care of the planet and its resources in the future. Mark Edwards takes the original idea to the extreme. In this case fires, rather than melting glaciers, symbolise the apocalypse. Female characters, including a small appearance of an older lady Francesca who gave Aidan new hope, drive the story, even though it’s Aidan’s personal ‘detective’ investigation. Mark Edwards pulls all threads and weaves a tight net of emotions that capture your attention and stop your breathing when the tension and terror take over. And the visual aspects of his writing style make his latest novel an intensive AND slightly disturbing treat with the adventurous elements to boot. Read it at your peril. In fact, just read it!

Mark Edwards’ No Place to Run – Bookshop.org No Place to Run – Amazon is out on the summer solstice 21st June 2022, published by Thomas & Mercer. Huge thanks to Rhiannon Morris of FMcM Associates for the opportunity to join the blog tour.

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