Mansbach, Adam. The Dead Run
Booklist Reviews 2013 August #1
Yes, Mansbach is the author of the hilarious children's-book spoof, Go the F**k to Sleep (2011). But don't expect many laughs here. His new book is more in keeping with his earlier novels (including Rage is Back, 2013)—an exploration of good and evil, light and dark. A genre-bender, the novel is strong on horror elements, especially its main plotline, in which an American man, stuck in a Mexican prison, is coerced into taking the beating heart—yes, the living, beating heart—of a young girl across the border, where he is to deliver it to a seriously dangerous man. A second, seemingly unrelated story involves a Texas police officer's search for a missing girl, who may be trying to escape her overbearing, fanatically religious mother. The book has a startlingly compelling villain, the cult leader Aaron Seth, and a nominal hero, sheriff Bob Nichols, and then it has Jess Galvan, the guy with the heart strapped to his back in a sealed box, who fits in somewhere between hero and villain. Both surreal and grounded in harsh reality, the novel is ambitiously plotted and powerfully written. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2013 May #1
Following his monumental best seller, Go the F**k to Sleep, Mansbach has kept our attention with the edgy, intellectual Rage Is Back and now this scarefest. Young women are turning up dead on both sides of the border, but Sherry Nichols manages to escape from the killers. Meanwhile, the wrongly imprisoned Galvan buys his freedom from a Mexican jail by agreeing to carry a mysterious package across the border. Now they're both out in the unforgiving desert with something creepy, and it's not a rattlesnake. With a 75,000-copy first printing.[Page 59]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
LJ Reviews 2013 July #1
Getting across the border between Mexico and the United States is a tall order, especially for a criminal. For an American named Galvan, it becomes almost an impossibility. Released from a Mexican jail, Galvan is charged by an evil cult with bringing a relic of immense power across the desert and into the United States, where it will imbue the cult's messiah with world-dominating powers. Galvan is more concerned with seeing his daughter Sherry again. Unbeknownst to him, Sherry is also on the cult's radar, and they intend to kidnap her to help fulfill their dark prophecy. Pursuing the cult from the United States are a lawyer and a small-town cop, both of whom are unaware of just how large the stakes are in this confrontation. Mansbach (Rage Is Back) spins an exciting tale, an action thriller heavily infused with paranormal elements like ancient deities and an army of undead virgin sacrifices. The narrative twists among several disparate protagonists and keeps a lot of balls in the air without losing momentum. VERDICT Highly recommended for readers of supernatural action and horror. Also recommended for fans of more general action stories, if they don't roll their eyes at zombies. [See Prepub Alert, 4/1/13; for supernatural-fiction fans who enjoy the undead, see also Megan McArdle's zombie fiction roundup on p. 66.—Ed.]—Peter Petruski, Cumberland Cty. Lib. Syst., Carlisle, PA[Page 73]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
PW Reviews 2013 August #2
In this taut and gritty adventure thriller with a supernatural element from Mansbach (best known for the satirical children's book Go the F**k to Sleep), Jess Galvan, a contraband runner along the Texas-Mexico border with a heart of gold and a daughter he wants to free from his nutcase ex-wife, allows his protective instincts to get the better of him in attempting to save a prostitute from abuse. Galvan winds up in a Mexican prison, where he meets a shamanic figure who straps a box to his back with baling wire. Inside the box is the magically still-beating heart of a virgin. Galvan's task: deliver this package across the border to a cult leader in Texas. The problem: doing so will end the world—Aztec style—and usher in an era of evil. The initially staccato narrative voice morphs in fits and starts into rollicking goofiness as the action builds to a finale that threatens to overwhelm all willing suspension of disbelief. Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (Oct.)[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC