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The buyers find us. Establish their bona fides.
Then, and only then, we run.
Burdon Lane is a businessman living out the American Dream in a shiny suburb of Washington, D.C. His business card lists him as Executive VP of UniArms, Inc., a legitimate arms dealer that's a front for a gunrunning empire. His girlfriend thinks he's a salesman. His best friend thinks he's a role model. His boss thinks he's a good soldier.
This weekend's run should be business as usual -- guns for money, money for guns -- moving the product north on the Iron Highway from Dirty City to Manhattan. But this weekend is going to teach Burdon something he doesn't yet know about who he is . . . and isn't. When the meet in Manhattan turns into a five-alarm fire and an all-out war on the tenth floor of a New York hotel, there is only one way out: an uneasy alliance with a hard case named Jinx and the street gang known as the U Street Crew. And once the heat is on, with a cadre of killers and every police officer and Federal agent on the eastern seaboard on their tail, Burdon gets the chilling sensation that, one way or another, this so-called milk run may be his last.
This is the story of the last run, the run where no one -- criminal, cop, or civilian -- is who or what they seem.
Douglas E. Winter's debut novel blasts into the dark heart of America's culture of guns and violence with breathtaking velocity. Run is a streamlined tour de force of full-throttle action and high-tech weaponry, a brilliantly controlled ride through America's most brutal terrain, with a surprising moral message -- fantastically harrowing, relentlessly cinematic, impossible to look away from.
Penzler Pick, May 2000: This first novel reads like an adrenaline rush. From the first page, the reader will inhale this story of a gun run from Washington, D.C., to New York, exhaling 288 pages later.
Burdon Lane is not a man to admire. He makes his living transporting guns into those areas of the city where the authorities turn a blind eye to residents shooting each other with some regularity. The purpose of his latest run to Harlem is to arm one gang against another. What Burdon does not know is that the government has a man, maybe more than one, inside the run. What the authorities don't know is that someone has a plan of his own. Just as the deal is about to go down, Lane's own people start shooting each other, the gun merchants begin killing their own, and men in police uniforms who are obviously not police show up. Suddenly a prominent civil rights leader marching in a parade nearby is assassinated. When all the shooting stops, Lane finds himself in possession of $2 million intended for the purchase of the guns. He has no idea what has just happened. All he knows is that he must run.
This, then, is the story of a run within a run, and it's one of the most original first novels to come along in a while. Winter has an extraordinary voice, but he also has an underlying message about our gun culture. It is not just about gangsters selling guns; it is about who sells, who buys, and, ultimately, who cares and who doesn't. --Otto Penzler
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