Back Running

An All-American Family's Role in The Battle for Power

Young Adult - Action
164 Pages
Reviewed on 03/31/2021
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

My inspiration to write "Back Running," came to me while sitting on the back porch with my wife having coffee, watching it rain. Our backyard is bordered by bamboo 35-40 feet high, and it's mesmerizing to watch it sway back and forth in the wind.
All of a sudden the power went out and the ceiling fans stopped. We had just watched a news program about how are power grids could be shut down by foreign governments and I thought, "what if it never comes back on?"
Our imaginations took internet, no access to atm's-what would we do for food, fuel, and I thought, "as we begin - we end."
We go back to no electricity, we have to hunt for our food and grow crops.
The story grew from there and took about a year to publish.
Joesph Woodward resides in central Florida with his wife Rebecca. They have 4 children and six grand children. Joseph comes to you with a diverse background in marketing, music, and public relations. He was raised in Central Ohio and attended Ohio State University. His background in writing copy for a variety of products and services, gave him the ability to write “rich,” say a lot with fewer words.

Check out my website at for pictures, videos, and free books

    Book Review

Reviewed by Cheryl E. Rodriguez for Readers' Favorite

Joseph Woodward pens an action-packed young adult adventure in Back Running. How do you survive without any electrical power? No internet. No gasoline. No stocked supermarkets. The world is about to find out. In the aftermath of a world-wide power blackout, Coach Bob Byson and his family ponder how they will survive. Good people are now resorting to looting their neighbors. No one is safe. Every country is vulnerable. Coach Bob is determined to find a way to survive. It’s time to suck it up and do something! He and his family head to his dad’s cabin in the hills of South Carolina. Once they settle in, the Byson family meets a neighbor they didn’t know even existed. How could they? Their reclusive Russian neighbor, Yuri, lives in a well-hidden bunker. Yuri has built a fully equipped and powered laboratory underground. The Bysons and Yuri set out to provide portable power to the citizens of the USA. This is a dangerous task; many foreign countries want this new technology and are willing to kill to get it.

Back Running by Joseph Woodward is an intriguing, espionage-filled, dystopian thriller. In the preface of the novel, Joseph Woodward poses some interesting questions. These quandaries prepare the reader for what is about to unfold. History seems to repeat itself in regards to the struggle for power: “enough is never enough – that’s our nature.” The narrative jumps immediately into the story’s plot within the opening paragraphs of Chapter One. This sense of urgency is sure to appeal to the young adult reader. The science and technology is presented in an effective and understandable way, it's “sciency” without being over scientific. The key players in the fight for technology are familiar nemeses, making the espionage aspects realistic. Being raised by a football coach myself, I love that the main character is a coach and the use of football-related analogies throughout the narrative.

Woodward remains faithful to the theme of family and unity written in his other books. In Back Running, he pens family values, patriotism, and respect for the young and old in critical conditions. He also doesn’t downplay the “kill or be killed” in the fight for survival and the common good. The vast cast of characters revolves around the nucleus of the main characters, adding depth and different perspectives to the story. The action is fast, accompanied by thrills and spills, and twists and turns. So tighten your seat belt and get ready for the ride. Joseph Woodward’s Back Running doesn’t disappoint.

Rabia Tanveer

Back Running: An All-American Family's Role in The Battle for Power by Joseph Woodward is a story of survival and fighting the odds just to stay alive. Set in 2025, Coach Bob Byson was ready to do whatever it took to protect his little family. It all happened quickly. They lost power, they ran out of food, and they certainly could not get to the bank to get more money. To make matters worse, rogues started to loot houses. To stay safe, Bob decided to take his family to a cabin left to him by his father. He thought survival in a cabin in the woods was the best option for them, but he had no idea that he was putting his family in more danger. What they found underground their cabin baffled him. Things were even stranger there, and soon he realized his family was stuck in a bad situation at the worst possible time. Was there any chance of survival?

Fast-paced and well-constructed, Back Running had me hooked the moment I started reading it. Bob was a difficult man who was hard to please and understand. However, his growth and development were great. I could not help but feel sad for Sidney and Aaron. They had a tough time coming to grips with the chaos around them, and they had to live with a father who was a little too tough on them at times. The mystery behind the power outage, the helplessness that the Byson family felt and the mystery behind the cabin was all handled well by Joseph Woodward. I was very much intrigued by Yuri’s character and I wanted to know more. I was suspicious of him the moment he was introduced and came into the lives of our protagonists. The ending was a huge surprise for me, but it all tied together as the story concluded. Reading this novel was an absolute treat.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

In these unsettling times, it’s easy to believe that there is some evil conspiracy afoot that could take down the entire grid, leaving the ordinary person stuck without power, without fuel, without telecommunications in any form and, sadly, without hope. That’s what happens to a high school football coach and his family. As they watch the world around them go crazy, with people fighting and pillaging for what they need for survival, they decide as a family to escape the community in which they have lived for so many years, leaving behind their home and all they possess, and to take refuge in a family cabin deep in the woods. The coach, who goes by Coach or Bob, believes they can survive off the land. What they don’t anticipate is a neighbor, Yuri, his underground bunker, and his plans to re-grid communities before other superpowers take control. His trail of restoration becomes a battle full of subterfuge, danger, and a path that might lead to destruction and the total annihilation of the human race. Can this all-American family, consisting of a coach, a science teacher, and twin teenagers, really make a difference?

Joseph Woodward’s novel, Back Running: An All-American Family's Role in The Battle for Power, is both a thriller and a dystopian novel. Set in a world gone mad as everyone scrambles for survival, the plot follows a family of four as they connect with a mastermind of techno-genius abilities to recreate their world, one community at a time. While there is lots of adventure and the ongoing conflict between good and evil, the story outlines a basic theory that there is good to be found in the human race, if only one can find the means to control the greed of superpowers. “They knew it could be the pivot point for world history to change toward what our forefathers had meant to happen.” Freedom comes at a price, but is that price too steep? A powerful story with a frightening scenario.

K.C. Finn

Back Running: An All-American Family’s Role in the Battle for Power is a work of fiction in the speculative fiction genre. Suitable for young adult and adult readers, it was written by author Joseph Woodward. In the not too distant future, a family is forced to watch as the power grid for their area gets shut down without warning or explanation. With survival no longer guaranteed in their home, and looters growing bolder and bolder on the streets, they form a plan to evacuate to a cabin in the woods, but unbeknownst to them, the cabin holds the furthest thing possible from their salvation.

Author Joseph Woodward has crafted a fascinating tale with plenty of action, and one which will certainly thrill new readers seeking a short sharp work of adventure and survival fiction. While I think the novel could have benefitted from being longer to develop some of the scenes, the work is highly accessible to readers for its sharp approach and delivers plenty of exciting situations to see the characters escape in one piece. I felt a true sense of the American spirit in the story, which was very passionately penned and with some excellent work in the dialogue of the characters. The coach and his family felt like real people caught in a terrifying grip of fear, which was a relatable situation given the state of the world today! Overall, I would recommend Back Running for fans of disaster stories, cultural fiction, and all-out high octane action novels.

Pikasho Deka

It's 2025, and a tech war between the United States, Russia, and China has culminated in the collapse of power grids across the world with technology becoming obsolete. With looting and rioting on the horizon, high school football coach Bob Byson decides to leave town with his family and camp in his father's cabin in the woods for a quiet life. However, fate has other plans as a chance encounter with his new neighbor Yuri Kaslov gets him drawn into the murky world of espionage and a covert operation involving the installation of portable nuclear reactors and transmission devices across the country. But a mole in their ranks may complicate matters. Can Coach Byson serve his country while keeping his family safe? To find out, read Back Running: An All-American Family's Role In The Battle For Power by author Joseph Woodward.

Back Running: An All-American Family's Role In The Battle For Power is a gripping tale of undercover operatives, betrayal, and subterfuge. Author Joseph Woodward deftly showcases the patriotic fervor of a middle-class high school football coach and his family and their determination to serve their country in this engrossing espionage thriller. The plot moves fast and feels tightly packed with multiple twists and turns to keep you guessing. I honestly did not see a double-cross coming from a particular character. I found the premise of the story very intriguing, and Woodward's execution makes the read all the more engaging. I think fans of action-oriented thrillers will find this novel highly entertaining.