Dorian's Run

Fiction - Crime
156 Pages
Reviewed on 06/12/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Shirley A. Anderson was born in Long Beach, California.  She has lived in many locations in California from North to South. She has also lived in Washington, D.C., Connecticut and Virginia.  Married for 44 years and has three adult children and one grandchild.  Dorian’s Run is her first book.  Her hobbies include hiking, reading and traveling.  Her favorite country to travel is the United States.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

Dorian's Run is a psychological crime thriller written by Shirley A. Anderson. Brian had, on impulse, rented a furnished apartment over a jeweler’s store in Half Moon Bay. He felt it was his moment to begin to live authentically, fully, and today he was making the final break. Taking out two suitcases, he began to pack. Brian hadn’t told his wife Carla anything at all about his plans, though he was sure she realized that their separation had been coming for some time. Life in Half Moon Bay was every bit as exciting and fresh as Brian could have hoped for. Running and reading were his two main delights. Along with the apartment came a neighbor, a surfer his age, named Travis, who became the first of the network of friends he would gain with his move, and Travis recommended a local watering hole that became Brian’s regular place to hang out and spend time with new friends. But something else happened when Brian left his family and moved out to the coast. He began to take a different look at the book he required each English class he taught to read first thing each fall: The Picture of Dorian Gray. Favorite quotes seemed to take on enlarged significance, and Brian began to live a darker life, one neither his wife nor his new friends were aware of.

Shirley A. Anderson’s dark crime drama, Dorian's Run, follows Brian as he is seduced by easy access to gems and gold into jeopardizing his family and freedom. The reader can’t help but feel dismayed as this intelligent and kind man somehow goes so very far astray despite the ease with which he is welcomed into his new coastal community and life. Anderson’s familiarity with and love of Montara, Moss Beach, and Half Moon Bay comes through on almost every page of this thought-provoking and original story. A former inhabitant myself, I soon found I was revisiting favorite beaches, restaurants, and shops along with Brian. Anderson even gifts the reader with a local’s eye view of the Pumpkin Festival, a classic and beloved fall ritual, while she addresses the stresses and strains Brian and Carla face in making sure their two young sons adapt to their parents’ break with the least amount of pain and heartache. And yes, the reader can’t help but know that Brian will be caught eventually and brought to justice -- but how and when? Anderson’s characters are credible and well-defined, and her plot is ingenious and provocative. Dorian’s Run is highly recommended.

Maria Victoria Beltran

Dorian's Run by Shirley A. Anderson is a refreshingly fresh crime fiction novel. Brian Duffy is a self-confessed disillusioned yuppie, married to his college sweetheart with whom he has two sons. The story unravels on the day he decided that he has enough living the opulent middle class life of the 80's while doing his usual run around his neighbourhood. Life for him has become meaningless, driven by consumerism and thick with hypocrisy. Searching for the real purpose of life, he separates from his wife and spends a summer on the coast of Half Moon Bay in California. Then he discovers the thrill of spotting and breaking into empty houses during his morning runs and his life will never be the same again.

Shirley A. Anderson's Dorian's Run is a social commentary on the materialistic life of middle-class Americans. Brian Duffy, one of the main protagonists in the story, is at first glance your normal teacher in the neighborhood whose morning ritual starts with a morning run. Then we realize that he is different from most people, finding no satisfaction in leading a rigorously scheduled life and acquiring material things. As the story progresses, it is interesting to note that this is one criminal you would not love to hate. Narrated in the first person singular, the tone of the story is consistent, and comes from a very unique perspective. This is one plot that manages to be original and that is quite an achievement in this day and age. Shirley A. Anderson's writing style is concise and frill-less, but there are a lot of innuendos behind her lines, which makes Dorian's Run a truly enjoyable read!

K.C. Finn

Dorian’s Run is a work of fiction in the crime, suspense, and mystery sub-genres and was penned by author Shirley A. Anderson. Written for adult audiences, the work does contain some moderate sexual situations and references that would be unsuitable to less mature readers. Our central protagonist for this intriguing short work is Brian Duffy, a young man on the road to success who finds himself disillusioned by what the '80s has to offer him so far. As he makes a break for Half Moon Bay, California, his search for excitement leads him into the criminal world of housebreaking. So begins a wild ride marked for trouble from the off.

Author Shirley A. Anderson has crafted a cozy style crime read which will be sure to offer plenty of entertainment to its wide-ranging audience. As a central character, Brian is well developed and we can clearly see his motivations for exiting the privileged life which he takes for granted. Reading a book from a criminal perspective is a highly enjoyable novelty in the crime genre, and this drama delivers some excellent wordplay and narrative skills to still portray Brian as a likable protagonist that we are willing to follow. What results is a sense of amusement that lasts through the triumphs and trials of the plot, which in itself is well-paced and moves quickly through different scenes to deliver some excellent punchlines and conclusions. Overall, I would certainly recommend Dorian’s Run to crime-fiction fans looking for something new and fun.