Friday, 16 June 2017

#TheGirlWhoRan #NikkiOwen #Review

The Girl Who Ran Nikki Owen

Dr Maria Martinez has finally escaped The Project facility that has been controlling her since birth. But in going against The Project’s rigid protocol, the powers at the very top of the organisation will go to any length to re-initiate her. Their aim? To bring her back to the tightly-regimented headquarters where their intense ‘training ‘of Maria can be completed.

Fleeing to Switzerland in an attempt to outwit her enemy, Maria must never lose sight of potential danger, but soon finds there’s nowhere to run. And as she starts to question whether she can trust even those closest to her, returning to the one place she has fought so hard to leave might be her only option.


This is book three in the trilogy and I have read the previous instalments which I thoroughly enjoyed. I have included my reviews below. As soon as I saw the final novel in the trilogy was available for request, I was keen to read it.

It did not disappoint. It is a great ending to the trilogy and it really reflected how the characters have developed, strengthened and evolved, as has the author's skill in structure, pace and style. I felt Owen was confidently in her stride in this novel and there was a real sense of assuredness in the prose.

It is important to have read the first two books as it is a complex story and there is much backstory that the reader needs to be aware of. It is a while since I reviewed the earlier novels about Martinez so I was grateful for the recaps that gave me enough to place me back in the moment but I think I might have struggled a bit to read this as a stand alone. However, I guarantee that you will fly through The Killing Files and The Spider in the Corner and be grateful to have stumbled on a new trilogy in which to immerse yourself in!

Martinez is one of my favourite protagonists. She has always felt original, brave, complicated and constantly up against the odds. I have compared her to the TV series Marcella and the famous Jason Bourne and again, these similarities were seen in The Girl Who Ran. But I think this is a compliment to Owen's ability to shape and create such a conflicted character. And I don't think either the script writers for these things or Anna Friel and Matt Damon themselves, are bad things to be compared to!!

I enjoyed being back with Martinez and seeing the world from her point of view. I like how Owen writes about her thought processes, her reasoning, her unique way of solving problems.

"I calculate the length of the edges to help my brain to think straight in the midst of the plane engine roar in the air around me, the birds in the swaying fir trees near the network of road and railways, the tremble of trolley wheels and the faint scent of distant cigarette smoke. Yet it is only when a lick of aviator fuel flicks my nostrils, jolting me upwards, that the thought occurs to me...." 

And also how her literal understanding of what people say can also not only add a bit of unintentional humour, but also remind us of how complicated she is as a protagonist.

"God," Chris says, "it's boiling in here." 
Alerted to his words I immediately assess the temperature. "It is not boiling. That would require water and a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius at a sea level pressure." 

It's very common in the thriller genre to give the protagonist something that sets them apart from the rest of the characters - a quirk, a tick, baggage, an addiction. I think Owen's choice to use asperges is really affective and, as in the previous books, well handled with sensitivity, respect but also by raising tension and suspense. Martinez is an appealing, compelling character who holds the reader's attention and sympathy through the entire story arc.

I enjoyed the interaction between the characters and the dynamics between them, particularly Maria, Chris and Patricia. There is plenty of dialogue that always feels authentic and not only drives the plot forward but also reveals more about the characters. I was also impressed with the way Owen described protocol, procedures, the project, technology and how at times is was like watching a film, the details are so well worked out and so well established.

There are dual timelines which are beautifully handled. It does require concentration but that is not hard in a story that deals with such a compelling premise and in a story so full of tension, suspense and urgency. I loved the subheadings for the chapters which included the "time remaining" until the "project re-initiation".

I recommend this trilogy to anyone who enjoys a good main character and is looking for a thriller that is complex, disturbing and exciting.

I'm looking forward to seeing what Owen writes next!

The Girl Who Ran is published by HQ Digital on 15th June 2017.

The Spider in the Corner of the Room (The Project, #1)


Review The Spider in the Corner


The Killing Files (The Project #2)

Review of The Killing Files

For more recommendations and reviews follow me on Twitter @KatherineSunde3 or via my website bibliomaniacuk.co.uk

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