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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.