Medallion, Sep 2008, $7.95
After living for two years with a violent spouse who put her in the hospital, Ashley Adams is a free woman. Determined to become all she can be including recovering what she was before her marriage in hell, Ashley goes to therapy, learns self defense, and carries a gun; her vow is never again. Peter calls her all time alternating with pleading and cajoling for her to come home and cursing her out. She ignores both sides of the SOB.
Instead Ashley is preparing to run a marathon with her good friend and coach in DC, which will add to her self esteem. Early one morning, she and the coach are running when a car suddenly bears down on them; a gun shot is fired from the vehicle killing Paul Stratford, who was picking up a newspaper in front of his door. Homicide Detective Rick Edwards is uncertain who the intended victim was, but believe this was not random. Ashley ahs no doubt that her ex spouse Peter hired someone to kill her. The next day, Ashley runs again, but her coach suddenly collapses after drinking some water and is rushed to the hospital where he is diagnosed with turpentine poisoning that she knows Peter put in their water. Her house is broken into twice and someone shoots at her. Peter swears he is innocent; that someone else who drives a gold HHR is making him look like the suspect. Rick vows to protect the woman he loves though she doubts he will ever commit to a permanent relationship.
This is an exciting explosive suspense thriller that works on several levels. Ashley and Rick are a couple the audience hopes will make it as she helps him through his personal problems while also working on her own self worth. Readers will wonder if Peter hired a killer as the obvious scenario is that the abuser refuses to accept Ashley wants nothing to do with him. Cheryl Norman keeps fans off balance as other possibilities crop up. Mindful of Linda Howard’s novels, RUNNING SCARED is a terrific thriller.