AJ Stewart

Book Review: Dead Fast by A.J. Stewart – Run Marcus Run

This is the fourth book in the Miami Jones series by author A.J. Stewart. Do you need to read the others before reading this book? It would probably be a good idea. There’s some build-up of the central characters and references to events in those books. However, I believe you could pick it up here if you want.

Miami Jones and his girlfriend Danielle are on vacation in Jamaica. The only problem is they aren’t the relax and do nothing types and find themselves bored after one day. They begin exploring the world outside of the resort and soon help a young man who is being mugged for his sneakers. After returning him to his home, they are asked to provide protection for the young man, Marcus, for the next few days.

They find themselves immersed in the world of international running and as well as the politics of sports in a country as poor as Jamaica. This is where young men like Marcus are exploited in the hopes that one of them will become the next Usain Bolt and others can profit by riding on their coattails. The man who hired Miami and Danielle to protect Marcus is one of those people.

The story brings in a lot of Miami’s past as a baseball player and how colleges and others recruited young players. This is why Miami has a soft spot for the young man and wants to see him be able to survive beyond his moment in the sun. He brings him back to Florida for a trial at his alma mater, hoping to get him a scholarship due to his abilities so he will be able to have a life beyond running. Of course, this isn’t what the man who hired Miami had in mind. Can Miami give Marcus a happy ending? Or at least keep him alive?

Dead Fast took the characters of Miami and Danielle a bit out of their comfort zone. They are the fish out of water in Jamaica, despite both of their abilities. They quickly gain the notice of the rich and powerful in the country, including a man who is jockeying to be Jamaica’s next representative to the International Olympic Committee. While that position might not seem as a big of a deal to most of us, in a country like Jamaica it’s a very big deal. The casualties of all of this are the kids like Marcus.

There is plenty of danger and suspense which kept me turning the pages wanting to see what happens. At the same time, it was a little too neat. This is one of those feel-good books where at the end everyone should be happy. I tend to like books that leave me wondering or leave me unsatisfied about the resolution. You can’t always get what you want and everything doesn’t always work out and you have to adapt. It seems like Miami is trying to steer Marcus in that direction so he has something to fall back on, the way Miami was able to find a satisfying career once his baseball dreams fell apart. Realistically, I don’t think Marcus would have made it out of Jamaica with all of the people who wanted a piece of him, but that isn’t how this story is told.

In Dead Fast, Miami and Danielle also look a little harder at their relationship. It’s been a casual commitment until now, but Miami is starting to think about making it permanent. At the same time, that scares him. It’s a good progression from where their relationship started, and I didn’t find myself wondering why in the world they were together. Yes, he makes a lot of smart-aleck comments about her health regiment, but I could tell he also enjoys it. And there is plenty of time spent at the bar on Singer Island – a place I’ve visited several times.

The pacing and the unique story made this a great read. The familiar characters advanced a little, and the new characters were interesting if a bit predictable. There’s no real mystery here, though. It’s more of a story that I wanted to find out how it would end. I am still enjoying the series and this is a good entry in it.

Previous book in the series (link): High Lie by A.J. Stewart

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