cover image Border Run

Border Run

Simon Lewis. Scribner, $22 (240p) ISBN 978-1-4165-9605-9

In Lewis’s well-paced, suspenseful stand-alone, two naïve Brits, Will and Jake, who are backpacking in China, venture into a forest near the Burmese border, guided by Howard, a seedy gone-native white guy, in the hope of seeing a picturesque waterfall and meeting tribal girls with no hang-ups about casual sex. Lewis (Bad Traffic) uses initially small but ominous steps to pave this road to a jungle hell. The young men willingly sink into a morass of shifting perceptions and intentions: Howard turns out to be a smuggler or worse, and the girls prove to be pawns in a deadly game. Jake goads Will into once unthinkable acts, tearing their friendship to pieces and trapping them both in a tightening noose of deceit, violence, and homicide. The author shows how easily privileged youths who think they can control their lives can slip into depravity, on a jungle trek that leads them into the very heart of darkness. Agent: George Lucas, InkWell Management. (Apr.)