Book Review – ANYWHERE YOU RUN by Wanda M. Morris
Synopsis As Seen on The TODAY Show!
Called One of the Best Crime Novels of the Year by New York Times * NPR * New York Post * Washington Post * Buzzfeed * South Florida Sun-Sentinel * Library Journal * CrimeReads
From the award-winning author of All Her Little Secrets comes yet another gripping, suspenseful novel where, after the murder of a white man in Jim Crow Mississippi, two Black sisters run away to different parts of the country . . . but can they escape the secrets they left behind?
It’s the summer of 1964 and three innocent men are brutally murdered for trying to help Black Mississippians secure the right to vote. Against this backdrop, twenty-one year old Violet Richards finds herself in more trouble than she’s ever been in her life. Suffering a brutal attack of her own, she kills the man responsible. But with the color of Violet’s skin, there is no way she can escape Jim Crow justice in Jackson, Mississippi. Before anyone can find the body or finger her as the killer, she decides to run. With the help of her white beau, Violet escapes. But desperation and fear leads her to hide out in the small rural town of Chillicothe, Georgia, unaware that danger may be closer than she thinks.
Back in Jackson, Marigold, Violet’s older sister, has dreams of attending law school. Working for the Mississippi Summer Project, she has been trying to use her smarts to further the cause of the Black vote. But Marigold is in a different kind of trouble: she’s pregnant and unmarried. After news of the murder brings the police to her door, Marigold sees no choice but to flee Jackson too. She heads North seeking the promise of a better life and no more segregation. But has she made a terrible choice that threatens her life and that of her unborn child?
Two sisters on the run—one from the law, the other from social shame. What they don’t realize is that there’s a man hot on their trail. This man has his own brand of dark secrets and a disturbing motive for finding the sisters that is unknown to everyone but him . . .
“Anywhere You Run had me hooked from the first page… It’s a novel both tender and ferocious—an absolute stunner.” —Lou Berney, Edgar Award–winning author of November Road
My Review This is one of those books that will stick with me years, maybe even decades, after I’ve finished it. The story is powerful, the characters breathtaking, the world maddening. As a cis het white woman, the most discrimination I’ve ever experienced is workplace misogyny, which is nothing compared to what Violet and Marigold go through in the deep south of 1964 America. I wanted to scream so many times. The way Violet and Marigold had to demur and act as if they were inferior to their white neighbors was only the tip of the iceberg. Being blamed for crimes against white people for simply being Black in the south was just one of the many injustices they faced. So when Violet takes the law into her own hands, getting the only justice she has available to her to not only protect herself, but her sister, I found myself not hating her for it. In fact, just the opposite. But instead of her being an anti-hero, she was actually a hero. To herself, her sister, and her family’s memories.
The story gripped me from the first paragraph and never let up. I was so invested in these characters and what would happen to them that I didn’t want it to end. I took my time and savored it, even though it’s a page turner. Because I knew when it was over, I’d have the book hangover to beat all book hangovers. And now that I’m finally here, I was right. I’m lost over what to read next, though I have already purchased Morris’s first novel.
Plot The main plot is the fate of the two sisters, but it seems like two separate plots at first. Violet is dealing with the consequences of her actions which are the direct result of the inaction of local law enforcement, while Marigold is dealing with the consequences of her actions — namely getting pregnant by a coworker she’s not sure she loves, but is now permanently tied to. As these consequences take on lives of their own and neither sister is able to control any aspect of their respective situations, they both seek to regain control of their own lives in very different ways. But the diverging plots are really two sides of the same coin as their fates collide when a man pursuing Violet uses Marigold to track her down. Told in multiple points of view, this is part mystery, part thriller, and part women’s fiction, but so expertly woven, I I still struggle to classify it.
Characters The characters are brilliantly crafted. Even the antagonist has a rich backstory and compelling reasons for doing what he feels he has no choice but to do. While I didn’t root for him to succeed, I understood why he was doing what he was doing and hoped for a happy ending for his family. I also was really pulling for him to find a way out of the mess he’d gotten himself into so that there would be a HEA for all involved. But this isn’t one of those kinds of stories. Violet, Marigold, Hank, and even the tertiary characters all came across as living, breathing human beings with reasons for doing everything they did. No one seemed to just be there to serve the story, but rather will like integral pieces of it, even the walk-on characters. The last book I read with this level of rich character development was GONE GIRL.
What I Loved About ANYWHERE YOU RUN 1. Pacing. The story moves at just the right pace from start to finish.
2. Violet. She doesn’t think she has anything to offer other than her looks, but she’s smarter than anyone gives her credit for.
3. Marigold. The typically grounded older sister finds herself in a place she’s not experienced with and without the tools to cope, but she’s as resourceful as Violet.
4. Twists. So many unexpected twists kept me guessing, kept me invested, and made me not to want the story to end.
5. Unexpected Endings. The author let us know early on that anything could happen and that no one was safe. I had no idea where the story would end up, but the ending was unexpected and satisfying.
Bottom Line One of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. This one will end up on my list of all-time favorites and I will read anything this author writes.
About the Book
Title: ANYWHERE YOU RUN
Author: Wanda M. Morris
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: October 25, 2022
Genre: Adult Historical Mystery / Thriller
Rating: 5+ out of 5 Stars