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You Can Run

Updated: Sep 10, 2021

By Karen Cleveland

A Story That Brilliantly Captures the Tension and Terror of a Kidnapping.



“We have your son. Breathe a word of this to anyone, and you’ll never see your son again.” It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. For CIA analyst Jill Bailey it is the call that changed her life. To protect her son, she did exactly what the kidnappers told her to do. She approved the recruitment of a CIA intelligence asset without doing the required due diligence. It’s a decision that will haunt her for the rest of her life, but her son was returned unharmed. Terrorized, the next day she walked into the CIA and quit her job. She didn’t want the kidnappers to be able to compromise her like that again. For four years, she never told anyone, even her husband, what she had done. One day, in a grocery store produce aisle, everything changed.

Alex Charles is an investigative reporter with the Washington Post. She is working on a story about the Syrian biowarfare program and the source of U.S. intelligence information. An anonymous tip has revealed there is only one source of information relating to Syria. Was it the asset that Jill was forced to approve? Alex reaches out to Jill, who must decide if she could trust someone with her secret. To do so means putting her family at risk once again. What would you do to save your child’s life?


YOU CAN RUN is an immediately compelling story you would expect to be written by a CIA analyst. It’s heart-pounding and captivating. The first chapter grabs your attention and never lets you go.

Author Karen Cleveland’s writing brilliantly captures Jill’s tension and the terror., as a mother and a person placed in an impossible position. Her writing is descriptive, right, and perfectly paced. The story is told from both Jill and Alex’s perspectives, making it multidimensional. Both characters are courageous, thoughtful, and determined. Much like real life, this story is unpredictable and highly enjoyable.

Cleveland spent eight years as a CIA counterterrorism analyst. She is now a New York Times best-selling author of Need to Know (2018) and Keep You Close (2019)

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher Ballantine Books/Penguin Random House

Published August 31, 2021

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