run into trouble
Read An Excerpt

Winner Silver Quill award by the American Authors Association
Winner Best Pacific West book by Reader Views
Drake and Melody are teamed up to run a race along the California Coast for a prize of a million dollars—in 1969 when a million is worth something. Neither knows the other is in the race before it starts. They once did undercover work together in England, but this information is supposed to be top secret.
The race sponsor, Giganticorp, is a large and very profitable government military contractor, whose ambitious CEO, Casey Messinger, is connected to the powerful in Washington, which must give him access to classified information.
The nine other pairs of runners entered in the race are world-class marathoners, including a winner of the Boston Marathon. If this competition isn’t enough, somebody tries to knock Drake out of the race before it begins. But Drake and Melody also receive threats calculated to keep them from dropping out. What’s going on?
The stakes increase when startling events produce fatalities and impact the race, leading them to ask whether the Cold War with the USSR is about to heat up. If so, is it safer to line up with the hawks or the doves—because a wrong choice may mean giving up valuable freedom for questionable security.
With their previous training and their own contacts in Washington, Drake and Melody are in the best position to figure out whether various events are connected and who is behind them.
Their other challenge is to keep themselves in good physical condition to be able to compete for the prize money while running through the spectacular scenery of the California coast from the Mexican border to San Francisco.
Read a Review:

Oliver Drake and Melody Jefferson are paired up as a team in the race Running California. It begins near the Mexican border and continues up the California coast. Strange they would be paired together since they were spies together in Europe. No one should know. Do they?

Giganticorp, a California company providing weapons to the military, is sponsoring the run. Casey Messinger, CEO, has high aspirations for himself as well as Giganticorp. Is there anything that can stop this race?

I really like books by this author. This is another great one. The characters are interesting, and the plot is well laid out. There are plenty of red herrings and twists to keep the reader guessing. The scenery of this book is great as well. I often felt like I was out there running with them.

I highly recommend this book.

Dawn Dowdle

A mystery set during the White House years of Richard Nixon’s presidency, Run Into Trouble is the tale of a great race along the coast of California.  As each day of the race unfolds, so does the puzzle of Drake and Melody’s involvement in the race. 


Casey Messinger, creator of the race and CEO of Giganticorp, manufacturer of arms and military equipment, has invited Drake and Melody to participate in the race and compete for the grand first place prize of one million dollars.  As puzzling as the ultimate mystery is why Casey selected this team of former spies to participate in his race. 


As the days of the race unfold, so also unfolds the amazing coup that Casey has planned..  Runners follow the coastline of California north, from the California/Mexico border toward its end near the Golden Gate Bridge.


The novel is a flashback to a time when women were still considered a little sub-par, and Melody is the single woman runner in a field of twenty racers recruited to be Giganticorp’s moving advertisement.


Cook’s voice is casual, almost folksy at spots; he seems to be relating the story to a buddy.  The main characters are likable, and the story is compelling.  As the runners close in on the end of the race, pages turned faster in order to discover Casey’s ultimate betrayal.

Sherry Benec