Running from the Devil
Jamie Freveletti’s authorial debut, Running from the Devil, begins with the story of Emma Caldridge, a chemist and ultra-marathon runner who boards a plane for Bogota and ends up in a plane crash in the Colombian jungle. She is thrown from the wreckage during the crash, and thus spared from being taken hostage by a group of Colombian guerillas. What initially appears to be a fairly standard kidnapping-ransom situation soon reveals itself to be much more as the stories of the other passengers, the hostage takers, and the rescue teams come to light. Emma Caldridge finds herself in the middle of this terrifying and dangerous situation and, due to a recent research discovery that she has carried to Colombia with her, hidden in the form of a lipstick, she soon realizes she is the catalyst of the situation as well.
_Running from the Devil _is a very entertaining novel, and an impressive debut from this new author. She intertwines the storylines in a way that is easy to follow without losing any of the suspense that builds throughout the chapters during the transitions. The characters are fairly stereotypical and easily categorized as hero, heroine, or villain, but Freveletti does give the story’s primary heroine, Emma Caldridge, some unconventional qualities, such as her athletic prowess and her scientific knowledge. I found the attribution of good looks to the characters with the most cunning to be cliché, and the mentioning of Emma Caldridge’s “cat-shaped and vibrant green” eyes to be a bit excessive, but at the same time, the weapon hidden in the lipstick seems to suggest that strength and power can be found under the most seemingly superficial of appearances.
I would like to infer that the jungle in _Running from the Devil _is actually a metaphor for the working world, in today’s developed countries. In this setting, traditionally masculine traits, such as athleticism and a scientific mind can prove advantageous to women who excel in these areas, but at other times these are traits that make some men feel threatened. By the same token, some women embrace traits such as their sexuality and appearance in a way that helps them to be more successful and feel more empowered in the workplace. This allows women to use what is uniquely feminine about them—those qualities that set them apart from their male competition—to their advantage. But, as the lethal weapon hidden in a lipstick container in Freveletti’s novel shows us, sometimes a woman’s excessive focus on the superficial aspects of her person can pose the greatest threat.