Jamie Freveletti | Book Stall at Chestnut Court | Literary Events | Chicago Reader
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Jamie Freveletti 

When: Tue., May 19, 7 p.m. 2009
Freveletti reads from her novel, Running With the Devil. Jamie Freveletti's debut novel reads like an extended treatment for the kind of international action thrillers George Clooney has been starring in for the past few years. Her set pieces are frequently gripping, and she has a clear grasp of geopolitical minutiae, particularly regarding U.S. drug policies in Latin America. But the polish isn't there. Instead of a Clooney-ready protagonist, Freveletti--herself an ultramarathoner, black-belt aikido master, and trial lawyer--gives us an ass-kicking heroine in Emma Caldridge. The novel opens with Emma's British Airways flight going down in the Colombian jungle after an apparent hijacking. Surviving the crash, Emma uses her martial arts savvy to avoid being taken hostage by a gang of sadistic drug-cartel guerrillas. These scenes are skillfully intercut with the rescue operation unfurling back in Washington, and things get really harrowing as a series of secret agendas are revealed. But Freveletti's prose fails to match the speed of the story she sets out to tell, and the writing often stumbles when it needs to soar. Emma remains frustratingly out of reach—a gleaming action-movie heroine without a compelling interior life. --Leon Hilton



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