Running Out of Lies: A Mystery by Brian Beneventi brings us a coming-of-age story wrapped up in a five-year-old mystery. Shane’s father disappeared some five years ago, just not returning home one evening. Everyone, the police included, believed his father probably was having an affair and left the family of his own accord, never wanting to be found again. For twelve-year-old Shane, who had idolised his father the “truth” was something he couldn’t accept and he’d always believed his father was still out there, possibly kidnapped, but definitely looking for a way to make contact with his son. Shane’s academics were nothing to be overly proud of, although he scraped by High School along with his best friend Pher. When a new, mysterious, teacher Mr Thile begins at the school, he challenges Shane to be better than he was and to challenge himself by going out for the Cross-Country team. Remembering his father’s love of cross-country as a teenager, Shane hatches a plan to get into the top-ten at the State Championship and be highlighted on television. Surely his father would be watching this event and he is confident he would make every effort to contact Shane, once he saw him on TV. Battling the need to let go of his dream of reuniting with his father and moving on into adulthood, he struggles to deal with the reality of life.
This book struck a chord with me instantly. Shane the main character was a mixture of so many teenage males out there, full of angst, self-doubt and desperately seeking a male role-model to guide them on that incredibly difficult journey through their teenage years. Running Out of Lies: A Mystery is an incredibly relaxing and easy book to read. Author Brian Beneventi has really tapped into the teenage, male psyche and this is especially reflected in the relationships between Shane and Pher, plus between Shane and Lyla. What we often perceive as superficial, sarcastic, and smarmy frequently hides real pain and deep stress. The author brings this to the surface perfectly and the strained relationship between Shane and his mother is handled with real aplomb by the author. How often have we, as young adults (if we can remember back that far), felt our parents had blamed us for events that were totally outside of our control? This book is about growing up and becoming a man but it is much more than that; it is about the many and varied relationships that we as human beings form and the people that touch our lives, sometime just briefly but change us forever. With an easy, conversational writing style the author has brought us a book that was a joy to read and one I can highly recommend.