Had never heard of Simon Lewis before stumbling upon this short novel, I really didn't have high expectations for this one, I just started reading it because there wasn't anything else much around to read at the time and it looked like a quick easy read. Being a travel tale set in the Chinese jungle (a location you don't come across to often in fiction) also piqued my interest so I thought why not give it a go. Glad I did, it was a great little tale, full of plot twists and turns, surprises, and certainly the what would you do if in this situation factor can be thrown in as well. Once you start and the first hurdle for one of the backpackers appears, you just want to keep turning the pages to see what happens next. I guess that can't put down factor also adds a fair bit of why I would say the ending wasn't quite up there with the rest of the novel, simply because the novel had been building towards it and I guess I just had such high expectations for it.
Admittedly it's a little hard to separate and form an individual picture in your mind of the two main characters since initially Jake and Will seem pretty similar. At times I didn't know which was which, not that this really mattered. It is only when morals come into play that as the story progresses where you start to be able to differentiate between the two. Even though the novel is set in China, I liked how the novel didn't waste a lot of time constantly pointing out little bits of trivia on the local culture or China in general as a lot of authors like to do to prove they've been there. There is just enough to push the story along, and really the story if ever turned into a movie or something could be set in a number of jungle filled countries, from a number of continents, with local populations who don't mix much with Western tourists.
If you're wondering what the basic plot of Border Run is about, basically one backpacker is persuaded to change their plans for the day by another, where instead of catching the bus across the border into Laos, they will instead join a local old hippie Western expat he met while buying noodles for breakfast, who has promised them a fun day, meeting local Chinese tribal people isolated from tourists along the Burmese border and visiting a unique isolated waterfall swimming spot that tourists never go to. Howard the hippie has also promised Jake the likelihood of something else which is why he's so keen on going, and Howard also obviously has an ulterior motive of his own that he's keeping hidden from both of the boys.
Border Run really is a great can't put down read, I'll definitely check out Lewis' previous two novels after enjoying this one so much.