Reader Reviewed Night Runner by Tim Bowler

Night Runner

Written by Tim Bowler

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The Lovereading4Kids comment

August 2014 Book of the Month Award-winning Tim Bowler will set heartbeats racing in this gripping story set in a dark underworld filled with violent men who will stop at nothing to achieve their ends. Zinny’s life is bleak enough already but from the day he skives off school and finds a sinister stranger watching the house and a creep coming home to it with his mum, things go rapidly from bad to worse. Where once misery was just on a domestic scale, Zinny is caught up in doing delivery jobs for a bunch of crooks. With seemingly no one to turn to, Zinny is soon in fear of his life!

Reader Reviews

Kids love to read and so in addition to our Lovereading expert review, some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

  • Georgina Bellingham, age 11 - 'This was a fantastic and exciting journey through tough times. Enjoy.' Read full review >
  • Amie Coffman, age 9 - 'It was exciting and scary.  I couldn’t put it down but was almost too frightened to read it at times – especially at night!' Read full review >
  • Rose Heathcote, age 15 - 'A must read for teenage boys, however, girls don’t be put off as I really enjoyed reading it.  The plot is easy to follow, it is a quick read thriller.' Read full review >
  • Jack Wilson, age 12 - 'A scary story that makes you paranoid... Night Runner is an engaging,amazing and well written book.' Read full review >
  • Amber Morgan, age 13 - 'A mind-boggling book that makes your heart beat at double speed and your adrenalin rush...Because of its unbelievably captivating story lines this book is one of the best, imaginative and chilling books I have ever read.' Read full review >
  • Conor Kelly age 16 - 'This one fits everything I like in a book and I read it in two evenings...The novel was very fast moving and exciting with an unexpected ending.' Read full review >
  • Josh Hall, age 14 - 'A good book, overall.' Read full review >
  • Oliver May, age 12 - 'I thoroughly loved the book, it was a great page-turner that I could not put down!' Read full review >
  • Jacob Lawrence, age 11 - 'This book will give you an edge of your seat thriller. With a great storyline and twists I would recommend this to fans of the Hunger Games.' Read full review >
  • Charlotte Rosevear, age 10 - 'I really enjoyed this book, I was bored at the beginning but soon got into it and loved it.' Read full review >
  • Sam Saddler, age 12 - 'I found the story took a while to kick off...I would rate it 3 out of 5.' Read full review >


Night Runner by Tim Bowler

This edge of your seat and nail-biting adventure which follows 15 year old Zinny as he tries to escape the danger that suddenly engulfs him at his home one day. He's not just running for his life but for the lives of his family too.

Zinny's life is falling apart. Shadowy figures are following him. His parents are keeping secrets but he can't figure out why. Then his mum ends up in hospital, his dad disappears, and Zinny has to do whatever he can to save his family. Even if it means helping the very men he's been running from ...As the clock ticks, Zinny knows it's only a matter of time before someone ends up dead - and it could be him.


‘a sharp, suspenseful thriller in a setting of urban deprivation. ….. Filmic, succinct and well-crafted, with a hero who commands our sympathy, this high-octane adventure in a low-life world has heart’ Nicolette Jones, Children’s Book of the Week in The Sunday Times

About the Author

Tim Bowler

Tim was our Guest Editor in February 2011. Click here to see his selections.

Tim Bowler is one of the UK’s most compelling and original writers for teenagers. He was born in Leigh-on-Sea and after studying Swedish at University he worked in forestry, the timber trade, teaching and translating before becoming a full-time writer. He lives with his wife in a small village in Devon and his workroom is an old stone outhouse known to friends as ‘Tim’s Bolthole’.

Tim has written eighteen books and won fifteen awards, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for River Boy. His most recent novel is the gripping Buried Thunder, and his provocative Blade series is being hailed as a groundbreaking work of fiction. He has been described by the Sunday Telegraph as ‘the master of the psychological thriller’ and by the Independent as ‘one of the truly individual voices in British teenage fiction’.

Q & A with Tim Bowler

Buried Thunder started from an image in my head. I had no idea what that image meant or where it was going to lead, but I followed it because it was so intriguing. I saw a girl rushing through a forest at dusk and stumbling – literally – upon a body, and then a second, and a third; and a figure standing near. By this time I was hooked, so I carried on.

It took about a year. I wrote one big, sprawling draft, realised it was much too loose, went over it with my editor, then pruned it right back.
4. What do you think people will say about Buried Thunder?
I hope they will be gripped by the story and will feel deeply for Maya as she goes through her terrifying ordeals. I also hope it will scare them witless!

5. Are you working on something else at the moment?
I'm busy with a new novel, which will hopefully be published in Spring 2012, together with the new bind-up version of the Blade series, which I'm dying to see.

6. What is your favourite food? Vegetarian shepherd's pie the way my wife cooks it, followed by coffee ice cream.

7. What makes you laugh out loud? I can never predict what will set me off. I laugh at all kinds of things. The only humour I dislike is humour that is cruel.

8. What is your one luxury item you would take with you on to a Desert Island? A basketball.

9. What is your most treasured memory? The day I got married.

10. What is your weakness? A tendency to be over-driven when it comes to writing, an inability to let it go when I ought to have a rest.

11. Who is the person you most admire? I admire many, many people and wouldn't want to single out just one.

12. What is your most embarrassing moment? The time I opened a bottle of fizzy water before starting a talk and found myself spraying the front row because someone had shaken the bottle earlier.

13. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? A saying attributed to Goethe: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, do it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Start now."

14. Define beauty. Something that can't be defined, only recognised (like love).

15. What are you reading at the moment? A book called Stepping Stones about the poet Seamus Heaney. I'm also re-reading the Diary of Samuel Pepys and a two-volume collection of the letters of the composer Delius.

16. What are you reading at the moment. I'm re-reading Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace (gets better every time) and the collected short stories of Guy de Maupassant (an old favourite). Have just finished Trash by Andy Mulligan, which blew me away.

17. Favourite holiday destination? Nowhere in particular but I prefer quiet, remote places as untouched as possible by tourism.

18. Which authors have most inspired you? Shakespeare most of all, and various poets, especially Keats and Blake, and certain more recent poets like Heaney and (from the last century) the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelöf, whose work I've loved since I first met it at university.

19. What is your favourite children’s book? Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome.

20. Most treasured possession? My life.

21. Where are you happiest? There's no single place or experience. Sometimes I'm happiest when I'm with the people I love most; sometimes I'm happiest when I'm alone thinking and working. Happiness doesn't follow rules. It just falls when it falls.

22. Favourite biscuit? They don't make them any more but you used to be able to buy biscuits called "Dad's Cookies" and they were absolutely scrummy.

23. Pet hates? People who are pompous.

24. If you could change one thing about the world we live in today what would it be? I'd make human beings incapable of violence.

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Book Info


208 pages


Tim Bowler
More books by Tim Bowler

Author's Website


Oxford University Press

Publication date

7th August 2014




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