Review: Running Wild by S.E. Jakes, Narrated by Dorian Bane

Review: Running Wild by S.E. Jakes, Narrated by Dorian Bane
Running Wild
Narrated by Dorian Bane

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: #1 Havoc
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Riptide
Released on September 26, 2016
Length: 7 hours 15 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher

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Some people just need to get out of their own way.

This is Sean Rush’s life in a nutshell.  Given a choice of the easy way or even the smart way, he runs headlong in the opposite direction.

Rush’s broken past makes a laughingstock of the usual forms of ‘it’s complicated’ type messes people have.  Son of an armed robberer doing time for life and a woman who lived hard and died young, Sean was left to make his way in a cruel world where a stint in the army was probably the most peaceful his life got except he came home with a severe case of survivor’s guilt and PTSD.

Running Wild is the story of this guy who seems to need to give caution and death the middle finger as he gets an adrenaline rush stealing high-end cars, street racing, smarting off to the powerful criminal elements around town, and letting a bruiser wearing an MC cut invade the dark hours of his night and mysteriously slip away again.  He thinks they are just both scratching an itch until his bestfriend’s troubles with a ring of heavy-hitting car thieves nearly kills him and his big bad biker makes it clear that Rush got things all wrong.  Ryker wasn’t scratching an itch and he considers Sean to be his with a capital ‘MINE’.  While Sean nearly spins out of control and walks the edge of a knife, Ryker is there and has his back.  Ryker’s presence unnerves Sean because the man knows him as well as he knows himself and Sean knows he can’t handle having someone that close.  Only, Ryker’s not going anywhere no matter how hard Sean pushes him away and no matter how long Sean runs from him.  With each brush with another MC, the law, and the car thieves, Sean’s wild side keeps him alive.  The rush from boosting a car and letting it fly is nothing to how freeing the wildness feels in Riker’s arms.  But he can’t, he just can’t, right?

This story is dramatic, dirty, and gritty.  Sean Rush is one of the toughest heroes to like let alone root for between a bratty mouth and his issues that make him run head-long into stupid decisions and actions and run from what brings him the most happiness.

Running Wild is fast moving and quite the adrenaline rush as each scene unfolds with either a dangerous situation on the dark streets of the town or in the tangled sheets of the bedroom.  But though, it is fast moving, it has good strong development and the characters and their backstories are doled out in a steady way that makes it like a revelation so that actions and words make sense when earlier they did not.

The narration is all done from Sean Rush’s perspective.  It is his story.  He has his best friend who is drugged out on the adrenaline rush of stealing cars and can’t seem to keep out of trouble and there are other key figures who move through the scenes as well.  But Ryker is the big curiosity and it was fascinating getting to know him through Sean’s eyes.  Sean is observant even if he is too busy trying to make excuses and push Riker away to see the significance of things Riker says and does like the reader.

This would probably fall into a suspense story with the tone and all that is going on, but it is a suspense with an anti-hero flavor.  The good guys aren’t entirely good and the bad guys sometimes have their reasons.  The hero is neither one nor the other, but both as are his close associates.  I enjoyed the worldbuilding and hope there is more from the series.

The narration was a strong element to the enjoyment of the story.  I liked the quality of texture and emotion that having Dorian Bane narrate added to the story.  These guys and their desperate situations and gritty natures came alive for me.  Oh and side note, I have no idea why, but I thought the portrayal of Rush’s friends and one of the bikers who startled Rush with his unlikely support brought some much needed lightness to the story.

So, all in all, this was fantastic.  I wanted to snag Rush by the hair and shake him until his teeth rattled, but I was rooting for him to get a clue all along.  This one is for those who enjoy grittier anti-hero style m/m romantic suspense.

My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #323 LGBT
Audio #39

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.


  1. Not to be different, but I am mot a fan of a main character that’s bad? Anti-hero. I still remember how mad I was at Sandra Bullock in the movie One if By Sea! (She was a criminal) so not one for me but I am glad you loved it! I am such a needy reader wanting my HEA and no criminal. *HA!*

    1. You know what, Lorna, that is perfectly alright and I appreciate a diversity of taste and preference in books and movies. No need to feel bad or apologize for that. It’s funny that you mention the movie being a disappointment. I watched an older movie this summer with my mom and we were both disappointed b/c in the end the two main characters didn’t end up together after all was said and done- not very romantic even though it was supposed to be a romantic comedy.

    1. I love getting it in audio format. I read it and now I can see how much Dorian Bane’s narration added to the experience for me. Yeah, her men are hot stuff, Lisa! 🙂

    1. Yeah, I don’t like it all the time, but once in a while, a gritty shades of gray hero hits the spot. Yes, you need to go listen to a sample of his books. I’m not sure if he just does m/m books, but probably not.

      1. I do a bit of whatever I can get my hands on. Lol. But off m/m is your cup of te, I have quite a few titles.

  2. This one really does sound gritty and with lots of drama. Sean running headfirst into stupid decisions sounds like it makes him hard to like, but he does sound like a very real character. And those fast paced reads can be great if they manage to have enough character depth and a good story, which seems like this one had. I’ve read a few anti-hero books, they can be good now and then. Great review!

    1. Yes, he was difficult. I wanted to thump him so many times. Whew, this was so fast-paced but still able to fill in the details of the story so it was interesting.

      Thanks, Lola!

      1. We at Dark Night Sound wanted to thump them too. I enjoyed the characters, but they were tough for me to truly like as people entirely.

        1. And, that would make quite the challenge, I would imagine. From my perspective, you did a great job portraying the characters and telling their story, Dorian.

          1. Well thanks as always. I plan to try and stay more up to date on here. ( Since it took me nearly a year to comment on some of these!) And yes, it is tough when you don’t entirely identify with the MCs. It helped that I know soldiers and racers. Between that and the fact that I ride with a club, it was a bit less challenging.

            1. Hey, visit when you can. No pressure or guilt trips, here. 🙂 I know how real life stuff can keep a person busy.

              That is good that your background and associations gave you help even if not with the characters themselves. Oh and now its riding season so I’ll bet your club is out on the road a lot. 🙂

              1. Yeah, real life is a thing. Lol. Most of us are out a lot, I have the misfortune of 2 broken bikes right now, so I’m caring a lot. 🙁