Thriller writer Harlan Corben's 31st novel, Run Away, comes packing a supplement that breaks the paper barrier: Ambient music.
Run Away is a family story at heart. A father who's lost his daughter—long vanished into drugs, a bad relationship, and the streets—finds her again, busking in Central Park. What he chooses to do next triggers a labyrinthine chase, with twists both physical and psychological.
Created by Icelandic composer/cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, known for Chernobyl and Joker, the soundtrack features deep cello action and sorrowful violins. It feels bleak, like the gritty streets of a mean city. But it also evokes a more mythic darkness—the kind that feels sentient and watchful, like when you're lost in the woods at dusk.
"With films and TV series, you have so much visual info [that it] takes over," Guðnadóttir reflects. "When you're reading and when you're listening to music, you have much space to create your own world."
Listen to more samples here; full versions are live on Spotify, though they haven't been placed in a single playlist. Each chapter instead is its own playlist, where one song plays again and again. That's inconvenient, but not unfixable; just make your own Runaway playlist and pop the songs in.
"I'm not sure if there has ever been a soundtrack set to a reading experience," Corben says of the collab, brokered by BETC Paris. "When I write, I can't just stir your mind—I have to stir your heart. Hildur picked the perfect music for Runaway to do exactly that."
Below, holding the French version of Run Away, Corben explains how the listening/reading experience works.
(Were you hoping he'd read aloud? Us too.)
A limited-edition vinyl set will be sold at some point. Information about that will presumably appear on the website.