Running on Emptiness


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The Book:

Running on Emptiness is Book 4 of John Dolan’s ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ series, and, for me, it is the quintessential example of this Englishman’s wordsmith mastery.

Running on Emptiness has government coups, an exciting ‘Capulets and Montagues’ – Romeo and Juliet element – with two Thai drug gangs fighting for supremacy, and David Braddock fighting a dichotomy of emotions… There is something else that makes this novel so exquisite…

That something else is the absolute mastery of the English language. John Dolan is ‘word wizardry’ personified. He is a metaphorical genius, and he will keep the reader glued to the pages with his pen strokes – between some smiles and tears. Perhaps my favorite sections of the book are the ‘David Braddock Journal’ chapters.

David is still the consummate detective, part Sherlock Holmes and part Sam Spade, solving cases, and people he cares about are being killed…he is on someone’s hit list, and that part of the story is most engrossing and tense.

The Author:

John Dolan is truly a Polymath – let us all hope his brain doesn’t burst! John is also down to earth and a jolly fellow. It’s been my pleasure to know JD for a few years. We’ve only met on Skype and chatted a few times, and it is very easy to fall under his charm…even though he talks ‘funny’ – you know, the stuffy, pedantic, talk of an Englishman! (Okay, I’m through with the jesting.) It’s interesting that I feel a strong bond with John and say rather clumsily I consider him my friend.

John, wife Fiona, and family live in Koh Samui, Thailand, visiting often his native England. He travels, is still in the business world, and it beats me how he can have the time to turn out these novel masterpieces. Everything I wrote above about the book is no exaggeration – you will find the same ‘Review’ on Amazon US, UK, and Goodreads. Be assured that my praise of this novel and his other books is not a trivial quid pro quo. My words are genuine and sincere. Running on Emptiness is destined to be a best seller… You heard it here! Get your copy, Kindle or Print, and I’m betting you agree.

I hope Mr. Dolan doesn’t mind but I’m including a few of my favorite excerpts from Running on Emptiness:


(There are with this noble work of literature so many delightful metaphors and a display of a giant English talent…)

All around her, people went about their daily business, indifferent to the lonely women consumed by mortal thoughts. A pang of envy shot through Kat; she coveted their superficial contentment, their apparent ability to settle for what they had. She no longer belonged to their society. She was now one of a smaller class of humans who had glimpsed the reality behind life’s mask. The veil had been drawn aside, and daylight allowed to shine in on the magic. She could never again see the world with the same eyes.


(From David Braddock’s Journal)

 I know what you’re thinking.

 You’re thinking that I accepted Kat’s lascivious offer; that I am a man whose moral boundaries have been long washed away by the incoming tide of selfish indulgence. And, in fairness, I am not far off being that person. However, for now, a faint residue, an unfaded fingerprint of ethical volition remains, and occasionally pokes its way through the clutter of wisecracking indifference that constitutes my habitual behaviour.


 I opened the grubby window and lit a cigarette. My watch informed me it was just after two-thirty.

 Below me, Bangkok continued to breathe. Cars puffed out exhaust fumes and multi-coloured sleepwalkers wandered the psychedelic pavements. The garish signs of unloved buildings telegraphed their messages in reds and blues; and the hum of life’s aspirations and disappointments rose up from the streets and lost itself in the night sky.


 Chapter 23 is quite a chapter!


 For reasons that are obscure – unless you subscribe to the theory that I can no longer cope with the endless succession of Bad Things Happening, and have lost contact with all human sensibilities (which I admit is a possibility) – I am calm. My brain is as settled as it ever gets. The Samui morning sun shines on a composed, confident private detective; even if later it may shine on a decomposed, panicked, wreck of a man, once the flywheel of my neurosesis again set in motion.


 While sprawled across my bed, I fantasise about my fingertips tracing their way down Kat’s naked spine, a rumpled sheet positioned modestly across her smooth bottom, as in some classical art painting. That vermiculate flesh now dust, we go no more a-rovin’. The sweat of lust has dried up, and risen into the air as foetid, organic motes. Our animal movements, and the senses they awakened, now inhabit a fleshy pigeonhole in some semi-truthful compartment of my memory. The remembrances of Kat have already begun to re-write themselves, to open up, to metastasize like her disease, only into something more wholesome. 

 It was an affair, not some shrieking, humiliating ripping at each other in the darkness. Of course, it was . . . meaningful. Kat Charoenkul: moneyed Thai chatelaine of the Kohl-edged eyes. She with the garish, red gash of a mouth; with the vampiric, white canines; with the wet, pink tongue given to verbal mischief and sensual pleasure. Now dead. Dead: the word exudes inertia, like lead, disclaiming all potentials and possibilities. Of course, it was . . . meaningful. I venture another drink and wonder whether Papa Doc Charoenkul is drinking too.

 (End of Excerpts)

 Here are some links and book covers for John Dolan’s other books, and you can follow him on – @JohnDolanAuthor

DSC_1252A-dolan – About Me (John Dolan) Facebook







Blog by Billy Ray Chitwood – January 30, 2016


My Website – profile and books –



8 thoughts on “Running on Emptiness

  1. I’ve loved all of John’s previous books and I have this waiting in my Kindle. I agree with everything you say although I’ve only exchanged messages with him (and as I live in the UK I don’t find his speaking so weird). 🙂


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