Race Across the Sky – Book Review and 3 Book Giveaway

RaceAcross the SkyOver the past decade he had successfully extracted any emotional confusion from his life. Jobs, career, family, the expectations of the world, were all like forgotten high school friends. But now, like a patient in remission who with horror senses his symptoms returning, Caleb felt a range of sharp emotions rising up; emotions he thought he had put aside forever. – from Race Across the Sky

Caleb Oberest works in a highly paid corporate position in New York City until the events of 9-11 shatter his world. On an impulse, he quits his job and moves to Colorado to join an elite group of ultra marathoners. These runners slave beneath the tutelage of a man named Mack who believes in pushing one’s body to such an extreme as to produce kinetic energy capable of sustaining the body with as little as 4 hours of sleep and very little fuel. To belong, members of the group sever ties to family and friends and vow to turn from any romantic relationships. Caleb immerses himself in this running cult, cutting all connection to his family to become a premier ultra marathoner. But then a young woman named June arrives in the mountains of Colorado with her very ill infant daughter, Lily, looking for the healing powers which Mack promises…and everything changes.

Shane, Caleb’s brother, works at a biotech firm which finds cures for fatal diseases. He and his wife, Janelle, are expecting their first baby and life has never seemed better. Then Shane gets a letter from Caleb after eleven years of silence. Caleb is desperate for a cure for Lily. Reeling from his own feelings toward becoming a father, Shane makes a decision to help in any way he can even if it means putting his career and everything he loves at risk.

Derek Sherman’s debut novel, Race Across the Sky, explores the limits of human endurance both physically and emotionally. Narrated in alternating points of view between Shane and Caleb, the story reels the reader into the obsessive world of competitive distance running and the lure of cults, as well as giving a disturbing glimpse into the powerful, financially driven realm of biotechnology firms and the development of medicines.

Sherman’s prose is character driven and compelling. From page one, I found myself intrigued and embroiled in the lives of the characters. Sensitive without being maudlin, the story is ultimately about love – that between brothers, and between parents and children, and also romantic love and how it can save us from despair. As I was reading, I found myself asking “What would you do to save someone else? What would you do for the person you love? Would you risk everything?

Race Across the Sky is dazzling in its descriptions of the Colorado and California mountains. As a runner once myself, I thought Sherman truly captured the compulsion of athletic competition and the battle that runners have within themselves to simply finish a distance race. I also loved the insight into the medical world of drug companies and the cutting edge technology of the biotech field.

I fully enjoyed this novel from beginning to end. It is compulsively readable with a strong plot, well-constructed characters, and terrific writing. Original and thought provoking, I can recommend Race Across the Sky for readers who like their novels to be provocative.


tlclogoFTC Disclosure: This novel was sent to me by the publisher for review as part of TLC Book Tours. Book giveaways are NOT paid promos. Although books for giveaway will be supplied by the publisher (in most cases), I do not accept payment to host these special events.

For more reviews, please visit the TLC Book Tour page.


Derek Sherman works in advertising as a writer and Creative Director. His work has received every major industry award, and been named among the best of the last 25 years by Archive Magazine. He is a co-founder of the Chicago Awesome Foundation, a charity dedicated to awarding micro-grants. He lives in Chicago with his wife and children. This is his first novel.

For more information about Race Across the Sky, visit the website.


  • Contest open from August 5, 2013 through August 13, 2013 at 5:00 pm PST.
  • Contest open to US and Canada mailing addresses.
  • To enter, please leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to read the book (other comments are welcome – but if you want a chance to win, please say so and tell me why you want to win the book).
  • I will choose THREE winners randomly and announce their name here on my blog on August 14th.

Good Luck!

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    • Linda B on August 6, 2013 at 03:16

    I would love to win this book, and would ultimately share it with my grandson. He lives in Colorado and competes in mountain bike marathons in the Rockies. thanks for the giveaway.

  1. I’m not a runner but I can see where it could become compulsive. This sounds like an engrossing novel.

    • Anne Simonot on August 6, 2013 at 04:57

    Both the biomedical & extreme sport aspects of this novel sound fascinating. as well as the idea of an extreme running cult! I would love to win a copy!

    • pearl on August 6, 2013 at 06:50

    This novel sounds compelling and intriguing. Thanks for this chance. I would enjoy this unique book.

    • tim on August 6, 2013 at 12:26

    I have run a number of ultras including one 100 miler. This sounds like a great read. I would love to win a copy! I want to compare my experience running Western States to the stories in the book.

  2. See, I wasn’t interested in the premise of the book at all. But your review made me VERY interested!! So now I want to read it. 🙂

    • Rachel V. on August 6, 2013 at 18:32

    I want to win this book because I have just started running…training for a 5k…and I think this would be an inspiring read!

    • Rachel V. on August 6, 2013 at 18:34

    I want to win this book because I have just started running (training for a 5k) and I think this would be an inspiring read! Thanks!

    • Elisabeth on August 6, 2013 at 19:05

    This sounds like a book I would want to race through it is so good!!!

    • Laura on August 7, 2013 at 06:18

    What a great review…I am a longtime reader and lurker, but this giveaway brought me out! I am a long-distance runner and this book sounds fascinating! I also have a special interest in medicine and drug development (work as a medical editor and just finished Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre). Anyway, thanks for the giveaway!

    • MJ on August 8, 2013 at 06:08

    I would love to read this book because I am a long-distance runner who is a wannabe ultrarunner – I’ve spent the last 8 months or so devouring every magazine and non-fic book I can find on the topic (suggestions welcome!). I haven’t run into much fiction on ultrarunning yet, would be interested to see where the author takes it. I’m also a freelance writer with special interests in health/medicine and am always looking to learn more.


    Found you through spritewrites

    • Amy F on August 8, 2013 at 07:44

    I am not a runner, but find the premis of someone pushing themselves to an extreme interesting to read about. I am also interested in the second part of the story about the little girl as well. I would love to win this book. Thank you.

  3. The story is definitely unusual, and it sounds like a real page-turner. I’m glad to see how much you enjoyed it!

    Thanks for being on the tour Wendy. I’m featuring your review on TLC’s Facebook page today.

    • Kerry on August 10, 2013 at 10:07

    I would love to read this book because I’ve learned to love running over the past 3 years (though I doubt I’ll ever attempt an ultra; I just ran my first half-marathon this spring).

    • susan on August 12, 2013 at 20:30

    I lived in Colorado and California and once was a trail runner so this book sounds appealing. thanks

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