One Kick by Chelsea Cain

Title: One Kick (Kick Lannigan Series #1), Author: Chelsea CainOne Kick. Finished 8-29-16, 4/5 stars, thriller series, pub. 2014

Unabridged audio read by Heather Lind.

Kick Lannigan series #1

Kick Lannigan, 21, is a survivor. Abducted at age six in broad daylight, the police, the public, perhaps even her family assumed the worst had occurred. And then Kathleen Lannigan was found, alive, six years later. In the early months following her freedom, as Kick struggled with PTSD, her parents put her through a litany of therapies, but nothing helped until the detective who rescued her suggested Kick learn to fight. Before she was thirteen, Kick learned marksmanship, martial arts, boxing, archery, and knife throwing. She excelled at every one, vowing she would never be victimized again. But when two children in the Portland area go missing in the same month, Kick goes into a tailspin. Then an enigmatic man Bishop approaches her with a proposition: he is convinced Kick’s experiences and expertise can be used to help rescue the abductees. Little does Kick know the case will lead directly into her terrifying past…          from Goodreads

I loved Cain’s first book, Heartsick, but didn’t care for the next in the popular series so I didn’t continue. With One Kick she has won me back.  This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s set in the world of child abduction and pornography, of safehouses and pedophiles, of locked boxes and bombs.  Kick Lanagan is a survivor but an eternal victim and she is damaged in a way that, thankfully, most of us don’t understand firsthand.  She is a compelling character that I’m curious to know more about as the series continues.

Kick is known as Beth to the thousands of men who have downloaded her child pornography. Between the ages of six and twelve, Beth lives with Mel and his wife and they are part of a pedophile ring and Kick, even seeing freedom in sight, shields them and countless others in a moment she will regret.  Enter Bishop ten years later who offers her a chance to redeem herself by helping him locate a missing boy.

This is a solid start to a new series. Kick is profoundly damaged, as is everyone around her, nary a decent person in sight, but she is also looking to make things right when she can.  Given that she is a victim of sexual abuse I know that it will always be part of the story, but I hope that the next book offers some light and hope and joy. Kick deserves it.

 

Bad Luck and Trouble by Lee Child

Title: Bad Luck and Trouble (Jack Reacher Series #11), Author: Lee ChildBad Luck and Trouble. Finished 4-12-16, rating 4.5/5. thriller, 477 pages, pub. 2007

#11 Jack Reacher series (1-Killing Floor, 2- Die Trying, 3 – Tripwire, 4 – Running Blind, 5 – Echo Burning, 6 – Without Fail, 7 – Persuador, 8 – The Enemy, 9 – One Shot, 10 – Hard Way)

I went back and read my reviews of the first 10 books of the series because I’m running out of ways to describe the mysterious Jack Reacher.  I’m going to give you a taste of what I’ve sad in the past.

“Jack Reacher is a man’s man, but one that women are drawn to because of his sheer masculinity and unavailability.  He is who he is, take him or leave him and that confidence and physical presence makes him a force to be reckoned with.” (Die Trying)

“Many series have a main character or two and many recurring characters.  This series only needs one, loner extraordinaire, Reacher.  He’s a badass.  He makes his way around the country righting wrongs and fighting injustices.  He doesn’t have a home, an ATM card, close friends, but he does have a heart and lots of confidence.  He’s retired military police so he knows his stuff and his talents and he is not afraid to give into his baser instincts for vengeance.  Oh, and he absurdly attractive to women.  Me included.” (Without Fail)

“Jack Reacher, loner extraordinaire, wasn’t always such a hard man.  There was a time when he had a job, a family and friends.  He was a star in the military police force and he was content with life.” (The Enemy)

With that out of the way, I can say that this has been one of the better ones of the series.  Since 9/11 he’s been forced to get an ATM card, but other than that he’s the same Reacher.  It’s the ATM card that enabled one of the members from his old elite military group to find him and get him to Los Angeles.  One of their old team met a grisly death and they need to find the rest of the team to assess the damage.  What Reacher finds in the those old friends shatters some of Reacher’s confidence. It was enlightening to see Reacher with his old squad, those who knew him well and respected his talents, and it was also great to see Reacher questioning his life, something we haven’t seen until this point.

Great series. It makes me want to start the next one right away. Oh, and I really should have been keeping count of Reacher’s conquests since the beginning of the series.  In the span of a couple of weeks he made two this go round.

I read my very own paperback. I think I prefer reading them, the narrator of the series, Dick Hill, is good but the books read so much faster than the audio allows.

 

 

 

C is for Corpse by Sue Grafton

Title: C Is for Corpse (Kinsey Millhone Series #3), Author: Sue GraftonC is for Corpse. Finished 4-6-16, rating 3.5/5, mystery, 212 pages, pub. 1986

Kinsey Millhone series (A) (B)

When I linked my reviews of the first two books of the series I realize that I’m reading these books 2 years apart.  If I continue at this speed I’ll finish up with Z when I’m 90.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂

How do you go about solving an attempted murder when the victim has lost a good part of his memory? It’s one of Kinsey’s toughest cases yet, but she never backs down from a challenge. Twenty-three-year-old Bobby Callahan is lucky to be alive after a car forced his Porsche over a bridge and into a canyon. The crash left Bobby with a clouded memory. But he can’t shake the feeling it was no random accident and that he’s still in danger…

The only clues Kinsey has to go on are a little red address book and the name “Blackman.” Bobby can’t remember who he gave the address book to for safekeeping. And any chances of Bobby regaining his memory are dashed when he’s killed in another automobile accident just three days after he hires Kinsey.

As Kinsey digs deeper into her investigation, she discovers Bobby had a secret worth killing for–and unearthing that secret could send Kinsey to her own early death…

I like Kinsey. She’s tough and independent, but also caring and protective.  She developed a soft spot for Bobby in the few days they knew each other and she was going to finish the job even if it killed her (not a big spoiler to note that this series is currently on X so don’t worry about Kinsey too much).  Not only was she welcomed into Bobby’s very wealthy family, but she became a should to lean on for his mother.

Kinsey also showed how much she liked her landlord and friend, Henry, by smelling a sweet-talking, cunning, money-grubbing charmer in Lila.  Lila was up to know good and Henry was falling for it hook, line and sinker.  And this gave her a reason to contact an old crush, Jonah, to get some information.  Jonah was back with his wife, but the embers still burned between he and Kinsey.

This is a fun series.  I like Kinsey, the short length of the books, and the well-woven mysteries.  Maybe I’ll even pick up the pace and read D before 2018 🙂

 

 

 

Murder on Nob Hill, by Shirley Tallman

Cover ImageFinished 1024-09, rating 4/5, mystery, pub. 2004

Book 1 in the Sarah Woolson series

Despite claims to the contrary – some, I fear, voiced by members of my own family – I pride myself on being an honest woman.  As a matter of principle, I hold dissimulation of any kind in contempt.  That said, I probably should add that I also subscribe to the old adage “God helps those who help themselves,” even if this sometimes entails being economical with the truth.

First paragraph of the book

Sarah Woolson is a strong young woman living in a time when strong women were frowned upon.  It’s 1880 and she has managed to get an interview with a leading law firm, but she is promptly shown the door because of her sex.  Not willing to step aside she steals a client and the firm takes her in to save face.  Now she must travel around San Francisco trying to prove her client innocent of murdering her rich husband and one of his powerful friends. 

Sarah is take no prisoners kind of gal and this really irks the lawyer who is assigned to following/helping her with the case.  And her brothers prove helpful as does her judge father.  She is not afraid of getting her hands dirty, but her mind is her best asset.  There is a lot to like about Sarah. 

The mystery was good.  I didn’t figure it out until right before Sarah did and it was a satisfying ending.  The family was a warm and fun and accepting of Sarah, well except for one brother running for California Senator, and I look forward to learning more about them as Sarah continues her adventures in the next book.

This did remind me of the Deadly series by Brenda Joyce if you are a fan.  Not any romance in this one, but I do see potential.

This was a library copy.