It's hard to review one of Zoë Sharp's Charlie Fox thrillers without referring to motorcycles. They're such a part of Charlie's life and the stories, that the phrases spring to mind immediately. David Morrell said "As action packed and streamlined as the Suzuki..." Mark Billingham refers to the "high-octane thrills." Killer Instinct is as sleek and fast as everyone says. And, it's a treat to welcome back Charlie Fox.
If you read First Drop and the other books in the series, published earlier in the U.S., you'll be pleased to finally learn of Charlie's beginnings. And, if you haven't read these books, start with Killer Instinct. It will give you the chance to watch Charlie gain strength and confidence in herself.
Charlie Fox is still in England in the first book in the series. Killer Instinct tells her backstory. She's been expelled from Special Forces, suffered public humiliation, and, even worse, suffered from the disbelief of her staid parents. She always was rebellious, but, now, she feels rejected by her parents, and refuses to talk to her mother. Charlie's no longer willing to be a victim, so she teaches self-defense to women at a shelter, hoping they'll move on from being victims.
Unfortunately, Charlie picks the wrong night to visit the New Adelphi Club with a friend, Clare. There's a fight with a woman, Susie Hollins, who competed at karaoke, and Charlie is forced to defend Clare. Charlie's defense lands her a job as security at the club. Is it the new job, Susie's murder, or a laptop that starts the out-of-control spiral in Charlie's life? Somehow the New Adelphi Club seems linked to everything.
Charlie Fox has already been through the worst experience of her life. Now, it's time for her to show she can deal with violent men and move on with her life. The instincts that would have helped her had she stayed in Special Forces are crucial to her survival as someone threatens and taunts her. One small fight in a club, one woman's murder, will become a threat to too many others if Charlie doesn't learn who is behind the crime wave that seems to engulf her and those around her.
I tend to read more mysteries than thrillers, but I always read Zoë Sharp's books. I appreciate Charlie Fox, a woman who has suffered, but rises above her past, willing to fight for survival. And, as you read these books, you realize Charlie always fights for those who are weaker, as she once was. But, she's no longer a victim. Charlie's an unusual character. If you haven't met Charlie Fox, Killer Instinct will introduce you to a woman just learning her own abilities and strength. Zoë Sharp's Charlie Fox is my favorite woman in the thriller genre.
Zoë Sharp's website is www.zoesharp.com
Killer Instinct by Zoë Sharp. Busted Flush Press, ©2010. ISBN 9781935415138 (paperback), 277p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of Killer Instinct.