SHORT & SWEET REVIEW: ONE KICK BY CHELSEA CAIN

Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet). Sometimes I have too many books to do a full-length review. At other times, like now, tennis elbow and other family issues mean I have to adjust my priorities, and as such, I’m writing longer reviews for Australian authors.

After reading a few historical fiction novels, I decided it was time to up the ante with a thriller … and this one, marketed as a “heart-stopping, entertaining thrill ride” was practically crying “Pick me!” I’m glad I did … it was a heart-pounder! Here’s the blurb:

One Kick

Meet Kick Lannigan. She’s twenty-one. She can pick any lock. She knows five ways to kill you with a jacket. Get ready to fall in love. From the author of the critically acclaimed NewYorkTimes bestselling Archie Sheridan/Gretchen Lowell thrillers: The first in a nail-biting new series featuring Kick Lannigan, a young woman whose complicated past has given her a very special skill set. Famously kidnapped at age six, Kick captured America’s hearts when she was rescued five years later. Now, twenty-one, she finds herself unexpectedly entangled in a missing child case that will put her talents to the test. Trained as a marksman, lock picker, escape artist and bomb maker by her abductor, Kick could not return to the life of the average young girl after her release. So, in lieu of therapy, she mastered martial arts, boxing, and knife throwing; learned how to escape from the trunk of a car, jimmy a pair of handcuffs, and walk without making a sound—all before she was thirteen. Kick has trained herself to be safe. But then two children go missing in three weeks, and an enigmatic and wealthy former weapons dealer approaches her with a proposition. John Bishop uses his fortune and contacts to track down missing children. Not only is he convinced Kick can help recover the two children—he won’t take no for an answer. With lives hanging in the balance, Kick is set to be the crusader she has always imagined herself. Little does she know that the answers she and Bishop seek are hidden in one of the few places she doesn’t want to navigate—the dark corners of her own mind.

And here’s a sample:

She knew she should get out of the apartment. Self-defense 101: Awareness is the best self-defense. Escape is the second. But she couldn’t leave without Monster. It was a promise she’d made to herself the first time they were separated: she would not leave without her dog.

The action in One Kick starts off with a bang and barely lets up; expect to be kept up all night as Kick and Bishop race against the clock to recover missing children. Kick is a great heroine – tough, brave, determined and stubborn; her tough girl mask rarely falters, hidden as it is behind her sharp words, suspicion and fighting attitude, but underneath there’s plenty of vulnerability (for good reason). It’s just that when her enemies give those sore points a prod, she comes out firing … and kicking … and punching. And you know what? She’s been the victim of child pornographers so all power to her. Through Kick, via flashbacks and present-day action, the sordid world of those who exploit children sexually is given a resounding boot up the a**. From an action perspective, this is an edge-of-the-seat heart-pounder – it’s no less a heart-pounder from an emotional perspective, with the subject matter possibility hitting too close to home for some. A solid read that has been cleverly left open for the next instalment.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99). My copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.

Bookish treat: I made chocolate brownies. Naturally, I had to sample them.