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ONE KICK
by Chelsea Cain
Simon & Schuster, August 2014
320 pages
$25.99
ISBN: 1476749787


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Kick Lannigan would be happy never to be on the Internet again; unfortunately, the videos taken by the people who abducted her and kept her for five years will never be gone. Her "parents" had her well-trained: when the FBI stormed the house, Kick was the one who went to the computer and activated the program that wiped the hard drive clean, thereby leaving the FBI with no leads to follow. Kick would also be content never to see her mother again. The woman had made a career out of being her mother: photo ops, a book, appearances on any talk show that called.

Kick is obsessed by children who have been taken. She tries her best to find them, save them, get them back before they are as damaged as she is and was. After two children are taken locally, she is approached (if one can call it that) by a man who wants her help in finding them. His approach is unorthodox, to say the least, and her computer-savvy brother James can't find any trace of him on the Internet. As much as she doesn't like this man, or his attitude, she realizes that he has resources she doesn't and the hunt is as important to him as it is to her. So they work, to use the term loosely, together.

Readers of previous Chelsea Cain novels may be surprised at ONE KICK. While there certainly is some violence in view, this novel is not nearly as graphic as Cain's other novels. It reads much more like Charlaine Harris' SHAKESPEARE series, only with more grit. Kick is probably more scarred internally than Harris' protagonist, although that is a subject for debate. She has the same determination NEVER again to be a victim. She also resembles Andrew Vachss's Burke to a degree in that she is as protective of her chosen "family" as Burke is of his. Kick is reluctant to let anyone into her life, as so many people in the past have caused her pain of one kind or another.

On a more personal note: this is the first book in a very long time that I read on break at work with an eye on the clock so as not to be late getting back. I didn't dare take it home because I knew I'd be up all night reading it. I was right - and it was worth every minute of my time.

P.J. Coldren lives in northern lower Michigan where she reads and reviews widely across the mystery genre when she isn't working in her local hospital pharmacy.

Reviewed by P.J. Coldren, July 2014

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