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by Zoe Sharp
Piatkus, January 2004
373 pages
ISBN: 0749906618

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Ex-special services trainee, motorcycle-riding, martial arts instructor Charlie Fox is on holiday when she gets a phone call from her ex-lover, Sean Meyer to get back to London to pick up some information about a close bodyguard job in Florida. She gets there and has a reunion with Sean. The next day, she takes 15-year-old Trey Pelzner to an amusement park, where she sees a man going for a gun. She gets Trey out of the park, and tries to call the house and Sean. There is no answer.

Charlie drives to an out of the way diner and leaves Trey there while she goes to the house to see what has happened. She finds the house deserted, all clothing and personal belongings gone. The only thing she finds is Sean's gun under his mattress. She takes the Sig Sauer 9 mm and leaves. As she exits the property, she sees the next-door neighbor, the elderly Livingston Brown, who tells her that a moving van came just after she left with Trey and took all personal belongings. The house was leased by the company Trey's father, Keith worked for, and Brown tells Charlie that he was told they were going someplace and to give the key to the realtor who would be by that day.

Charlie is bereft. She has just found Sean and lost him again. But she has a job to do, so she gets Trey and they head up to Orlando and Spring Break. They sleep on the beach the first night and are attacked by a brash teenager in the morning. Charlie disables him handily, and Trey begins to gain some respect for her.

Charlie Fox is a kick-ass heroine. Her job comes first. She must guard the obnoxious teenager with her life, and she does, despite the feeling that she is alone. She can trust no one, not even the security department of Keith's company nor the police. Can she trust the retired FBI agent she meets on the beach? Sharp keeps us guessing until the end. And then she ties up everything very neatly.

FIRST DROP will be published in the US next year, the first of the four Charlie Fox novels to appear in the States. Do yourself a favor. Go to your local independent bookseller or Amazon UK and order KILLER INSTINCT, RIOT ACT, and HARD KNOCKS. You'll love meeeting Charlie and watching her develop. And then when FIRST DROP comes out here, you can buy it and hope that the US publisher continues its relationship with Zoe Sharp.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, May 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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