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by Zoe Sharp
Piatkus, October 2005
320 pages
ISBN: 0749906995

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

If you like a one-line summing up of books before you embark on them, you might like to know that Zoe Sharp's ROAD KILL features a female Jack Reacher on motorbikes. And, like the books featuring Lee Child's tough-guy hero, it's a cracking good read.

I've dipped in and out of the series to date, liking it well enough, but it's never quite made it into my top division. That changes with ROAD KILL, though, which is high-octane action from start to finish.

Charlie Fox is a damaged heroine with a sidecar full of baggage to lug along. She's left the British army and is now working as a bodyguard. But there's unresolved business between her and her boss Sean Meyer, who was also her superior -- and lover -- in the army.

The previous book in the series apparently featured Charlie working in the US on a job that went badly wrong. There's a judicious amount of back story in ROAD KILL which means it's not a disadvantage if you haven't read its predecessor. Anyway, Charlie is back in the UK hoping to get her personal and professional life in some sort of order.

But then her close friend Clare is involved in a mysterious motorbike crash which kills a man. Charlie starts to realise that the incident wasn't an accident -- particularly when she is then targeted.

And then the action really hots up, as Charlie infiltrates a gang of illegal road racers who appear to have some sort of death wish. And the dangerous Sean is by her side as they hurtle round the north of England and Ireland.

If you don't like motorbikes very much, you might feel the two-wheeled action is a mite overdone -- the chases are pretty much of a muchness. And you will need a very strong stomach, as the bodies pile up (yes, just like Jack Reacher!) But if you like a female leading character with attitude and some cracking story-telling, Charlie fits the bill very well.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, October 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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