Bad Turn by Zoë Sharp

Today it is my great pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for the thirteenth Charlie Fox nove from Zoë Sharp, Bad Turn. My thanks to Ayo Onatade for inviting me to take part and to the author for providing an advance copy for review. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Review Copy

About the Book

One bad turn…deserves another.

Charlie Fox has quit her job in close protection, been turned out of her apartment, and is apparently out of options.

House-sitting in rural New Jersey has to be the pits—TV and TV dinners. A far cry from Iraq… Bulgaria… Afghanistan. Unlucky or not, she happens to be around at the right time to foil a violent kidnap attempt on Helena, wife of billionaire arms dealer, Eric Kincaid.

Kincaid offers her a job looking after Helena. The rumours about Kincaid’s business empire say he’s gone over to the dark side, but Charlie is in no position to be fussy. And protecting people against those who want to do them harm is what she’s good at. But when the threats against the Kincaids escalate, and then follow the couple over to Europe, Charlie’s really going to have to up her game. It’s time to take the fight to the enemy.

Charlie’s at her best putting an end to trouble. Now she must learn to strike first. And hope that the Kincaids don’t discover the secret she’s been keeping from them, right from the start.

Available from: Amazon | Kobo

My Thoughts

Oh how I do love a good action/thriller story, and one with a strong female lead is always an added bonus. Charlie Fox has to rate up there as one of those brilliant characters I can’t wait to hear more about. She is strong, determined, principled, sometimes helped along by a little luck, but more often than not saved by her own quick thinking and ultimate skill. I may have been late to the party, but I’m enjoying catching up. So when I heard that there was a new book on the horizon, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. And what a book it is.

Everything has changed for Charlie and when we meet up with her again she is down on her luck. Out of a job, she is living the . relative quiet life as a house sitter. Quiet that is, until she happens upon an ambush in the middle of nowhere and finds herself caught up in an unexpected gun fight. One thing leads to another and Charlie’s quick thinking and fast action leads to a job offer that she cannot afford to turn down. But nothing is quite as it seems with either Charlie, or the woman she is employed to protect and what follows is a mixture of mystery, action and high tension thrills that kept me hooked from the start to the finish of the book.

I really love the character of Charlie Fox. Author Zoë Sharp has created such a believable and, ultimately, likeable character that you absolutely want to go on an adventure with her. She is not infallible, capable of making the same mistakes as any other woman on the planet, especially when it comes to her feelings, but she is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to her skills in protection and defence. You can tell the author’s own experience, training and research has been put to perfect use here, giving you just enough explanation to put you, as the reader, in the heart of the action, but not so much as to bore you with the detail. It makes the action sequences more thrilling. Heightens the tension as you can practically feel every blow, hear the ticking of the cogs as Charlie works out how she is going to get out of the mess she is invariably in.

And it’s not just Charlie Fox who makes for a great character. This book is awash with them, even down to the bain of Charlie’s life, Conrad Epps. Everything about him is calculated, and he has a very questionable personality, but there was something about his arrogance that I still liked. Maybe liked is too strong a word, but I certainly recognised in his character a number of people I have met over the years. Then there are the Kincaids, Charlie’s new employers. You never quite get the feeling of honesty from them, and given their line of business it is hardly surprising. There is stern, hostile side to Helena, the reluctant client, in spite of insisting that Charlie was the only person she would trust with her life. I did kind of understand where she was coming from though, the way in which she sought her own kind of freedom, and the author has done a great job of creating that internal conflict and showing how it manifests itself in her attitude.

If there is one real revelation in this book though, at least in terms of character, it has to come in the form of Schade, Eric Kincaid’s personal bodyguard and highly skilled assassin in his own right. You know Charlie cannot trust him as far as she could throw him – maybe nobody should – but there is just something about his laid back, often humorous, completely duplicitous nature that makes him really appealing as a character. The kind of bad boy that readers love. I’m certainly hoping he makes a repeat appearance at some point in the series as I can see him continuing to make Charlie’s life very interesting.

The book is full of tension, of high action and high jeopardy scenes in which you’ll feel your heart rate pick up. It’s everything you could want from an action thriller, with a good dose of emotion and heart added too. The author draws both the romantic and trusting nature of the Kincaid’s relationship and the high velocity scenes of the ambush with equal skill and ease, taking the reader on one hell of a roller coaster ride that blends thrills and humour seamlessly. Another absolutely cracking instalment and definitely recommended.

About the Author

Zoë Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire, but spent most of her formative years living on a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. After a promising start at a private girls’ school, she opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve in favour of correspondence courses at home.

Zoë went through a variety of jobs in her teenage years. In 1988, on the strength of one accepted article and a fascination with cars, she gave up her regular job to become a freelance motoring writer. She quickly picked up on the photography side of things and her photo-journalism took her as far afield as the United States and Japan, as well as Europe, Ireland and the UK. She is now a full-time fiction author and creator of the Charlie Fox series of crime thrillers.

Zoë wrote her first novel when she was fifteen, but success came in 2001 with the publication of KILLER INSTINCT − the first book to feature her ex-Special Forces heroine, Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox. The character evolved after Zoë received death-threat letters in the course of her photo-journalism work.

Later Charlie Fox novels − FIRST DROP and FOURTH DAY − were finalists for the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel. The Charlie Fox series has also been optioned for TV.

As well as the Charlie Fox novels, Zoë’s short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, and have been shortlisted for the Short Story Dagger by the UK Crime Writers’ Association. Her other writing has been nominated for the coveted Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the Anthony Award presented by the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, the Macavity Award, and the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers’ Association.

A keen library supporter and public speaker, Zoë blogs regularly on her Blog page. She also witters on Twitter (@AuthorZoeSharp) and fools about on Facebook (ZoeSharpAuthor).

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