An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of 400 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger. Enjoy ARCs and new releases.
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Excellent cover!
Barry Eisler returns following (2016) God’s Eye View with non-action thrills to the first in his new explosive series, LIVIA LONE (#1) assured to be one of the "darkest" thrillers, like no other; starring a female sex-crimes' cop, who hunts monsters and makes them pay.
Have also pre-ordered the audio narrated by the author (always a treat!)
A kick-ass heroine. A female vigilante. She entices and traps the evil ones. She is intelligent, edgy, mysterious, well-trained, and precise. Each move is carefully planned. From the first page, readers get the full impact of Livia Lone. A justice-seeking protagonist.
The novel starts off with Billy Barnett. He was digging the Asian chick next to him at Ray’s bar. Slim and petite, and fit. He picks her up but this Seattle sex-crimes cop is more than meets the eye. His orders were to keep a low profile following his release—stay clear of the gang, stay out of trouble, head back to Seattle with the state- appointed therapist.
However, she surprises him and at first he thought she just knew a few martial arts'moves. However, Billy is messing with the wrong person. Dead. Before he knew what hit him.
She is Livia Lone. She kills predators. Secretly murdering the low-lives. The ones which the legal system had not found and punished. A Seattle sex-crimes cop out for revenge. Covered in thick Lycra. She had known where to find him.
A popular member of Hammerhead gang. Billy enjoyed rape, and beyond; gambling debts, drug debts, and enemies from prison- but how hard would they work to track him down? White supremacist rapist ex-cons who would up quietly end up dead, and not command a maximum of investigative attention. She always covered her tracks. From wigs, makeup, eyeglasses-it would be a dead end.
She was ready to go after the "real" prize. A senior Hammerhead named Timothy Weed Tyler, who was about to finish a sixteen-year prison stretch at Victorville.
The last time she had seen Tyler, he had been one of her captors. He was the only person alive who might be able to tell her what had happened to her sister, Nason. (her little bird, due to her birdsong imitations). She had been missing since they had both been trafficked from Thailand as children.
From Then to Now. We learn about Livia's abusive past. Livia was thirteen, and Nason was eleven. Their parents had sold them in Thailand. They had become separated when arriving in the US in a shipping container. Labee was adopted and renamed Livia, becoming the sex slave of a prominent businessman, Fred Lone. A senator.
While in school Sean taught her jiu-jitsu. (eighth grader) and judo. It had been invented in Japan and then honed and popularized in Brazil, and Sean’s father had learned it from some people after he left the Marines and gone to live in Rio. His father had made him train since he was little. He was shy, bullied, and he stuttered. They called him “Stutter Boy." Everything that had happened to her and Nason, before she had been brought to this horrible place, made her want to fight back, like him. She saw his power. She wanted it.
Mr. Lone had made her feel poisoned and alone; helpless. Someone else was being bullied. She saw what power gave him and wanted him to teach her. She had to face Skull Face. Malcolm taught Livia the fundamental jiu-jitsu. She was terrified Mr. Lone wouldn’t allow her to train. She wanted to learn everything she could to protect herself from the monsters. Guns, weapons, knives-- anything that wasn’t a weapon was a weakness. She was never going to be weak again.
She practiced incessantly. In the fall of her senior year, Rick introduced Livia to his friend, a Portland PD sex crimes detective named Gavin. He did not treat her with pity. She wanted to know everything about sex crimes. It would be a way to protect girls like her and Nason. To avenge the ones, she could not protect.
Later she taught a class – to women; a blend of judo, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, focusing on techniques and tactics geared to bigger stronger opponents. Her philosophy was to teach the technique to train the mind. Teaching girls to protect themselves was even more important. She was accepted to SJSU. She would learn everything about criminals. She would be a cop. She would find Nason. Forensic science.
She would need "super powers"- enabling her to find clues criminals didn’t even know they had left behind. She learned about the laws and “human smuggling”. The details horrifying, from beatings and working sixteen hour days, paying them next to nothing. Labor-trafficking, sexual abuse. To find her sister. The shipments. She had seen and experienced it firsthand.
She wanted to carry a gun. Not just prosecute the monsters, but hunt them. Catch them. Snap handcuffs around their wrists -and put them in prison forever. Or put them "in the ground". From Skull Face, Dirty Beard, Square Head and Mr. Lone—when she sees them all- the dragon awakes.
There were predators in the world, lurking, waiting, wanting to hurt someone, ruin someone, and they would do it if they could. She hated them. She needed to fight. Not just some of the time. All of the time.
Portland felt the closest connection she had to Nason, the actual place where she and her sister had been amputated from each other. Of course, Rick and Gavin and the others had done all they could and found no trace of her. This is when she started thinking of Seattle- a hotbed of trafficking and its location to the Canadian border. Especially child trafficking. A perfect combo so she applied for the position.
Pain, grief, horror. The demons of the past and present. She has to go back and relive the torture to attain the answers she needs about her sister. Back to Thailand. A conspiracy. The senator. The national police. Children being trafficking, while those involved were moving up in the ranks of law enforcement. Pimping children. She would help them one way or another.
Dark, disturbing, chilling; an extensive and well-researched look at the depths and horrors of sex and human trafficking. Eisler's storytelling is vivid, intense, and suspenseful, introducing an unstoppable heroine so raw and driven.
Fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline-fueled thriller. Livia is courageous, stopping at nothing to save the innocent lives of those taken and abused. Engrossing and explicit; one of those books you cannot put down, as you peak around the corner; not for the fainthearted.
"Female Vigilante Justice, at its finest!" Fans of Karin Slaughter will love Livia Lone. Looking forward to the next in the series.
While the ethics of vigilantism (for real) remain up for debate, when reports of gender-based crimes consistently fall upon deaf ears, at some point, you might just make enact justice for yourself. And sometimes, that justice comes in a "blonde wig". I Am Revenge: The Unheard Stories Of Female Vigilantes" (2015) by Danika McClure.
Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA's Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan International Judo Center along the way.
Eisler's bestselling thrillers have won the Barry Award and theGumshoe Award for Best Thriller of the Year, have been included in numerous "Best Of" lists, and have been translated into nearly twenty languages. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he's not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law. Read More