Fifth Victim

Fifth Victim

The only thing more terrifying than fighting for your life is fighting for someone else’s…Bodyguard and ex-Special Forces soldier Charlie Fox would do anything to take her mind off her partner; shot, left for dead and now lying in a coma. So concentrating on a new assignment seems like the perfect way to escape the pain, and her own empty apartment. The job: to protect the naive daughter of an investment banker from a gang of kidnappers who prey on the children of the wealthy Long Island set. Kidnap is a lucrative crime for those with the nerve to pull it off. Usually those who disappear are returned unharmed – except this syndicate likes to take a piece of the victim as part of the pay-off. Still, it all looks simple at first.

A round of exclusive boutiques, charity auctions, luxurious parties aboard million-dollar yachts – and few risks for an experienced operative. But Charlie soon finds out that defending a girl determined to put herself in danger is far from easy. And when her instincts lead her to suspect an inside job, she discovers that not everyone who mingles with the jet-set is what they seem – and the idle rich can be as ruthless as any criminal.

Fifth Victim has been sitting patiently on my To Be Read pile for a number of months, more months than I care to remember. I recall briefly meeting Zoë Sharp in May last year and although it was a quick meeting one thing was clear, her passion for Charlie Fox – her protagonist – was infectious. I knew there and then that I wanted to read one of her adventures but it has – rather ashamedly – taken me eight months to finally pick up the book and read. They say good things come to all those who wait, what about great things? I have to admit I couldn’t put the book down and finished this magnificent novel in two days, I had to make myself a cup of tea to relax – Fifth Victim is electrifyingly good.

I’m not sure why it took me so long to read but I was hooked in from the very beginning and when I turned over the final page of the opening chapter I cursed the author for changing the time line and leaving me on a cliff-hanger – there really was no need for that Zoë! I spent the first half of the book wondering how she was going to tie in the opening salvo but thanks to an imaginative and intelligent storyline that was married with a wonderful narrative, I’d put the opening sequence behind me.

One of the great things about Fifth Victim was its pace. Sharp’s love of cars and motorbikes comes through clearly but the thing that impressed me – perhaps more than anything – was the way the book resembled the advancement of gears. When we first meet Charlie Fox there is no doubt something rather frenetic is happening at the beach but when the author leaves this initial scene the speed slows down. She takes her time building a steady and solid foundation – it never felt rushed – filling in the history of previous encounters for those new to the series like yours truly. First gear while the engine warms up. What then follows is an extremely well-paced progression through the gears as she delivers one twist after another.

My jaw nearly hit the floor when I was half way through the book. Normally you have to wait until the conclusion to receive a twist as big as this but not with Sharp. With a little over 200 pages left in the tale she manages to pull something out of left field, just when I was relaxed and thought I had things figured out. I was blown away. She teases with double cross and twists until the final chapter ends leaving me breathless. This final surprise left me exhausted and eager to find out what happens next. I guess you can’t ask for more than that from any book.

Characterisation is impressive with Fox and Parker – her boss – leading the way with aplomb. Charlie Fox is a terrific character, both loyal and driven. She knows what she wants – more or less – and certainly knows how to get it. Intelligent and sassy she carries the novel. I think I may have a little crush!

The narrative and multi layered plot is well developed and taut. In fact I struggled to find fault with the storyline which was undeniably well structured. The dialogue was crisp and bang on the money. Did I mention money? When the rich have everything they could ever want, what makes them tick and seek adventure?

Fifth Victim is a tremendous read; I only wish I’d picked up the book sooner. It’s clear Zoë Sharp knows her stuff and what it takes to deliver an intelligent and believable action thriller. Although the ninth in the Charlie Fox series Fifth Victim can be read on its own merits. Finally – even though she’s been around for a while! – we have a female protagonist who could compete effortlessly with the best of the best – Jack Reacher. I can’t wait until I read another Charlie Fox novel and one thing is certain; I won’t leave it so long to read next time! You can take that to the bank!

Compelling and provocative, Fifth Victim is highly recommended and if you ever need a bodyguard – I know just to gal!

Published by Allison & Busby, Fifth Victim is available in Hardback & Kindle formats.

  • ISBN-10: 0749009322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0749009328
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2 Responses to “Fifth Victim by Zoë Sharp – Book Review”

  1. Nikki-ann says:

    Another one to add the the list! :)

  2. Susi Holliday (@SJIHolliday) says:

    Yup, I am adding this to my list too! I also met Zoe Sharp once and I am ashamed to say that despite her enthusiasm and general loveliness, I have also not yet picked up a Charlie Fox novel. I’m going to read this, then I bet I’ll be reading the series from the start. Thanks Miles!

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