Book Reviews: The Hit by Melvin Burgess and The Trigger by L.J. Sellers

The HitThe Hit
Melvin Burgess
Chicken House/Scholastic, March 2014
ISBN 978-0-545-55699-6

The Hit is a book that will make you think. Set in the near future, it puts us right into the conflicting world of haves and have nots, exploring the results of the worldwide financial crisis as the one-percenters have totally taken over. But that’s not all. A new drug—the drug culture having grown even more prevalent—is gaining popularity. One especially made for young people who don’t believe they have a future. Take the hit and the drug, called Death, will make the recipient euphoric and strong for seven days. Then you die.

Adam, one of the poverty-stricken ninety-nine percenters, doesn’t have much to live for. He and his parents can’t afford for him the education that would lift them out of comparative destitution. His girlfriend, Lizzie, is part of the upper-class. Adam, teenage hormones raging, lives to get laid; Lizzie can’t make up her mind. Then, when the pair attends a rock concert one evening, the star of the show dies on stage after taking the drug. The crowd goes wild! Riots pop up, the drug lords are pressing kids to take a hit, and Adam’s own brother is the chemist who invented the drug.

This is a large, convoluted plot. The concept is a bit scary actually, and is a book that seems a bit dark for the readership at which it’s aimed. Well-written, some of the characters come alive, leaping off the page with an energy equal to their years. Others seem like caricatures to me.

There were plenty of TSTL (to stupid to live) moments, plenty of bad decisions made, not a lot of hope for the world after this adventure.

True to life? God, I hope not.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, March 2014.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.



The TriggerThe Trigger
An Agent Dallas Thriller
L.J. Sellers
Spellbinder Press, August 2013
ISBN 978-0984008650
Trade Paperback

Agent Jamie Dallas, whose specialty in the FBI is working undercover, is called upon to investigate a potential kidnapping. The wife and child of the leader of a notorious doomsday prepper has disappeared, and murder is suspected. Is she the victim of a random abduction, or of something closer to home? It’s up to Dallas to find out.

Dallas, her undercover assignment a closely guarded secret, is backed by a team of local FBI agents. Unfortunately, her main contact is soon called away to work on yet another murder that only ties in with the main plot at the end of the novel. Dallas is soon stranded and in deep trouble when communications fail and the preppers discover her mission.

The Trigger is a ripped from the headlines style story with lots of twists and turns and an edge-of-your-seat ending. Hackers, preppers, and fanatics, as well as regular people caught up in an uncertain world are featured. Dallas is a great character, with all the foibles of the human condition. Agent McCullen partners well with her. I like that the villains are not over-the-top monsters, but very human with familial loyalties and mostly good intentions—or so they’ve convinced themselves.  At least until their plot to take over the worldwide monetary system and the Internet begins to go wrong.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, April 2014.
Author of Three Seconds to Thunder.