Book Review: One Kick by Chelsea Cain

One KickOne Kick
A Kick Lannigan Novel
Chelsea Cain
Simon & Schuster, August 2014
IBSN 978-1-4767-4978-5

The author is an experienced, acclaimed thriller writer. This eighth novel is the debut of yet another protagonist for her. As a big thriller with a hot, tough, protagonist, Elizabeth (Kick) Lannigan, deals with one of the nastier aspects of our society, pedophilia and child abduction, and this novel is destined for highly popular ranking.

It’s been called brilliant, outstanding, and masterful. I agree. I particularly enjoy the voice of the author, her writing style is unusual and slick. Which is not to say the book is smoothly written. The plot, on the other hand, is truly original and masterfully conceived, developed and resolved. The main characters are nicely handled and with some exceptions develop appropriately. The structure of the novel is excellent. The prologue avoids revealing too much so we are intrigued, wonder about significant omissions and are pulled into the story. We want to know more about this girl, rescued by the FBI after many years of captivity and forced bondage. This is not a novel for the faint of heart.

Kick Lannigan was abducted as a child, forced into unspeakable circumstances. After her rescue she becomes an avenging angel, determined to help wipe out an international network of child stealers and molesters. She learns and teaches herself more ways to kill than is possible to recall. She prides herself on physical agility and toughness of mind. Yet she is apparently seriously deficient in her ability to retain control of some dangerous situations, situations which result in grievous injury and, not incidentally, propel the plot into interesting episodes.

The novel is a fast read, well-thought-out and carefully concluded. Still there were times when I wanted to grab Lannigan by the neck and shout at her when I saw her letting down her guard, making mistakes that, in real life, would have undoubtedly resulted in instant termination.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, September 2014.
Author of Red Sky, Devils Island, Hard Cheese, Reunion.