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Posts Tagged ‘British female private eye’

SECOND SHOT by Zoe Sharp: Book Review

I haven’t met a tough-talking British female private eye in a long time, but now Charlie Fox is here. Second Shot is the second book in a series featuring a former member of the Women’s Royal Army Corps, a martial arts expert and crack shot.  But Charlie was court-martialed out of the corps in a bogus trial, and now she’s working as a private investigator in a small London firm.

There’s quite a backstory to Charlie, formally known as Charlotte, but it’s pretty much only hinted at here.  The reader finds out that she comes from a well-to-do English family with cold, unloving parents; what we don’t know is why this semi-estrangement has taken place.  Her father, an internationally known orthopedic surgeon, is very upset with her career choices, both past and present; her mother’s reasons aren’t explained at all.  So all we know is that Charlie is pretty much alone in the world, except for her professional and personal relationship with her boss, Sean Meyer.

Meyer’s agency is approached when Simone Kerse wins a thirteen million pound lottery in England. She plans to use part of that money to travel to America to find her long-lost father, whom she hasn’t seen since she was a child.  Now Simone is a single mother with her own child, but the child’s father has been stalking her, trying to persuade her not to try to find the man who ran out on Simone and her mother more than twenty years ago.  Simone doesn’t want Charlie’s interference or protection, but when the child’s father bursts into a restaurant where Simone, her daughter, and the two investigators are having lunch and seemingly tries to grab the child, she reluctantly agrees to let Charlie accompany her and her daughter to Boston while she searches.

The opening chapter of the book has Charlie in a ditch, hiding from a gun-wielding Simone who is shot dead before she can shoot Charlie. The book then flashes back to how the detective was hired, how Simone’s father was located, and how money can’t buy happiness, even thirteen million pounds of money.

To the author’s credit, Second Shot is a definite page-turner.  Charlie is an interesting heroine who comes with lots and lots of baggage.  I would have enjoyed the book more if some of that baggage had been unpacked instead of merely being hinted about, to flesh out Charlie’s character.  There’s a lot of talk about Charlie not wanting to take the assignment as it means going to America where she obviously had had a terrible experience some time before, but we’re never told what it is.  Is that information in First Drop, the beginning of the series, or is it a teaser that will only be explained later?  I think it’s an important enough piece of information about the heroine to warrant an explanation.

And Zoe Sharp doesn’t seem to have a strong handle on her characters’ emotions and personalities–they changed from chapter to chapter, not always convincingly.  That said, there were some things that totally surprised me.  There was one that I was sure I had figured out, but I was wrong (yes, sometimes that happens).

I’d like to see more of Charlie Fox.  She’s an interesting woman, and the series has a lot going for it.  It needs a bit of tweaking in terms of characters, but Ms. Sharp is definitely on the right track.

You can read more about Zoe Sharp at her web site.