Riot Act by Zoe Sharp (Charlie Fox #2)


My Rating: 4/5

Okay, so in July 2012 I gave in to the nagging feeling that I was missing out. Every time I looked on Facebook I kept seeing people take about Zoe Sharp and the character Charlie Fox. Not one to miss out I immediately read the first book in the series and LOVED it. I have finally got around to book 2 and finished it in less time than the first.

Charlie Fox is ex-special forces, however that may sound like a `bog standard’ character template for a female lead, but she is far from standard. Charlie Fox is an ordinary woman with a very interesting past. Yep, she was in the special-forces but eventually kicked out due to a harrowing event that has gone on to make her a little bit cynical. Currently working at a gym and house-sitting for her friend she has no idea that things are about to go a little crazy in her life. I really like Charlie Fox as a character and although she certainly has some skills, she isn’t what you would call the most settled of people.

The thing about a good series is that you begin to learn about the characters as each book is released. Sharp does a cracking job of feeding enough to keep the reader interested, but too little for you to feel you really have the whole picture. It’s what makes people continue to read series like these. With Charlie’s house stay coinciding with a rush of violence on the estate, she finds herself trapped between toeing the line with the law, and getting involved to help get to the truth of what’s going on. In typical Charlie style, the trouble comes looking for her.

With the London riots reasonably recent, it made the events in this book that little bit more real for me. What I didn’t account for was a character from Charlie’s past, Sean Meyer’ turning up and rocking the boat. There are a number of threads to this story and as you keep reading it’s like peeling back the layers of an onion! I changed my mind a number of times as to who was behind the violence and riots, but as the story went on I realised I should give up trying to work it out and just enjoy. Enjoy it was what I did in the bucket load! I love Charlie, her close friends and work colleagues and now Sean. However, the number one spot has to go to Friday, the dog of her friend for whom she was house-sitting. He absolutely made his mark and I thought he and Charlie made a great match (ridiculous I know, but true).

Having promised other people I would read other books next, I decided to completely ignore my promises and have already started book 3. I can see this series taking all preference for a while yet! I would absolutely recommend this book and the series. Start at book 1 and you have at least 9 to catch up on…I can’t wait!

Killer Instinct by Zoe Sharp (Charlie Fox #1)


My Rating: 4/5

Being somebody that buys more than I read, I have that nagging feeling that I am missing out when people get excited over authors I have never read. Yes I know, I have issues; don’t get me started! When I saw on my lovely Facebook page that people were excitedly chattering about Zoe Sharp I immediately Googled her and realised that she has been writing for the best part of ten years. How dare I not know about this crime author, especially being a British female author? I immediately ordered her first release in the series featuring Charlie Fox and eventually got around to it.

Charlie Fox is an ordinary sort of woman and within the first few chapters I decided that I liked her very much. Charlie teaches women self-defence, prefers to dress in jeans and had a passion for riding motorbikes. Charlie was kicked out of the army for reasons unknown to the reader early on and although she is certainly not without issues I loved her no-nonsense attitude. When Charlie is offered a job working for the security at the New Adelphi club she has no idea that a few hours after her tussle with Susie Hollins in the club, that she would be found dead a few hours later.

This is the catalyst for a string of events that put Charlie’s life on the line. There are many authors and books out there in this genre and although this wasn’t necessarily one that stood out by a mile, it certainly whets my appetite for Charlie and her life. The characters are easy to read and the plot twisted enough to hold your interest well into the early hours. I realised at around the halfway mark that were many more layers to the story than I originally thought.

I realised pretty early on that this would be a series I would stick with. After a slower paced beginning, the second half flew by and I found myself racing to find out who is involved and to what degree. By the end of the book I made sure I went online and got part 2. It may well take me a while to get to but I will certainly be looking forward to it. Now I know why people were talking about Zoe Sharp and I will be among them next time, although as ever I like to read a series in order and it may take me a while to catch up. Overall, I am dead chuffed that I can now add another female British crime writer to my list of must reads. Fantastic start to a series (and what planet have I been on having only just started reading ZS???!). Recommended!