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I cannot let March come to a close without highlighting my recommendation of Zoë Sharp's new instalment of Charlie Fox thrillers, Fifth Victim, published now by Allison & Busby. This is another tense, well-plotted and immensely readable adventure, and one that will be welcomed by loyal followers.
Hired to protect rich Long Island socialite teenager Dina Willner from a perceived kidnap threat – which is a reality that has already seen three of Dina's friends experience a taste of captivity – Charlie has to work without the close support of long-term partner Sean Meyer, who still lies in the coma brought about by events in a previous case.
An outsider on the inside, Charlie soon realises that there is far more than meets the eye with the series of kidnappings which she is intent on foiling. Why have the police not been involved, and why were the three victims' families so keen to keep quiet and avoid publicity?
With the added stress of reigning in her emotions, as no change in the news of Sean's condition comes from his hospital bed, Charlie is supported by Parker Armstrong who, along with Sean, runs the close protection agency in New York that is now Charlie's base. This is a clever move by Sharp, and one that adds to the tension in ways that slowly become clear. Never known for taking it easy when embroiled on a case, Charlie is soon racing full-throttle to beat escalating odds and to keep her charge safe; risks are taken, danger is faced and surmounted and, just when the reader thinks a resolution is reached, Sharp gives us one more of those most unexpected twists for which she is becoming so well-known.
The Charlie Fox series is unique in so many ways, with a strong female lead character who has had to adapt so many times to her changing circumstances, not least to a move from the UK to the US for her most recent outings. If a male reader of a different generation is able to so easily identify with Charlie Fox, then Sharp is most definitely doing a heck of a lot right. So, fingers crossed that we don’t have to wait too long for more of Charlie!
Written by ScotKris. [With thanks.]
Signed first editions are available from Goldsboro Books in London and online; hardbacks at Waterstone's, Allison & Busby, and Amazon UK.