One Kick (Kick Lannigan #1)
Simon & Schuster
Copy courtesy Simon & Schuster AUS
When Kick Lannigan was 6, she was kidnapped. She was rescued at age 12 via an FBI raid on the place she was being held. Since her rescue almost a decade ago, Kick has tried every type of therapy there is. So far, the only thing that seems to work, is learning to fight and defend herself. She has mastered various types of combat as well as shooting, throwing knives and stars, archery and boxing. Never again will she be helpless or a victim.
Each time an Amber Alert is issued, Kick feels things. She wants desperately to help, thinking that she can provide an insight to what might have happened to these children but each time she is rebuffed – until now. A mysterious man shows up in her apartment, telling Kick she can call him Bishop. And he wants her help on the abduction of a young boy, a boy that Kick is already familiar with. She has felt an affinity to this boy from the moment that she heard he was missing.
With Kick’s knowledge of how underground pedophiles behave, the types of houses they look for and of course her connection to the man who took her, who is now in jail and who has never given up any of his contacts, Kick is perfectly placed to aid in this somewhat unusual investigation. Kick has worked hard to free herself from the demons surrounding her years in captivity but it seems that to find this missing boy, she’s going to have to revisit and old role.
Wow! What a start to a new series from Chelsea Cain. I’ve read her Beauty Killer series and really enjoyed that so I was interested when I heard she was doing something new. She always has unusual characters and Kick Lannigan fits the bill completely. Abducted as a child (it’s left up to the reader to imagine what was done to her, but there’s mention of movies that are among the most popular on p2p sites between pedophiles) she was rescued during a FBI raid. However by then she had been completely reprogrammed almost and had almost entirely forgotten her life prior to being taken. It’s been a long road back for her – she now goes by the name ‘Kick’ and she obviously still has many issues but she has managed to carve out an independent life for herself.
The arrival of Bishop turns that upside down, for several reasons. But it also gives Kick a sense of purpose, a feeling that she might finally be able to use the trauma she experienced to help other people. She has to do terrible things in order to be able to do this, including facing the man that took her when she was a 6, a man she then came to believe was her father, thanks to his brainwashing. She hasn’t seen him since she was rescued and to be honest, the scene where she visits him in the prison hospital was extremely hard to read. It made me feel quite uncomfortable – after what she’s been through, she shouldn’t ever have to put herself in situations like that again to act like that again. But Kick is deeply motivated to help other children and she’s in the unique position of being able to because of the fact she was once just like them.
The character of Bishop intrigues me. We learn little about him to begin with, other than the fact he has expensive toys at his disposal, that he wants Kick’s help and he knows the FBI agent that rescued her. Slowly pieces of his story begin to come out by the end of the novel but in many ways all they do is raise more questions than they answer. Despite the fact that Bishop is enigmatic and quite obviously highly skilled, I liked the fact that he wasn’t perfect and made some mistakes. He and Kick have an interesting dynamic, especially the way their working relationship progresses throughout the book and I really look forward to seeing where this goes in future installments. Even though he was sort of using Kick for the information she has locked away inside her, it’s also obvious that at times, he’s quite uncomfortable with what she’s having to do, even when some of it is her own idea. Although we don’t particularly see it much, it does suggest a softer side to him, a more concerned side underneath someone who wants to find missing children at any expense. I hope we learn more about how he came to where he is – his motivation has been briefly outlined but I think there’s a lot more there.
One Kick is a fabulous start to a fresh new series that promises a lot to come. Kick is one heck of a heroine, kind of equal parts strength and determination but also vulnerability and neurosis. I can’t wait for the next book.
Book #175 of 2014