Fox Hunter

Zoë Sharp delivers one knockout action scene after another in her rough-and-tumble geopolitical thriller Fox Hunter. Part of the Charlie Fox series, the novel is set in the Middle East, in Iraq and Jordan, and parts of Europe. After an ex-colleague turns up dead, tortured and mutilated, Charlie, an ex-special forces soldier who works for a private security firm in New York, is sent to Iraq to investigate. Navigating the shady machinations of private military contractors in the war-torn country, Charlie struggles to find people to trust as she pieces together the clues. The murder leads her to a tragic incident in her past, when she was raped and forced out of the military, and she wonders if her former lover Sean Meyer, seen leaving the scene of the murder, is exacting revenge on her behalf.

Sharp writes with a muscular, punchy style that matches the novel's hardboiled plot. She has a canny way of describing her characters under extreme pressure: one character "scrubbed his palms up and down his face as if to clear the grit of weariness." In another instance, Charlie describes how "the acid in my stomach leached out in my voice." Sharp's action scenes--there are many--are deftly rendered and punchy. Discovering a string of brutal rapes in Iraq (with similarities to her own), Charlie comes face-to-face with the cruel realities of patriarchy in certain parts of the world--most horrifically exemplified when a victim is mutilated by her own father for bringing shame upon her family.

Dogged in its sense of justice and fierce in its themes of female empowerment, Fox Hunter is an intense thriller. --Scott Neuffer, writer, poet, editor of trampset

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