In One Kick, author Chelsea Cain does not hold back in unleashing a thrilling novel full of suspense.
Meet Kick. She is tough, she is determined; she will not let you mess around with her. She was the young girl you saw on missing person’s posters. After being rescued by Frank and his team at the FBI, it is a difficult adjustment being back in the real world. Her mother has sold her soul for the almighty dollar as a missing child’s mother. We don’t hear much about the father; perhaps for good reason.
Every so often Frank appears in the story to check up on Kick. She lives independently in an apartment, one level above James, a kidnapped child who also spent time with her “mom” and “dad.” Trained as a marksman, escape artist and bomb maker, Kick discovered that arm to arm combat helped her to deal with her anxiety of being out of captivity. A panic diary is still nearby.
However, troubles surface when another child goes missing under circumstances similar to Kick’s. A man named Bishop arrives unannounced at Kick’s door asking her to assist in the case. Whilst initially very reluctant, Kick eventually succeeds and the mystery hunting begins.
For the most part I enjoy Cain’s style. It was the first time any of her books had found their way into my hands. The strong character personalities she creates are borne through action – there aren’t lengthy descriptions outlining their likes or emotions, you eventually just discover who they are. Only small snippets of the traumatic past are given to better help us understand the tough yet frail psyche of our protagonist. Monster the dog was also a nice touch.
Sometimes, however, it felt ironic to hear about all of Kick’s amazing talents that were never used. When Kick is climbing up a wall to get into a house where a missing child is alleged to be, Bishop comes in through the front door quizzing her on why she didn’t try the easy option first. If she had such talent she very seldom applied it.
In the build up to the showdown with the perpetrator, Bishop and Kick discover some incredibly valuable leads which take them all over the place, and into an encounter with Mel, the paedophile who kidnapped Kick. After this, the book gets very vicious with some unfortunate encounters and a thrilling ending. Don’t expect conventional crime novel thinking here. Cain unleashes an ending few could envision.