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review 2020-01-20 22:07
"Power is the Ultimate Aphrodisiac..."
Lawless Justice - Karina Kantas

I thank Henry Roi PR for providing me an electronic copy of this novel, originally published in 2008, which I freely chose to review. This has in no way influenced my review.


This was my introduction to the work of Karina Kantas and notwithstanding the pace of the novel has much in common with a thriller, the underlying commentary on themes such as gang culture, knife crime, social identity and power lent the book some interesting depth, made all the more intriguing by the use of a mainly female cast of characters.


Cass is escaping a longstanding abusive relationship, which began shortly after leaving school and culminated in her isolation from family support. The attendant violence also coloured the young woman’s attitude to physical harm and hardened her resolve not to be a victim. However, when Cass is the subject of a random attack after a night out, she is rescued by the ‘Kittnz’, a gang of five female bikers, led by the indomitable ‘Raven’, and recruited (via a brutal initiation) to join their select gang. Part of the appeal for Cass, soon re-named ‘Ice’, is their flamboyance, “all loudly dressed in similar leather outfits; beautiful women who looked like glamorous rock chicks…” but more importantly, “the fear and respect they created was intoxicating.” In fact, Cass was won over long before the full implications of her commitment were known, any reticence leached away by her desire to join their ‘sisterhood’ and to be feared, it was sufficient to know that the gang’s activities were ‘rewarding and justified’.


The journey to a sense of liberation, self-esteem and empowerment are mainly observed through the experience of the newest recruit and the pent-up anger within ‘Ice’ and her desperation to be accepted, finds her capable of extreme violence. The raison d’etre of the Kittnz is allegedly to ‘do over’ people who overstep the mark. However, the clandestine nature of their existence insists that they each work in outlying towns (their professional personas - lawyer, doctor, journalist, psychoanalyst also providing a useful skill-mix), only venturing into Northampton in the guise of their alter-egos. The choice of a fairly nondescript provincial town made me smile, but I imagine was deliberate and perhaps enabled the Kittnz to enjoy the exaggerated rep’ that might go with swimming in a smaller pond. But, the tentative democracy underlying the gang’s activities is quickly exposed by the iron control exerted by ‘Raven’ and the expected sacrifice of family, friends and private life. The lifestyle upside of belonging, clothes, money, drugs and disinhibition are well described by the author, but so too is the price to be paid. I read with almost morbid curiosity the new depths of depravity that the gang might plumb to sustain their reputation. What started out with almost moral zeal, delivering a modest form of ‘justice’ for those let down by the system, quickly deteriorates into an escalating, toxic cycle of violence infecting the gang members and the corruption on which they depend. This is most clearly evidenced in the trajectory of ‘Ice’, raised high on her carefully nurtured resilience and her lust for fearsome power, ultimately, in a sad symmetry, subjugated to the will of her waning leader and a bigger, more ruthless male gang. A rather tragic victim transformed into an abuser and then a victim of another hue.


The take away from this book is perhaps that vigilantism is flawed, not by the gender of the vigilante, but the absence of transparent authority. However, the slightly implausible premise is nonetheless well handled by Ms Kantas and the story well-told. On this showing I look forward to reading more of her novels in future.

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review 2019-07-02 19:53
What Makes a Family
L is for Lawless (Kinsey Millhone, #12) - Sue Grafton

Have to say that this one was pretty good though the usual suspects are not in it much (Rosie, Henry, William, etc.). We have Kinsey following someone who stole something from a neighbor/client's home and then gets caught up with I guess you can just say are a family of not so bright thieves.


Kinsey is still prepping for Rosie and William's wedding in this one. She is asked by Henry to do a favor for the family of an old neighbor of both of them which causes her to go down a long winding path of ill gotten loot from decades ago. 


Kinsey is still smarting over finding out about what went down with her mother's side of the family after her father and mother died. She found out a few books ago that she has relatives that she never knew about and that her Aunt Gin had never told her about them. One wonders about Aunt Gin at times. Kinsey rejects any notion of family and then gets yanked into a case that is all about it. Irony. We still have Kinsey being a smart ass here and there, but she's mostly out of depth in this one. Most of the book is just her running from place to place it seems.

I can't say much about Henry or Rosie. They are in this one, but barely. It was interesting to read about Henry's siblings and loved hearing how they celebrated their birthdays. However, we don't spend much time with them which I thought was a shame. 


The writing is good though at times the plot gets way too complicated. We have the missing money as a plot and it never made much sense to me why Kinsey still sticks with the people she does though. The Kinsey we have known to this point would have peaced out and and minded her own business. The flow was a bit off though. I just found myself getting bored towards the end (hence the 4 stars). 

The setting of the book is mostly in Texas and Kentucky of all places. Since I am used to reading these books and thinking of California, it was a weird to have all of the action away from home and Kinsey's usual band of merry men and women.

The ending was sweet though and I did laugh at Kinsey having to suck it up and reach out to her mother's side of the family. 




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text 2019-07-02 02:23
Reading progress update: I've read 51%.
L is for Lawless (Kinsey Millhone, #12) - Sue Grafton


I honestly don’t remember reading this the first time through. So yeah for an old book feeling like something new. We also have Kinsey in Texas for some of this book which changes things from the usual Santa Teresa setting. BTW the way Grafton describes this place and time of year makes me long for CA in the autumn. Maybe I’m just craving the smell of wood smoke. 



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review 2018-02-13 02:14
The Glass Mermaid
The Glass Mermaid: A Falling in Deep Collection Novella - Poppy Lawless

Kate is a mermaid and is the last. She buried her (mermaid) family decades ago. She lives as a human, collecting beach glass to sell, and hasn't been in the water for a 100 years. Cooper was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He opted to move back to his childhood home. He notices Kate on the beach. This was nice, short and sweet. The epilogue was important, otherwise I would have thought this had a completely different ending. A little more explanation would have been nice, but considering the length, didn't happen.

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review 2017-12-01 00:00
Lawless - R.G. Alexander Lawless - R.G. Alexander RG's Finn Factor series just gets better and better. This book we get to see Solomon Finn the Younger finally step out of his father's shadow and embrace his life. He's making up for lost time and going a-wooing to win back the one that got away... Hugo Wayne. Purrr. This book hits all the right buttons! (And we get to meet a not so little leprechaun too!)
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