RogerBW's Blog

Bad Turn, Zoë Sharp 28 February 2023

2019 thriller, thirteenth and as of this writing last in the series about Charlie (Charlotte) Fox, former soldier and currently private bodyguard. After stumbling into an ambush aimed at someone else, Charlie quickly jumps from unemployed into a new bodyguarding gig. With an arms dealer, but you can't have everything, right?

That's not the whole story, of course; this is Charlie Fox, and it never is. Everyone involved here appears to have it in for Charlie at one point or another, and the majority of the tension is less in terms of what's going on than it is about working out who can be trusted. (Someone set Charlie up to be shot… but he gave her a clue that he was about to do it so that she could escape… and someone else warned her first, and if she'd listened she wouldn't have gone out in the first place… so are either of them good guys?"

"For people who are supposed to be all on the same side," I said at last, "you certainly seem to keep a lot of secrets from one another."

Of course, if you're bodyguarding someone full-time and you can't trust anyone else on the team, the level of support you can rely on is a bit minimal, and that doesn't go well. There's some action here, but it's only in short bursts between the suspicion and occasional revelations; for my money Sharp is best at the action, but she likes to space it out with the interpersonal tension which doesn't satisfy me as much.

And Charlie may know a lot but she still doesn't seem to have learned that the rules are there for a reason, and if the principal won't follow them you don't just shrug your shoulders and ignore it…

This seems to be the last Charlie Fox book; there's a prequel novel about her army days, but Sharp has been writing other things. I may give some a go, but it'll depend on whether they emphasise what to me are the strengths of her writing style.

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Previous in series: Fox Hunter | Series: Charlie Fox

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