Crime & Beyond Wiki

This is a record, even for me. I am barely getting the July meeting notes out before the August meeting. If you weren’t at the July meeting (and maybe even if you were), you may not have heard that I started a new job this month. I am officially winding down my law firm in order to find more time to get my book written. I’ve taken on a job as Executive Director of a non-profit called The Alliance of Professional Women. It’s part-time, so once I’ve made the final transition, it will allow me a lot more free time. But for now, I have two jobs. Short term gains I guess. But enough about me, let’s talk about books.

I’ll start the meeting notes with a synopsis of the book, since so much time has passed and we all read so many books that they start to blend. One Kick was the first book in Chelsea Cain’s new series featuring Kick Lannigan. Chelsea has put Archie and Gretchen aside to tell the story of Kick, a girl who was abducted at a young age and held for years by a child pornographer. As can be expected, Kick is one messed up adult. She has taught herself every kind of self-defense imaginable, in addition to how to be proficient with numerous weapons. She is obsessed with cases of abducted children and when a man named John Bishop approaches her to help him find a missing boy, she is unable to say no. Bishop claims to be working for a wealthy employer, who Kick never meets, and has unlimited funds and private planes in place to help with the search. In helping Bishop, Kick finds herself drawn back to her past, and actually confronting her abductor, who has been in prison since she was found and released.

The one comment that was shared by everyone who read the book was that the subject matter was disturbing. For some, this took away from the book. For others it added to how much we wanted to see the bad guys tortured. Tortured? Did I say tortured? I meant punished. That’s it, punished. Overall, the scores for the book were extremely high. Almost all of them fell between 8-9. There was one 10 and a 9.5 on the higher scale, and a 5 and a 6.5 on the lower. But the vast majority (14 people) scored the book as an 8 or above.

I think the low scores were based on the disturbing content, and one person even commented that the writing was very good, but the subject matter made her uncomfortable. I think even those that loved the book can agree with that sentiment.

Of the high scores, the comments were: well developed characters, great writing by the author, gripping, and “better than her other series” – although that’s a back handed compliment if I ever saw one….Dave. But Dave did give the book an 8, so I’m going to let him slide.

Jay found the triangle of characters (Mel, Devlin, and Bishop) very interesting. Mel was Kick’s abductor, Bishop was the man who got Kick to help him find the missing boy, and Devlin was Bishop’s elusive employer (whom we never met). Raj and Judy spoke to the psychology of the events in the book. Raj specifically talked about the way that Mel locked the kids up to break their souls and Judy mentioned how Stockholm syndrome is much worse for abducted kids than adults. We get that Kick still “cared” about Mel, we’ve read enough about Stockholm to not be surprised, but it was still hard for us the hear it and to find out that she gave him her kidney. I think we would have cheered if she smothered him in his prison hospital bed instead.

Bishop had ulterior motives and clearly wanted Kick to give Mel her kidney so that he would still be alive to identify the network of child pornographers. Evidence that was destroyed by Kick when she was a child. We loved the reunion between Kick and her “brother” at the end. We didn’t like how poor Monster died. We really liked how at the beginning we thought the story was about a family, until the police came in and you realized that Kick’s “Dad” was really Mel, her abductor. (Ok, I’m pretty sure I’m done with the quotes now, but you have admit, they were necessary.)

Bob brought up a lot of questions and we delved into analyzing what was behind some of the events in the book. We ended up with more questions than answers, but it was very interesting to speculate. We hope and expect that many, if not all, of our questions will be answered in the sequel. Need I point out that many of us can’t wait to read book two? Amazon is showing Kick Back is due out January 12, 2016.

Some of our questions were: Why keep Mel alive, just to uncover the network? What is the relationship between Bishop and Devlin? Who is Devlin? Did Devlin and Bishop know Kick was a kidney match before Bishop approached her?

I asked for a show of hands from anyone who DIDN’T want to slap Kick’s Mom and got very few. So I am calling the slap vote for worst Mom ever.

I listened to the book on audio, so I didn’t have a physical copy to see the cover. I think the one below is a perfect set up to transition into the snack that Ashley brought.


Ashley's Scrabble Cookies


Ashley's Scrabble Cookies

You guessed it, Ashley brought scrabble tile cookies. They were awesome and so creative that she received applause for her efforts. The cookies were not only perfect for the book, but they were tasty and I ate way more than I should have. Thanks Ashley, way to keep the bar high. I heard Janice say she was going to bring a bag of chips next time, just to put the bar back down where it belongs.

Speaking of Janice, she gave the book a 7, which is a respectable score, but made a comment that she wants “a mystery.” The books we’ve chosen for the majority of the year haven’t been real whodunits. Some of them have been whydunits and others were thrillers or suspense novels. There have been mysterious elements, but not a straight out solve the crime from a handful of characters type thing. We still don’t have a book for November, so maybe we can find something along those lines, as I am a big fan of the whodunit as well. I think we may read a Sherlock Holmes for Christmas, but we can decide those things next month.

Next week (August 25) we will be discussing Lee Child's and Reacher’s latest exploits in Personal. I have Denise down to lead AND bring snacks. Denise, please let me know if you can still do both. See you all Monday.

P.S. I leave Thursday for Writer’s Police Academy, so anyone who is on Facebook—or as I like to refer to it: my personal photo album that the whole world can see—watch for fun photos of my weekend.