Jamie Sinclair’s father has never asked her for a favor in her life. The former two-star general turned senator is more in the habit of giving his only child orders. So when he requests Jamie’s expertise as a security specialist, she can’t refuse—even though it means slamming the brakes on her burgeoning relationship with military police officer Adam Barrett. Just like that, Jamie hops aboard a flight to London with a U.S. State Department courier carrying a diplomatic pouch in an iron grip.
Jamie doesn’t have to wait long to put her unique skills to good use. When she and the courier are jumped by goons outside the Heathrow terminal, Jamie fights them off—but the incident puts her on high alert. Someone’s willing to kill for the contents of the bag. Then a would-be assassin opens fire in crowded Covent Garden, and Jamie is stunned to spot a familiar face: Adam Barrett, who saves her life with a single shot and calmly slips away. Jamie’s head—and her heart—tell her that something is very wrong. But she’s come way too far to turn back now.
In the second Jamie Sinclair novel, The Kill Shot, the reader is reunited with Jamie and Barrett, but interestingly, The Kill Shot is not a straight up crime thriller. In fact, to me Nichole Christoff’s sophomore outing read more like a spy novel. I was surprised by this shift in flavour to the narrative, though the general style of the book is very much the same as its predecessor. Jamie remains a kick-ass heroine and I really enjoyed reading about her next adventure.
After The Kill List, I was looking forward to learning more about certain secondary characters from the previous novel, such as Jamie’s assistant Matty. Unfortunately, other than Barrett and Senator Sinclair the secondary characters from the previous book were largely missing from The Kill Shot. Instead, Jamie is enlisted by her father and sent on a mission to London, where we get to meet an entire new set of characters. My favourite of these was Ikaat Oujdad, a young woman from an unnamed Middle Eastern country, who Jamie is supposed to help defect to the West with her father. I loved her spirit and her dreams; her joy at being able to do what she longs to do in peace and in the open, without fear of reprisal due to her gender, was lovely and was transmitted on the page very well.
Ikaat’s father Armand, was interesting too, but more in his role as Ikaat’s father and as a figure who reinforces how people will do anything for those they love most, than in and of himself. That sense that people will do anything for those they hold most dear, be they a child, parent, spouse, potential partner, or friend, is I think the major theme of this book. It invades all the story lines and character arcs, from Armand and Ikaat, to Jamie accepting her mission for her father’s sake, on to Barrett, and the other two new characters, the State Department Courier Katie DeMarco and British Foreign Office official Philip Spencer-Dean.
While I enjoyed Katie as a character – she had a great connection with Jamie – at the same time I found her storyline the weakest, as it felt somewhat predictable. On the other hand, Philip’s arc didn’t feel predictable at all, if you leave out the inevitable triangle with Jamie and Barrett. Philip is the suave, British gentleman, almost Bond-esque in ways and he’s the one that could have been the one in Jamie’s past. The one who’s such a close friend that the risk of moving them out of the friend zone and having it fail is too painful to contemplate. While I liked the dynamics and chemistry between Jamie and Philip, I never felt as if it might truly happen, because as a reader I was already too heavily invested in Jamie/Barrett (should we call them Jarrett, is this a thing?) and additionally, I found Philip’s behaviour towards Jamie almost bordering on the creepy, as he essentially doesn’t take no for an answer and keeps pushing the issue. And while there were some testosterone displays between the two men, Barrett seems far more respectful of Jamie’s capabilities and letting her decide for herself.
If doing anything for those you love is a major theme in The Kill List, then Jamie’s arc is a direct outflow from this. The only reason she takes on this mission is to gain her father’s approval and it’s his silence she feels most when in London. Yet while we learn more about the why of Jamie’s daddy issues, we also get to see a softer side to Senator Sinclair, one that shows that the martinet has a softer heart than previously publicised. I also liked the other aspects of Jamie’s character development, mostly focusing on her inability to fully trust anyone with her feelings, including herself and her fear of becoming involved with anyone to the point that they might hurt her. But she acknowledges to herself at least that one day she might want just such an attachment and she realises she’ll need to grow to be able to do that, which I found interesting to see.
In a way, The Kill Shot is typical for an on-going crime series, it’s not so much about the cases as it is about the characters and in my opinion, Nichole Christoff writes her characters very well. I couldn’t help but root for Jamie and Barrett, but I found myself caring about Katie and Ikaat as well. There is still much for Jamie to do and learn in her road to a happy ending, with or without Barrett, and I for one look forward to reading her journey and whatever scrapes and adventures she’ll get into along the way.
A Fantastical Librarian is just one of the stops on this blog tour. Please visit the other stops for different views on the book, author guest posts and giveaways.
Wednesday, March 11th: Book Nerd
Thursday, March 12th: FictionZeal
Monday, March 16th: Reading to Distraction
Wednesday, March 18th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, March 19th: Kahakai Kitchen
Thursday, March 19th: Annabel and Alice
Thursday, March 19th: A Fantastical Librarian
Friday, March 20th: Bell, Book & Candle
Monday, March 23rd: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, March 24th: Back Porchervations
Tuesday, March 24th: Kritter’s Ramblings
Wednesday, March 25th: Brooke Blogs
Wednesday, March 25th: Queen of All She Reads
Thursday, March 26th: Joyfully Retired
Monday, March 30th: Vic’s Media Room
Tuesday, March 31st: Booked on a Feeling
Wednesday, April 1st: Omnimystery News – author guest post
Friday, April 3rd: Reading Reality