Book Review: One Kick

18774963Kick Lannigan, 21, is a survivor. Abducted at age six in broad daylight, the police, the public, perhaps even her family assumed the worst had occurred. And then Kathleen Lannigan was found, alive, six years later. In the early months following her freedom, as Kick struggled with PTSD, her parents put her through a litany of therapies, but nothing helped until the detective who rescued her suggested Kick learn to fight. Before she was thirteen, Kick learned marksmanship, martial arts, boxing, archery, and knife throwing. She excelled at every one, vowing she would never be victimized again. But when two children in the Portland area go missing in the same month, Kick goes into a tailspin. Then an enigmatic man Bishop approaches her with a proposition: he is convinced Kick’s experiences and expertise can be used to help rescue the abductees. Little does Kick know the case will lead directly into her terrifying past…


ashley | One Kick is my first Chelsea Cain book, but apparently she has a strong and passionate following. There are a ton of testimonials on the arc copy I received and this series is already being turned into a tv series. That’s a lot of buzz for a book that came out of nowhere for me. The buzz seems worthy, however.

Cain has created one badass heroine with Kick Lannigan, someone reminiscent of Lisbeth Sander or a character from a Gillian Flynn novel. Someone strong and independent, but also incredibly vulnerable and broken. After surviving a childhood kidnapping, Kick is determined never to be a victim again by learning every form of self defense, perfecting every weapon and keeping herself constantly on alert for the next person who will do her wrong. The push and pull of trust and suspicion with every person Kick meets creates an incredibly interesting and complex character who kept me on my toes. Sometimes I hated her, sometimes I loved her, but I was drawn to her through the whole book and couldn’t put it down.

There’s a very strong brother and sister bond in this, between Kick and James, a bond I haven’t had the pleasure of reading about much. As a sister who is incredibly close to her brother, this resonated strongly with me. Both Kick and James have their issues and flaws but they also have each other’s backs and I found a real familiar comfort in that. In fact, I felt a little homesick for my bro.

This is your typical dramatic crime novel: interesting character hunts down horrible character, with a bunch of bumps and twists along the way, but I really did enjoy it. It kept me turning pages, anxious to see exactly how it was all going to come together. And Cain created some really intriguing relationships between the characters. I especially like the dynamic between Kick and Bishop, the mysterious former weapons dealer who pulls her into this whole chase to begin with.

And of course, since this is a series, we’re left with a bit of a cliff hanger at the end. But I like how it’s done, this story itself was kind of wrapped up, but the lingering pieces that remain are still interesting enough to make you want to read the next installment. It was a good way of keeping us coming back for more without keeping the story too open ended.

I’ve read that this book is a PG-13 version of what Cain usually writes, that the graphic details are toned down a bit and it’s not as gruesome, which is true, there isn’t anything too gruesome but the content itself is enough to make your skin crawl. And if my skin is crawling this much in the lightweight version, I can’t wait to pick up one of Cain’s other novels.

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