Saturday, September 5, 2015

What we're reading: New Thriller

Picture Olivia Pope from the ABC TV show Scandal. Say that she doesn't have evil parents, and she's not a little too close to the President of the United States, but she does have a younger sister, and she does possess all of Olivia's other qualities: She's a wily attorney with powerful friends in Washington, she operates behind the scenes and below the radar as a "fixer" for those friends, and she doesn't hesitate to break the law if necessary. Her name is Ivy Kendrick.

Now picture that you are her sister. Your name is Tess, and you have been uprooted from the family farm, where you were desperately holding things together for you and your grandfather, who is disappearing into the fog of Alzheimer's, and brought to Washington to live with this fixer, who is also your long-absent and somewhat resented older sister. You have been plunked down in a private school with the daughter of the Vice President and the grandson of a Supreme Court Justice, to name-drop a just a couple of your new classmates. Because of your access to these fellow students and to your sister, you accidentally find out something big that implicates a bunch of Washington movers and shakers in a murderous conspiracy.

That's the premise of The Fixer, the new book by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of the popular The Naturals series, which all of us in 8+9 Book Club enjoyed last year. Unlike that series, the characters in this one don't have any "special" talents, except for being intuitive, forthright, and tough. That's enough though, because these are some great characters. I really enjoyed every bit of this book. The story is intriguing, with some nice twists and surprises; the characters are three-dimensional and the world of Washington politicos is nicely delineated; and Tess, the protagonist, is everything you'd want in a stubborn teenager who has just discovered the extent of her own inner fortitude.

This is the first of a series, but be reassured that it's not one of those that ends a book on a cliffhanger. Most of the main issues in this book do get resolved--at least enough to be satisfying--but with a single thread left dangling to pull you into the next one. I can hardly wait.

Editor's note: I finished this book just as teen reviewer Patrick was starting to read it, so in another week or so, we'll see what he has to say about it! He has promised a review.

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