Thursday, January 17, 2013

Bookish Thoughts: Evil Without a Face by Jordan Dane

Evil Without a Face by Jordan Dane (Narrated by Xe Sands)
Harper Collins, Unabridged, 2011
Crime Fiction; 11 hrs, 42 min

Nikki Archer is your typical teenager.  Her mother doesn't understand her and she feels trapped inside her own home.  She's tried running away once before--and the price she paid was her mother tightening the reins.  Nikki thinks she's finally found a way.  She is leaving home for good this time, meeting a friend she met on the internet, someone who understands her.  Only, what she finds on the other side is no friend at all.

Jessica Beckett is a bounty hunter with a personal vendetta.  She is haunted by her past, constantly battling old demons and trying to prove herself.  She is good at her job, only sometimes gets side tracked, especially when it comes to the likes of Lucas Baker. He doesn't have a bounty on his head, but Jess will risk it all to bring the man down.  With the help of her new assistant, Seth Harper, computer whiz extraordinaire, and her long time friend and Chicago vice detective Samantha Cooper, she is sure she can.

Former NFL quarterback Payton Archer will do anything to find his niece, Nikki, and bring her home safely.  Along with his friend, Joe, Payton follows the trail from Alaska to Chicago, where they cross paths with Sam and Jess, eventually teaming up to search for Nikki, who they know is in mortal danger.

Jordan Dane wastes no time jumping into the story, putting me on the edge of my seat right from the start.  Evil Without a Face is an intense book and rarely lets up as the story unfolds.  I liked Jess right away.  She's got an edge to her.  She is smart and resourceful, but often gets so focused on going after what she wants that she doesn't think of the impact it will have on others until it is too late.  It's as if she has something to prove--to herself or to the world, maybe both. Throughout the novel, the reader is given glimpses into Jess's past.  She obviously was abused, taken from her mother at an early age.  She has the scars to prove it.  Jess grew up in the foster care system.  And she wants nothing more than to take down people like those who hurt her.  Jessica grows a lot in the course of the book, coming to terms with her past and learning to trust--and love.

My heart ached for Nikki throughout the story.  Imagine being in her situation: scared and alone, surrounded by people who mean you harm.  It was difficult listening to the graphic scenes in the book of what that poor girl had to endure--both she and Jess.  No one should have to suffer through anything like that.  Ever.

I wish I knew more about Payton.  An alcoholic at the start of the book, he has his own set of demons chasing him.  And while we get to see Jessica grow as a character, the change in Payton seemed to happen over night.  But then, maybe a big shock like having your niece disappear and her life being in danger will do that to a person.  He had no choice really but pull himself together if there was any chance of finding her at all.  He just seemed a little too perfect at times, though.

There is a quite a bit of lead up to Jessica and Payton meeting, but it is set up that is needed.  I got good feel for the characters and their plight as well as a picture of what they were facing.  The book has plenty of action for those who like action packed thrillers.  There was one aspect of the story I found myself questioning (trying to avoid big spoilers, I won't say exactly what), but, setting aside reality, I got past it pretty quickly.  I wanted to believe it for the sake of the book.

I listened to the audio version of the book, which was narrated by Xe Sands.  I confess I chose this book because of the narrator, having "met" Xe Sands on Twitter this past year.  I looked up a list of the books she narrated and came across this one.  It sounded like something I'd like, and so I gave it a try.  I don't know why I do this to myself.  What if I hated the narration?  Fortunately, I didn't.  I thought Xe Sands did a good job reading Evil Without a Face.  The novel is told in third person, but jumps from viewpoint to viewpoint, giving the reader a fuller idea of what is taking place with the various characters.

I count an audio book a success when I forget I'm listening to a book, but rather find myself lost in the story, as if it is going on around me.  Much like the feeling I get when reading a book.  Sands brought Jess and Nikki to life for me.  I was comforted by Payton's voice and dreaded hearing the cold voice of the Russian villain.  It's a credit to both the author and narrator that I sneaked in listening moments, even when I really had so few to spare.  I had to know what would happen next.  Lives were on the line.   

Human trafficking is a growing problem around the world, including in the United States.  It is a modern day form of slavery that comes in many forms and affects people of all ages, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, and income levels.  For many people, I imagine it is something you hear about in the movies or see on television.  You don't think of it as touching your personal lives.  Yet for many others it is their living nightmare.  I hear the horror stories every day in one form or another.  It is a real problem.  A very serious one (and one I am very passionate about if you haven't noticed). The criminals behind human trafficking have become even more sophisticated and savvy than they once were.  They prey on the young and the vulnerable. They are in our malls, in our schools, and on our streets.  They are on the internet.  Evil Without a Face is only fiction, but for some, it is an all too real, a reality whose web we don't want our children--or anyone's for that matter--to be caught in.  For more information about human trafficking, visit the Polaris Project website.

Evil Without a Face is the first in the Sweet Justice series, a series I will definitely be following up on.


Rating: * (Good +)

You can learn more about Jordan Dane and her books on the author's website

Source: I purchased an audio copy of the book for my reading pleasure.



© 2013, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

20 comments:

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    1. It was! I can't read to read the other books. I believe they focus on other characters from this book, which I'm excited about.

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  2. It's an important topic and it sounds like a great book and series!

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    1. Marie - I am glad the author took on the topic. It's a huge problem that too many people associate with other countries when really its is a continually growing problem in the U.S.

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  3. So glad you gave this one a try and enjoyed it! Although "enjoy" might not be the right word, considering the intensity of the subject matter and listen. This was a very difficult book to narrate because of the subject matter, on many levels, and I'm heartened that it brought home both the emotional intent and a larger awareness of human trafficking.

    Thanks so much for listening!

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    1. Xe - I am glad I listened to this one too. You did such a wonderful job narrating.

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  4. I also have a huge hate for human trafficking, and would love to listen to this story and hear what is done with the material. it does sound like a rather suspenseful read, and one that takes the reader right into the heart of the danger, so I will be looking for it. Incredibly well written and thoughtful review today. I enjoyed it immensely.

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    1. Heather - Thank you! I feel the same about human trafficking. It is heartbreaking the lives it has destroyed. I am glad to see stricter laws are being put into place to fight against it and try to help the victims.

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  5. I'm glad that the narrator was a good one!! We do tend to set ourselves up often though don't we?? Human trafficking is a serious issue and I don't know how they will ever get a handle on it. I read Sold by Patricia McCormack (YA book) and it really struck a nerve with me. This problem is world-wide and scary!!

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    1. Staci - I wonder that too, Staci. The problem seems so big and downright too scary. I am not familiar with Sold. I will have to look for that one.

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  6. Wow, this sounds like both a suspenseful and intense read! Great review, Wendy!

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    1. Melody - It was! I hope you get a chance to read it, Melody. I think you'd like this one.

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  7. This sounds like a terrific thriller -- I'll add it to my ever-burgeoning TBR list. I'm off to check out the Polaris Project site.

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    1. Steph - It was definitely intense! I hope you like it if you read it.

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  8. I'll have to add it to my Audible wish list. Thanks for the heads up.

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  9. This sounds like a really great read! I instantly had to go and make sure that this one was on my TBR list :) It was! So now I just need to find the time to read it.

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    1. Samantha - I am glad I listened to it. I hope you like it as much as I did when you get to it!

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  10. The scary thing about this one as you rightly point out, is how true it could be! Sounds like an interesting read and one to add to my list of audio for my commute to work hours.

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    1. Kathleen - It is scary and I only hope that the good guys come out on top like they so often do in novels.

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