Acapulco 1974: Rina Walker is on assignment. Just another quick, clean kill.
She wakes to discover her employer’s severed head on her bedside table, and a man with an AK 47 coming through the door of her hotel room. She needs all her skills to neutralise her attacker and escape. After a car chase, she is captured by a Mexican drug boss who needs her radiant beauty and ruthless expertise to eliminate an inconvenient member of the government.
Notting Hill 1956: Fifteen-year-old Rina is scavenging and stealing to support her siblings and her alcoholic mother. When a local gangster attacks her younger sister, Rina wreaks revenge and kills him. Innocence betrayed, Rina faces the brutality of the post-war London underworld – a world that teaches her the skill to kill…
Harm flicks between past and present so that we get to see Rina as a young adult and how she has become the person she is in the present. You certainly don’t get many strong female protagonists in the line of work that Rina finds herself in so was good to get to know her better in the earlier years.
I have to admit my favourite chapters were the ones set in the 1950’s. Don’t get me wrong, present day, well the 1970’s, were full of action and highly entertaining but Rina’s past really drew me in and helped me understand her so much better. Her home life is dismal to say the least and she has to be carer for her alcoholic mother as well as bringing up her younger brother and sister. They have no money and you wouldn’t think that things could get any worse than what they already were but sadly they do.
With the alternating chapters between past and present, it felt like you were getting two stories for the price of one. All I can say is it felt a bit like Martina Cole meets Rob Sinclair as we have the rawness and grittiness of organised crime in the 1950’s and then in the present day we have the thrills and action of an assassin. Pretty much the best of both worlds.
Harm is a great start to a new series with a stellar female protagonist. The author really drew me into the story with Rina’s past ensuring that I kept turning those pages as I was well and truly invested in her story. A gripping and thrilling read that will have you go through an abundance of emotions.
Harm is available to purchase from Amazon. (Please note that link used is an affiliate link).