Fifth Victim by Zoë Sharp

Fifth Victim by Zoë SharpThe only thing more terrifying than fighting for your life is fighting for someone else’s. – Charlie Fox

Even though she’s extremely good at it, close-protection specialist (that’s bodyguard to you and me) and ex-special forces soldier Charlie Fox nevertheless has a bit more fighting experience than she’d prefer. This is especially true following the disastrous results of her last job, in Barry Award finalist for Best British crime novel Fourth Day, the repercussions from which she is still sorting through.

There’s no rest for the highly skilled and in-demand, however, and Fifth Victim once again finds Charlie in the thick of things on assignment. At least this time the surroundings are a little nicer, as Charlie is hired by wealthy investment banker Caroline Willner to guard her twenty-year-old daughter, Dina.

Seems there have been three kidnappings amongst the über-rich Long Island crowd, and even though each victim was returned when their families paid the ransom the kidnappings have become increasingly violent with each subsequent event.

Keeping a headstrong twenty-year-old safe would be a challenge under any circumstances, but it borders on an outright nightmare when that twenty-year-old runs with a crowd that has access to fast cars, limousines, fancy yachts, Lear jets, thoroughbred horses and pretty much anything else their hearts desire… and they’re used to getting their way. And far from being scared at the prospect of being kidnapped, Dina and her friends, including the three who were already taken, seem to actually be getting a perverse thrill out of the events, a development which both bothers Charlie and sets her radar on high alert. What exactly is going on in The Hamptons?

Author Zoë Sharp has never had a problem tossing Charlie off the deep end into action, and Fifth Victim is no different. Kidnappings – both successful and not – car chases, hand-to-hand combat, a motorcycle wreck, double-crosses, bribes, murder, and gunplay all make appearances before all’s said and done. What’s always set Charlie apart from the typical action/thriller protagonist, however, is the depth of her self-reflection; Sharp has not merely created a female Rambo, but has shown Charlie to be a truly complex person who has not only been shaped by the events of her past, but who continues to evolve in response to the circumstances life throws at her, and does so with both biting humor as well as grace… and often under fire.

Very reader friendly, Sharp writes the series in such a manner that the plot of each book is self-contained and each can be read as a standalone, but at the same time there is an undeniable – and very satisfying – overall arc to Charlie’s personal development that runs through the books for those who do read them in order. So whether you want to jump in with the most recent release or go back and start at the beginning, I highly encourage you to get acquainted with Charlie Fox. She may have a bit of hard bark on the outside, and she’s earned it, but once you get to know her you’ll understand why those of us who love the series are such relentless champions of both Charlie and her creator.

Fifth Victim is available from Pegasus (ISBN: 978-1605982762).

Also be sure to read Zoë ‘s guest post, Meet Charlie Fox, which gives a great overview of the series to date.

Zoë Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire but spent her formative years living aboard a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. She opted out of formal education at the age of twelve and wrote her first novel at fifteen. She started writing her crime thriller series featuring her no-nonsense ex-Special Forces turned bodyguard heroine, Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox, after receiving death-threats in the course of her work as a freelance photojournalist. Zoë lives in the English Lake District where she and her husband Andy, who is a non-fiction writer, have self-built their own house. To learn more about Zoë, visit her website. You can also catch up with Zoe on Facebook, Twitter, and at Murderati, where she is one of the weekly bloggers.

– “The Victim Won’t Be Me” by Beth Rudetsky –


  • Zoë Sharp

    March 8, 2012 - 6:26 AM

    Thank you so much for the wonderful review, Elizabeth 🙂

  • Jenny Milchman

    March 7, 2012 - 9:43 PM

    I love a female protagonist who can fight! I’m very glad to be introduced to Zoe Sharp’s work–thanks for the review.

    • Zoë Sharp

      March 8, 2012 - 6:24 AM

      Thanks, Jenny. I studied a lot of self-defence, so all the moves Charlie makes are credible … I hope 🙂

  • Shannon

    March 7, 2012 - 4:48 PM

    Yeah, I’ll definitely be diving into this series! Charlie sounds like my kind of gal.

    • Zoë Sharp

      March 8, 2012 - 6:25 AM

      Thanks, Shannon. Hope you enjoy the books!

  • sabrina ogden

    March 7, 2012 - 1:14 PM

    I love this cover! And the story sounds amazing. I’m really, really looking forward to starting this series =)

    Excellent review, Elizabeth.

    • Elizabeth A. White

      March 7, 2012 - 2:13 PM

      The cover is phenomenal, innit? Fitting given what’s between the covers. 😉

      • Zoë Sharp

        March 8, 2012 - 6:26 AM

        I have to admit this is one of my favourite cover designs. Pegasus are really going for a different look to previous publishers.