cover image Seven Crows

Seven Crows

Kate Kessler. Red Hook, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-45425-4

Pacing and character development receive short shrift in this visceral tale of revenge from Kessler (the Audrey Harte series). When members of the Sons of Bitches, a Connecticut biker gang, kidnap and rape ex-con Killian Delaney’s 15-year-old niece, Shannon, and Shannon’s best friend, Madallya, Killian realizes that actions from her dark past are to blame. In her quest to save the girls, Killian, who has impressive fighting skills, reconnects with allies like Dash Clark, an ex-member of the Crows gang who customizes muscle cars for celebrities. Killian’s emotional wounds reopen when Dash admits that he loves her. The action builds to a grisly showdown with Rank Cirello, the leader of the SOBs. The final chapter sets up a possible series featuring Killian, Dash, and their motley crew, though interest depends on the reader’s tolerance for descriptions of bone-breaking fights and the aftermath of gang rape. Kessler works hard to build sympathy for her raging antiheroine, but her one-note character is no Lisbeth Salander. [em]Agent: Deidre Knight, The Knight Agency. (Oct.) [/em]