Barbed Wire Heart

Tess Sharpe. Grand Central, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4409-3
YA author Sharpe (Far from You) makes her adult debut with a high-tension thriller set in northern California. Harley McKenna, only daughter of North County’s widowed drug king Duke McKenna, was brought up hating the Springfields, their competitors in the drug trade on the other side of the river. In order to survive, and to protect the abuse survivors at the women’s safe house she runs with Native American woman Mo, Harley embarks on a clandestine campaign to put the McKennas and the Springfields out of commission. In particular, she blows up meth labs on both sides in the hope that each will blame the other. A smart feminist who’s relentlessly tough and profoundly compassionate, Harley takes advantage of the gender stereotyping that causes men to underestimate her, while protecting those who have been hurt by its effects. Extensive flashbacks from Harley’s youth chart her transformation into a trained killer, giving context to her relationships with Duke’s colleagues and enemies. Harley’s detailed characterization, especially compared to more role-bound descriptions of the supporting characters, makes her easy to root for as she outsmarts everyone. Even though her plan becomes clear to the reader fairly early, seeing her success in executing it is highly satisfying. This is a deeply affecting story about the complex family dynamics of growing up in the midst of a drug-trade blood feud. Agent: Jim McCarthy, Dystel, Goderich, & Bourret Literary Management. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/08/2018
Release date: 03/06/2018
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-9723-9
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5385-3951-4
Paperback - 432 pages - 978-1-5387-4411-6
Compact Disc - 978-1-5491-9720-8
Show other formats
Discover what to read next