cover image All Things Violent

All Things Violent

Nikki Dolson. 280 Steps, $15.95 trade paper (196p) ISBN 978-82-8355-024-5

Laura Park, the narrator of Dolson’s dark first novel, meets her future boss, Simon Pritchard of Pritchard Investigations, over a dead body one night on a road outside Las Vegas, Nev. The body belongs to thug Jimmy MacAvoy. Laura has just stabbed Jimmy in the chest multiple times because he was responsible for the death of her best friend, Fiona, who overdosed on drugs. Laura suggests Simon call the cops, but instead he takes her under his wing and makes her part of his team of assassins—and his girlfriend. Brutal Frank Joyce trains Laura to become a professional killer. Even after Simon dumps her for the more upscale Marjorie Adams, Laura continues as both his employee and occasional lover. Simon, Frank, and her assignments test Laura to the utmost. Anyone can become a target, loyalties can shift in a blink, and when everyone is homicidal, people are going to die, possibly even Laura. Dolson’s wicked if somewhat contrived thriller lives up to its ominous title. (May)