At the Sharp End . . .

The World of ZoŽ Sharp − Author of the Charlie Fox Thriller Series

It's always great to have favourable comments from professional reviewers and praise from fellow writers, but I must admit I get a big kick out of it when
readers have enjoyed the book enough to say so in public.

Reviews of DIE EASY: Charlie Fox book ten

ZoŽ Sharp is one of the sharpest, coolest, and most intriguing writers I know. She delivers dramatic, action-packed novels with characters we really care about. And once again, in DIE EASY, ZoŽ Sharp is at the top of her game.
New York Times best-selling author, Harlan Coben
'The author has once again delivered a well-written, taut and suspenseful novel, and it is recommended (as were all the earlier series entries).'
Gloria Feit , New York based doyenne of crime fiction reviewers

'This sixth and newest entry in the series brings back Charlotte ("Charlie") Fox and her lover, Sean Meyer, a junior partner in Armstrong-Meyer, an elite "close-protection" [read "bodyguard"] organization. This time around they are tasked with the safety of one of the men behind a celebrity fundraising event for the still nascent recovery of the city of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina several years ago. But the soiree doesnít go exactly as planned.

'Charlie and Sean are still dealing with events in their past, Charlieís much further back than Seanís: she left the service after a court-martial and then an "equally disastrous" civil trial following her gang rape many years ago. Seanís trauma was much more recent: he had been in a coma for months after a near-fatal shooting while on their last job, leaving him with only scattered memory of the last four years, and now dealing with "the long road back to some kind of physical and mental fitness," the question being whether or not he could still handle the job.

'In addition to the man Charlie and Sean have been hired to protect, nearly all of the other well-heeled attendees at the event have brought their own bodyguards with them, one of these, unfortunately for our protagonists, being Vic Morton, with whom Charlie has a history, and not a good one (gross understatement): he was one of the men who had raped Charlie years ago.

'When a robbery aboard the paddle-wheeler on which the event is taking place escalates into a hostage situation, Charlie and Sean have their hands full, and Seanís abilities are well and truly tested, as are the loyalties of both of them. The author has once again delivered a well-written, taut and suspenseful novel, and it is recommended (as were all the earlier series entries).'

'Sharp delivers another solid entry in a series that consistently delivers a world-weary heroine who can outdo any man who crosses her path.'
Kirkus Reviews, who style themselves 'The World's Toughest Book Critics'

'Sharpís latest entry in her Charlie Fox series has her gritty heroine making a Die Hard-inspired stand in the Big Easy.

'Charlie Fox, a woman in the male-dominated profession of personal protection, has more than the rich man sheís guarding to worry about on this assignment: her former lover, Sean, is back on his feet following a near-fatal shooting and is working for the first time in months. But heís not the same Sean she once knew. In fact, his memory of their former relationship has been wiped clean, and heís keeping Charlie firmly at armís length. When Charlie and Sean sign on to guard Blake Dyer, a millionaire attending a special weekend of fundraising for Katrina victims, they end up with more than they bargained for, including Dyerís refusal to pack it all in and go home following two violent assaults.

'Meanwhile, one of Charlieís old foes turns up in the form of Vic Morton, a fellow bodyguard who trained with her when she was in school back in England. Morton is no friend to Charlie, though, since he was one of the four men whose rape of her led to her dismissal from training. When Morton shows up to guard Blakeís godson and the offspring of another millionaire, Charlie discovers heís filling Seanís head full of lies and now must combat not only her former loverís suspicions that sheís his enemy, but also prove in the process thatís sheís competent to partner with him on assignment.

'That Charlie is tough is never open to question; sometimes Sharp plays her a little too macho to be engaging. But in the end, the movie parallel will strike the right note with fans of nonstop action/adventure, despite the authorís tendency to overexplain the mechanics of the protagonistsí professional choices to readers in it more for the thrill than the education.

'Sharp delivers another solid entry in a series that consistently delivers a world-weary heroine who can outdo any man who crosses her path.'

CrimeSquad Rating:

'An exceptional novel − brilliant . . . delivered with all the style and panache you would expect from Sharp and Fox.'
Graham Smith,

'I first heard about the plot for this book last year when I interviewed ZoŽ Sharp. It is loosely based on the film Die Hard and such was ZoŽís enthusiastic telling of the plot it made me want to watch the film for the ninety-fifth time. Instead of a skyscraper though, the main action takes place on a Mississippi paddle steamer. I counted three direct homageís to the film along with a couple of indirect ones.

'Leaving aside everything Iíve already said DIE EASY is a complex multi-dimensional action thriller which works on more levels than the Empire State Buildingís lift. You have the attention to detail of the bodyguardís role, action sequences worthy of any great thriller, the blast from the past and a modern day romance faltering on rocky shores. Throw in a few red herrings and some double crosses and what you get is an exceptional novel not an ordinary one.

'The effect of Charlie and Seanís failing relationship leeches through into their professional life and the back-story coming back to haunt her gives Charlie a torrid time emotionally while creating a playground for Sharp to manipulate her characters. And what fun she has had in that playground. Charlie and Sean are put further through the wringer with every passing chapter. Baptiste, Autumn, Morton, OíDay and Dyer are all fine additions to the cast and are well drawn but never are they allowed to steal any of Foxís thunder.

'The plot is very intricate for such an action led novel and the different strands all interweave to keep the reader guessing on many different levels.

'To sum up DIE EASY I would have to say that I have waited a year for a great book, only for a brilliant one to be delivered with all the style and panache you would expect from Sharp and Fox. An exceptional novel.'

'. . . Sharp's white-knuckle 10th Charlie Fox thriller . . . convincingly mixes hand-to-hand combat with the ups-and-downs of Charlie's attempts to rebuild her old life with Sean . . .'
Publishers Weekly

'In Sharpís white-knuckle 10th Charlie Fox thriller (after 2012ís Fifth Victim), professional bodyguard Charlie takes on an assignment in post-Katrina New Orleansóthe first job with her lover and partner, Sean Meyer, since he recovered from being shot in the head, though heís forgotten much of their relationship.

'Tasked with protecting wealthy businessman Blake Dyer during the After Katrina Foundation fundraising event, Charlie is grateful for what appears to be a straightforward task. But when a face from her and Seanís military past reappears and thereís a calculated attack on the party, Charlie realizes that there might be more at stake than just the financial well-being of several powerful men.

'In a fitting tribute to Mississippi riverboat culture, the bloody showdown takes place on a revamped paddle wheel boat. Sharp convincingly mixes hand-to-hand combat with the ups and downs of Charlieís attempts to rebuild her old life with Sean, even as that possibility grows dimmer by the day.'

'Sharp's trademark strength is action coupled with spot-on tradecraft, both of which are in ample supply here . . . Fox seems ideal for film adaptation.'
Joe Hartlaub,

'It is hard to get my head around the fact that ZoŽ Sharp has already written 10 Charlie Fox novels. It seems as if KILLER INSTINCT, the first in the series, was first published only a year or two ago. Sharp started off a winner with that initial effort and has never flagged since. Fox, a capable and believable private operative, is reliably and by turns a competent and sympathetic character who, at least to my eyes, seems ideal for film adaptation, but for the fact that any cinematic version of the series would be found wanting in light of the literary.

'The preceding is particularly true of DIE EASY, the best book in the series to date. Here, Fox is at personal and professional loggerheads when she is sent to New Orleans and tasked by her employer, Armstrong-Meyer, with guarding Blake Dyer during a post-Katrina charity fundraiser. The problem is that her boss, Parker Armstrong, has partnered her with Sean Meyer, her former personal and professional partner. Fox does not feel that Meyer, who is on the short end of an extended recovery from a grievous head wound, is fit for duty. There are parts of Meyerís memories and skillsets that are missing. Armstrong feels that the assignment, which is classified as one of minimal risk, will be perfect for breaking Meyer back into active participation with Armstrong-Meyer; Fox, who has watched Meyerís recovery with a soldierís eye, feels that he is more of a liability than an asset in the field.

'Fox is also quietly reeling over the change in her relationship with Meyer. Once her lover, Meyer remembers Fox only as an antagonist. The simple truth is that she can no longer rely upon him to watch her back. At the same time, Foxís remote past comes roaring back at her when she learns upon arriving in New Orleans that another bodyguard at the function is perhaps her greatest nemesis, a shadow of her past who participated in an incident that she is sworn to avenge. It soon becomes clear that what had been considered to be a "minimal risk" assignment is anything but for Dyer and the Armstrong-Meyer operatives.

'When an ingenious robbery transforms itself into a deadly hostage situation, Fox is back to relying upon herself without the comfort of having Meyer by her side and at her back. As multiple agendas collide and allies become adversaries, Fox reaches a crossroad that could be fatal to her in more ways than one. By the end of the book, almost everything changes for Fox yet again, as an important crisis is resolved and she obtains a rough and long-delayed justice.

'Sharp's trademark strength is action coupled with spot-on tradecraft, both of which are in ample supply here. At the same time, Foxís precarious relationship with Meyer provides a dangerous counterbalance to the story, a ticking clock that may or may not wind down in time to put things right. While DIE EASY is complete in itself, its conclusion sets up a situation that has the potential to run through at least a few more installments in the series, and possibly beyond, giving Sharpís fans much to anticipate.'

'Fast-paced and action packed, fascinating characters, complicated relationships . . . Once again, ZoŽ Sharp and Charlie Fox takes us on one thrilling ride − fasten your seat belts, and hold on tight.'
Karen Perkins, Lionheart Galleries

'Die Easy is ZoŽ Sharp's 10th novel about Charlie Fox − a strong, motorbike-riding ex-special forces soldier turned self-defence instructor turned bodyguard. Charlie is the character most strong, independent women long to be: calm in a crisis; skilled in a fight; beautiful; witty; sarcastic; sometimes apparently omniscient . . . Okay maybe I'm laying it on a bit thick, but Charlie Fox is still one of my favourite fictional heroines, and with good reason.

'Die Easy opens with Charlie chained to a briefcase and her boyfriend, Sean Meyer in the middle of a shootout, and thank goodness for that − at the end of Fourth Day Sean had been shot in the head and has been in a coma with no clue as to whether he would live or die. But now that he lives, is it enough? He does not remember Charlie or their relationship as it is now − only as it was in the past; which was very different − and misinformed.

'He is back at work, though, at Armstrong-Meyer, where Sean is a partner, and Charlie has to retrain him, whilst protecting their client Blake Dyer at a benefit in New Orleans to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Katrina. Things don't go well: but Sean is acting more like a squaddie than a bodyguard, Charlie comes face-to-face with one of the men who gang raped her and forced her out of the military and, at the first function she takes down the son of her client's friend, then she, Sean and their client finish the evening in a shootout. The next day things really start to go wrong.

'Fast-paced and action packed with just the right amount of detail, plus fascinating characters with complicated relationships, Die Easy is gritty, hard-hitting, and utterly compelling. Once again, ZoŽ Sharp and Charlie Fox take us on one thrilling ride − fasten your seat belts, and hold on tight.'

'. . . when you find yourself gripping the book tighter as the tension ramps up you know the author has gotten you hooked . . . My rating is 10 out of 10.'
John Sheridan, The Mystery Bookshelf

'One of my reading goals for last year was to read more UK authors and belatedly Iíve picked up one from ZoŽ Sharp which qualifies and more importantly is actually absolutely excellent. Maybe my perspective on it owes more to its setting in post-Katrina New Orleans than its authorís nationality but when you find yourself gripping the book tighter as the tension ramps up you know the author has gotten you hooked (even if doing this on a Kindle doesnít have quite the same effect as with a real paper book!).

'At one point I took a breath and said to myself "this is like Die Hard on a freaking boat!" Remember the first Die Hard film, the best one − the first time you saw it on the big screen. And then while getting ready to write my review I jumped over to the authorís website where she describes this as being her personal version of "Die Hard" − well, Ms. Sharp you nailed it!

'Being the 10th book in a series there is the potential to have to know the charactersí backstory in order to fully appreciate the current work but, while the backstory is alluded to, it is always in just sufficient detail to give you what you need to know in order to move the current story along and never seems to become intrusive.

'Thereís a great opening, dropping the reader straight into a shootout where our heroine is unarmed and vulnerable but given a little misdirection all is not as it first appears. My one minor gripe would be the use of foreshadowing in the text which is a literary device Iím not terribly fond of but even that faded into the background as I became more immersed into the overall pull of the narrative. Aside from that the tension of the book is excellent and the action scenes jump off the page and Charlie Fox as a lead character is certainly appealing while the complications of her relationship with Sean both professional and personal are well laid out.

'My rating is 10 out of 10. The only question is do I start at the beginning or do I work backwards? There are more advantages than usual to working forwards apart from the usual chronology in that there are two ebook collections available. A TRIPLE SHOT of Charlie Fox is a special e-boxed set of the first three novels in the Charlie Fox series − KILLER INSTINCT, RIOT ACT, and HARD KNOCKS. While ANOTHER ROUND of Charlie Fox is a special e-boxed set of the second three novels in the Charlie Fox series − FIRST DROP, ROAD KILL, and SECOND SHOT.'

'ZoŽ Sharp's sizzling thriller series continues to enthrall and captivate'

'In this explosive addition to the Charlie Fox series, ZoŽ Sharp's sizzling thriller series continues to enthrall and captivate. Charlie and Sean were once very much in love, but after Sean suffered from a gun shot wound to the head, years of memories were erased from his mind. This included Sean and Charlie's once close relationship. Although Charlie feels Sean is still not fit to jump back into his former profession as a body guard, Sean, a trained killer, is eager to get back into the game. When multimillionaire, Blake Dyer, is in desperate need for protection, he need look no further than Armstrong-Meyer's most reputable body guards, Charlie and Sean.

'Armstrong-Meyer's powerhouse duo is ready to keep Blake Dyer from harm, but Charlie soon realizes that the millionaire's secrets could compromise Sean and Charlie's plan to keep their client alive. Set in the aftermath of Katrina in devastated New Orleans, Charlie proves she can not only keep her client from an early grave, but she can only face some of the darkest moments from her past, which have come back to haunt her. Although Charlie attempts to reach out to Sean, in his eyes, Charlie and him have never had a past. Charlie must ignore the heartache of losing Sean in order keep her client in one piece.

'I loved how ZoŽ Sharp set up this addictive page-turner. Sharp cleverly captivates readers with one brush with death after another. As Sharp develops her characters, readers begin to feel Charlie and Sean's paranoia, as they realize almost anyone could be the culprit responsible for the attempts on Dyer's life. ZoŽ Sharp's cliff hanger moments will leave readers paralyzed with anticipation. DIE EASY not only delivers breath-taking adventures, but also entertains.

'Charlie Fox is a dangerous woman to cross, and she doesn't even need a weapon to cause some serious damage to a man!'