At the Sharp End . . .

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

Reviews of FOX HUNTER: Charlie Fox book twelve

'The relationships between characters are as intriguing as the action scenes are realistic … Fox Hunter is a consummate thriller, with believable action and finely-honed dialogue.'
Sparkling review by Linda Wilson for

'The phrase "strong female character(s)" crops up a lot in reviews of crime and thriller titles and this is still seen as sufficiently uncommon to be worth commenting on when an author gets it right. And sadly, there are too many times when authors donít. But thereís no danger of ZoŽ Sharp falling short. Her main character, Charlie Fox, can out-fight, out-shoot and generally run rings around any man unfortunate enough to get in her way. Thereís only one man that she canít guarantee taking out in a fight and thatís her former lover and ex-boss, Sean Meyer.

'Charlie and Sean, both ex-military, have been working in America in the close personal protection business with Parker Armstongís agency in New York. But Sean is missing, and Parker has good reason to believe that heís embarked on a murderous campaign against three of the four men responsible for ending Charlieís army career. The only reason heís not gunning for the fourth is that heís already dead. Parker is more worried about the damage this might do to the agencyís reputation than he is about his business partner and he instructs Charlie to find Sean and stop him Ė by any means necessary.

'The hunt for Sean takes Charlie into the badlands of Iraq, still dangerously unstable and hostile. To make matters worse, Charlie is still injured from a previous mission and it soon becomes clear that Sean doesnít want to be found and that there are others who want her out of action and out of the Middle East, leaving in a box, if necessary. Charlie doesnít take too kindly to being told what to do and, working with personal protection specialist Luisa Dawson, is determined to pick up what little trail Sean has left behind and find out if he really has gone rogue or whether there is something else behind the torture and murder of Michael Clay, one of the four men who raped Charlie when she was undergoing training having passed Special Forces Selection.

'An outing with the redoubtable Charlie is always a hair-raising ride and Fox Hunter is no exception, but what sets this book aside from the others is that here Charlieís backstory, which has shaped much of what we learn of her character, is very much to the forefront as she has to confront not only her internal demons but also the men who were responsible for stripping her of the life she might have had if sheíd been able to complete her training. This look behind the veil that Charlie has always drawn over the attack on her is both raw and painful and at times uncomfortable, and thatís only as it should be, given the circumstances of the attack on Charlie and its aftermath.

'The relationships between the characters are as intriguing as the action scenes are realistic. Charlie still has feelings for Sean, but following a catastrophic head injury, Sean is a very different man, and appears to find it hard to control the violent instincts that have served him so well in the past. Parker Armstrong would like to be in a relationship with Charlie, but she doesnít want any additional complications in her life.

'Fox Hunter is a consummate thriller, with believable action and finely-honed dialogue. ZoŽ Sharpís characters immediately come alive, from young Moe, the bright, ever-cheerful guide who does his best to take Charlie where she wants to go, to Najida, a Muslim woman who was cast out and nearly killed by her own family for bringing disgrace on them by being the victim of a vicious rape. Sharp pulls no punches when telling Najidaís story and propels the horrors caused by such uncompromising fundamentalist beliefs firmly into the spotlight.

'There are wheels within wheels when it comes to the satisfyingly twisty plot, and the book builds to a tense climax in a castle deep in the freezing forests of Bulgaria. ZoŽ Sharpís action scenes remind me of the incomparable and ever-inventive Peter OíDonnell and his two protagonists, Modesty Blaise and Willie Garvin. Charlie and Modesty have a lot in common, and thatís probably the highest praise I can bestow on any character!'

''Fox Hunter' has been a long time coming and Sharp has made damned sure her fans aren't disappointed. If you like a kick-ass heroine with more demons than Lucifer himself, this is the book for you.'
5-star review by Graham Smith at

'Regular visitors to Crimesquad will know of my love for Zoe Sharp's writing and are probably expecting another rave review. Well, they're not wrong. 'Fox Hunter' has been a long time coming and Sharp has made damned sure her fans aren't disappointed.

'The plotting is as sumptuous as ever and in this novel Sharp excels herself with a fast-paced thriller which drags the reader along like a spell-bound prisoner.

'Where the novel really shines is in its characterisation. Charlie Fox is as mean and moody as ever, but there are chinks of compassion from her as Sharp puts Fox through every emotional wringer possible. The support characters are all well drawn and play their parts admirably, but none of them are allowed to steal Fox's thunder.

'In what I'm sure will be viewed as a transitional novel, Sharp leaves no box unticked and sets the scene for future character development. If you like a kick-ass heroine with more demons than Lucifer himself, this is the book for you.'

'Charlie Fox is an unforgettable protagonist… the grit and glamour of a big screen action thriller… thoughtful, poignant storyline that looks at revenge, justice and redemption. I thoroughly recommend.'
Review by Karen Cole in her blog Hair Past A Freckle

'Fox Hunter is the twelfth book in ZoŽ Sharp's series about Charlie Fox, it's also the first I've read but luckily can be read as a standalone.

'It's been a little while since I've read an action thriller but what a way to return to the genre! I was gripped by Fox Hunter from the very start. I must admit I was at a slight disadvantage not having read the earlier books but ZoŽ Sharp cleverly brings new readers up to speed organically through her plot building without having to constantly rehash the previous stories for long term fans. In this book Charlie is sent to Iraq to track down her former lover, Sean. He's not the man she used to know following his almost fatal shooting in a previous book - but has he really become a twisted killer?

'I'm a huge fan of the television series, Homeland and Fox Hunter has some of the same elements of that show; high octane action, uncompromising violence, dangerous locations and the feeling that you never really know who you can trust. Charlie's mission takes her from one seemingly impossible situation to another, she seems to be in almost constant danger in this blisteringly fast paced thriller.

'The pulse racing tension never comes at the expense of characterisation however. Charlie Fox is an unforgettable protagonist. She is highly capable, an efficient killer with a sharp mind. Her back story means she is also a very real character and relatable even though not many of us are ever going to have to face the extreme situations she finds herself in. Her instinctive ability to take a life isn't something she takes for granted, she's a survivor but killing another human - even one who was trying to kill her - affects her deeply. In Fox Hunter she learns more about her past, the shocking truth is handled with a searing honesty and never feels gratuitous.

'It's not just Charlie though, I absolutely loved all the strong female characters in this book, Luisa Dawson, Aubrey Hamilton and Madeleine. It's so refreshing to read an action thriller where the women take centre stage and aren't love interests, secretaries or sidekicks. They are all complex, interesting and believable women, their relationships with one another may sometimes be more than a little fraught and though the respect between them may be grudging at times, it's earned as they learn what they are each capable of.

'Fox Hunter has the grit and glamour of a big screen action thriller, with its global locations and international cast of antagonists; it also has a thoughtful, poignant storyline that looks at revenge, justice and redemption, and examines the process of trying to move beyond horrific events that threaten to define not just the past but the present and future too. I really enjoyed this book, the gripping action, detailed and nuanced characterisation and fascinating narrative make this a superlative thriller and one I thoroughly recommend.'

'A real corker of a tale for long-term fans and new readers alike… action-packed, adrenalin-filled but with plenty of depth and thoughtulness… A very good read.'
Review by New Zealand blogger Craig Sisterson in Crime Watch

'From the searing heat of the Iraqi desert to the snow-capped mountains of Eastern Europe, ZoŽ Sharp takes readers on a helter-skelter, action-packed ride with this latest instalment in her exciting series featuring Charlie Fox. It's been four years since the last Charlie Fox adventure, but Sharp brings her back with a vengeance, delivering a real corker of a tale for long-time fans and new readers alike.

'FOX HUNTER is the twelfth book in Sharp's long-running series, which began back in 2001, and manages to be a great standalone read as well as progressing various character arcs from throughout the previous books. The spectre of Charlie's ignominious exit from the British Army has hung over her journey as a close-protection specialist, and really comes to the forefront in FOX HUNTER as she's forced to confront her ugly and traumatic past. Face to face, in some cases, at last.

'There's a heck of a lot to like about FOX HUNTER. There's action aplenty, and a great sense of place. I could feel the heat shimmering off the pages when Charlie was roaring around Kuwait and Iraq, trying to track down her mentor and former lover Sean Meyer, while dealing with betrayals, ambushes, and various groups scrabbling to gain any advantage in the ongoing war zone.

'Charlie Fox is a terrific character; strong, capable, principled, with an ugly past that damaged her before she healed herself. She's often been compared to Jack Reacher by reviewers, and Lee Child himself has even said 'if Jack Reacher was a woman, he'd be Charlie Fox'. I'd certainly recommend the series, and this book, to fans of Reacher who are looking for 'similar but different' books to enjoy, but I do think it's doing Charlie Fox a little bit of a disservice to just think of her as a female spin on Reacher. She is her own woman, a unique and intriguing character on many levels.

'Just how healed Charlie Fox may or may not be is put to the acid test in FOX HUNTER, as she's forced to confront the events of the past, and the men who were in control of those events. And her.

'There's a great sense of adventure in this book, it's a kind of rollicking chase story that reminds me a little of a James Bond movie or those classic 1960s-1970s British adventure-thrillers, just with a modern feel and spin. Charlie Fox goes careening around Iraq and Kuwait, then further afield, in her hunt for both Sean Meyer, and whatever and whoever Sean may be hunting himself. But does she really know what is going on? Just how much did that head wound change Meyer's personality?

'Action-packed, adrenalin-filled, but with plenty of depth and thoughtfulness in among the explosions, gun battles, and hand-to-hand combat too. A very good read.'

'ZoŽ Sharp writes some of the best—if not the best—thrillers currently produced. This book is truly a remarkable accomplishment… Do not miss this outstanding series.'
Review by Ted Hertel (Rating 'A')

'Years ago, Charlotte "Charlie" Fox was forced to leave army Special Forces training under horrific circumstances, as a result of brutal actions against her by men in her unit. She has tried to put that in the past but that proves impossible when one of those men is horribly butchered in Iraq. Worse for her, the man suspected of the killing is her boss and former lover Sean Meyer. Is this Sean's revenge for what was done to Charlie years earlier? So when Sean's business partner sends her to Iraq to find and stop Meyer, Charlie discovers that she may not have really known Sean at all.

'ZoŽ Sharp writes some of the best—if not the best—thrillers currently produced. So many of today's thrillers are overwritten, bloated novels of megalomaniacs out to conquer the world. A little of that goes a long way. In other words, those sorts of books get boring really fast. Instead, Charlie Fox's stories are much more personal, set in the midst of real world situations. Fox is one person out to protect one other person from death. It is much easier to identify with that one-on-one relationship than to relate to a world-wide threat that only some superpowered team can handle. Sharp writes convincingly of strong women in a male-dominated environment, women who are treated differently for no reason other than their gender.

'This novel finally reveals in detail what happened to Charlie Fox in the military, things only hinted at in the previous eleven books in the series. Telling the story now is particularly well-timed, in light of hazing incidents in the military that are coming to light. Further, it uses the "ripped-from-the-headlines" approach of the Middle East setting and the world of the private military contractors. In doing so it steers away from the type of close protection work that Fox has been doing in prior books, such as the outstanding Fifth Victim. But the object is the same: protect and save.

'Charlie finds that in trying to save Sean, if indeed he can be saved, she is also saving herself. This book is truly a remarkable accomplishment, not only for Charlie Fox, but also for ZoŽ Sharp. Do not miss this outstanding series.'

'ZoŽ Sharp delivers one knockout action scene after another in her rough-and-tumble geopolitical thriller… muscular, punchy style… fierce in its themes of female empowerment… an intense thriller'
Scott Neuffer, reviewing for ShelfAwareness, online magazine for book industry professionals

'ZoŽ Sharp delivers one knockout action scene after another in her rough-and-tumble geopolitical thriller, Fox Hunter. Part of the Charlie Fox series, the novel is set in the Middle East, in Iraq and Jordan, and parts of Europe. After an ex-colleague turns up dead, tortured and mutilated, Charlie, an ex-special forces soldier who works for a private security firm in New York, is sent to Iraq to investigate. Navigating the shady machinations of private military contractors in the war-torn country, Charlie struggles to find people to trust as she pieces together the clues. The murder leads her to a tragic incident in her past, when she was raped and forced out of the military, and she wonders if her former lover Sean Meyer, seen leaving the scene of the murder, is exacting revenge on her behalf.

'Sharp writes with a muscular, punchy style that matches the novel's hardboiled plot. She has a canny way of describing her characters under extreme pressure: one character "scrubbed his palms up and down his face as if to clear the grit of weariness." In another instance, Charlie describes how "the acid in my stomach leached out in my voice."

'Sharp's action scenes—there are many—are deftly rendered and punchy. Discovering a string of brutal rapes in Iraq (with similarities to her own), Charlie comes face-to-face with the cruel realities of patriarchy in certain parts of the world—most horrifically exemplified when a victim is mutilated by her own father for bringing shame upon her family.

'Dogged in its sense of justice and fierce in its themes of female empowerment, Fox Hunter is an intense thriller.'

'ZoŽ Sharp's tough-as-nails Charlie Fox returns in the latest thriller in this energetic series.
Highly recommended'
Ace American reviewer and long-time Charlie Fox fan, Gloria Feit

'ZoŽ Sharp's tough-as-nails Charlie Fox returns this summer in the latest thriller in this energetic series: "Fox Hunter", which finds the indomitable ex-special forces soldier on a mission into the Iraqi countryside to track down a missing comrade-in-arms.

'Special forces soldier-turned-bodyguard Charlotte "Charlie" Fox can never forget the men who put a brutal end to her military career, but a long time ago, she vowed she would not go looking for them.† Now she doesnít have a choice.† Her boss, Sean Meyer, is missing in Iraq, where one of those men was working as a private security contractor. When the man's butchered body is discovered, Charlie fears that Sean may be pursuing a twisted vendetta on her behalf. Charlie's close protection" agency in New York needs this dealt with—fast and quiet—before everything theyíve worked for goes to ruins. They send Charlie to the Middle East with very specific instructions: Find Sean Meyer and stop him—by whatever means necessary.

'At one time Charlie thought she knew Sean better than she knew herself, but it seems he's turned into a violent stranger. He was always ruthless, but is he capable of such savage acts of slaughter?† As the trail grows ever bloodier, Charlie realizes that she is not the only one after Sean and, unless she can get to him first, the hunter may soon become the hunted.

'In its early pages, this newest Charlie Fox novel describes a series of suspense-filled, exciting chase scenes, the initial outcome not a good one. We are allowed to see occasional displays of Charlie's vulnerability, especially apparent where Sean is concerned.

'The only blurb on the front cover, from Lee Child, captures her completely: "If Jack Reacher were a woman, he'd be Charlie Fox." What more can—or needs to—be said?

'Highly recommended.'

'Wow! This book will keep you up all night . . . The MUST READ book for 2017'
5-star Goodreads review by Seeley James, creator of strong female protagonist Pia Sabel in the Sabel Security thriller series

'Wow! This book will keep you up all night. I've always been a huge ZoŽ Sharp fan who inhales every Charlie Fox novel as it rolls off the presses. Read this book and you'll be hooked on Charlie Fox for life. Despite being twelfth in a series, this book can stand alone. An avid reader will find the answers to a lot of series-questions. At the same time, a new reader will enjoy it as a deep dive into a trauma both personal and societal.

'Friends and lovers seem like strangers, victims are victimized, muddy accusations cover horrid violence, ancient artifacts are plundered—this story covers everything. FOX HUNTER takes tough issues head on without preaching or ducking away from the truth. Ms. Sharp expertly contrasts brutality against women by exposing cultural differences between Western and Islamic societies that are sickening in their similarity.

'This book is so good you'll give it to friends as a Christmas present. But why wait?'

'Everything great about the Reacher books is true here—pulse-pounding action, complex mystery and brilliant hero(ine)'
Five-star review reproduced by kind permission of ace reviewer, Aisling on goodreads.

'As a huge fan of Lee Child's Jack Reacher series, I wanted this book solely on the fact that the quote on the front by Mr. Child says: "If Jack Reacher were a woman, he would be Charlie Fox." And wow does Ms. Sharp not disappoint.

'Everything great about The Reacher books is true here—pulse pounding action, complex mystery and brilliant hero(ine). Charlie Fox is like a British and female version of Reacher; she is contained and lethal, principled and somewhat unpredictable. Sharp does atmosphere (Iraq, Jordan, Bulgaria) so well I felt the heat or bitter cold. Dialogue is whip smart. But add to that; a truly great writer can make the 12th in a series readable as a stand alone.

'How in the world did no one tell me about this series before? SO, so happy I found a new series as awesome as the Reacher series and this one's a kick-ass woman! Five stars unreservedly.'

'Gritty, hard-hitting, all-around outstanding crime fiction.'
Michele Leber, Booklist starred review

'Charlie Fox is on a mission that brings back a painful episode in her past. Years earlier she was raped by four of her fellow Special Forces trainees—Donalson, Hackett, Morton and Clay—with charges against them dropped by the colonel in command. Now Clay is found mutilated and murdered in Iraq shortly after Sean Meyer—Charlie's former sergeant and lover and current boss— was seen nearby.

'With Sean a suspect for seeking revenge on her behalf, Charlie is tasked with finding and stopping him, knowing that he has changed since being shot in the head and lying comatose for months. Charlie soon ascertains Sean's innocence but determines that she must prove it by finding the real killer. Despite her injuries from a previous assignment, Charlie ignores IEDs, ambushes, and a warning to go home. Instead she teams up with three other strong women in thwarting the smuggling of Iraq antiquities, bringing Clay's murderer to justice, nabbing men raping Iraqi women, and revealing the misogny at the heart of her own assaults.

'Charlie is a highly skilled killer, well aware of her capability for violence, with a moral underpinning that adds to her complexity, particularly here.

'Gritty, hard-hitting, all-around outstanding crime fiction.'

'Nonstop action and an intricate plot weave together to create another thrill ride for fans of Sharp's heroine.'
Kirkus Reviews, self-styled "The World's Toughest Book Critics"

'Charlotte "Charlie" Fox (Absence of Light, 2016, etc), a tough-as-beef-jerky former British soldier who works private security, travels to Iraq to find her former lover in Sharp's latest meticulously detailed adventure. Charlie left the military in disgrace following her rape at the hands of four of her former squad-mates, but she wasn't the only one affected by the incident. Another Special Forces soldier, Sean Meyer, also lost his career due to the blowback and eventually became Charlie's lover. Sean formed Armstrong-Meyer, a successful security partnership with Parker Armstrong, and Charlie also went to work there.

'Following a shooting, Sean and Charlie split, and as this book opens, Parker has despatched her to Iraq, where Sean's gone missing, to try to track him down and determine whether or not he killed Michael Clay, one of the men who raped Charlie. While looking into Clay's death, Charlie meets another former soldier named Luisa Dawson, who sets off with Charlie to piece together what happened to Clay and why. Dawson, another woman in a heavily male profession, and Charlie are abducted and warned off the investigation by a group of brutal and heavily armed Russians who won't tell the women why they're interested in Clay's death or why they want them gone. Soon, Charlie and Dawson are on a convoluted trail involving a ghost from Charlie's past and some missing artifacts

'Charlie is no girly-girl; she's tough, driven, and very, very deadly. Sharp's series featuring the troubled and violent Charlie stands out for its knowledgeable and convincing situations and well-crafted action sequences. When Charlie talks tactics, weapons, or reconnaissance, it rings true. Sharp writes her as emotionally disillusioned and vulnerable but never helpless. Charlie's more likely to do the rescuing than to be bailed out herself.

'Nonstop action and an intricate plot weave together to create another thrill ride for fans of Sharp's heroine—though the book is heavily dependent on back story that readers of her previous adventures will find easier to follow.'