Livia Lone #1
By: Barry Eisler
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: 10/25/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars
Refugee. American. Victim. Survivor. Cop. Killer.
Seattle PD sex-crimes detective Livia Lone knows the monsters she hunts. Sold by her Thai parents along with her little sister, Nason; marooned in America; abused by the men who trafficked them…the only thing that kept Livia alive as a teenager was her determination to find Nason.
Livia has never stopped looking. And she copes with her failure to protect her sister by doing everything she can to put predators in prison.
Or, when that fails, by putting them in the ground.
But when a fresh lead offers new hope of finding Nason and the men who trafficked them both, Livia will have to go beyond just being a cop. Beyond even being a vigilante. She’ll have to relive the horrors of the past. Take on one of the most powerful men in the US government. And uncover a conspiracy of almost unimaginable evil.
In every way, it’s an unfair fight. But Livia has two advantages: her unending love for Nason— And a lifelong lust for vengeance.
Buy the Book
A special thank you to Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Excellent cover!
Barry Eisler returns following (2016) God’s Eye View with non-action thrills to the first in his new explosive series, LIVIA LONE (#1) assured to be one of the "darkest" thrillers, like no other; starring a female sex-crimes cop, who hunts monsters and makes them pay.
Have also pre-ordered the audio narrated by the author (always a treat!)
A kick-ass heroine. A female vigilante. She entices and traps the evil ones. She is intelligent, edgy, mysterious, well-trained, and precise. Each move is carefully planned. From the first page, readers get the full impact of Livia Lone. A justice-seeking protagonist.
The novel starts off with Billy Barnett. He was digging the Asian chick next to him at Ray’s bar. Slim and petite, and fit. He picks her up but this Seattle sex-crimes cop is more than meets the eye. His orders were to keep a low profile following his release—stay clear of the gang, stay out of trouble, head back to Seattle with the state- appointed therapist.
However, she surprises him and at first he thought she just knew a few martial arts'moves. However, Billy is messing with the wrong person. Dead. Before he knew what hit him.
She is Livia Lone. She kills predators. Secretly murdering the low-lives. The ones which the legal system had not found and punished. A Seattle sex-crimes cop out for revenge. Covered in thick Lycra. She had known where to find him.
A popular member of Hammerhead gang. Billy enjoyed rape, and beyond; gambling debts, drug debts, and enemies from prison- but how hard would they work to track him down? White supremacist rapist ex-cons who would up quietly end up dead, and not command a maximum of investigative attention. She always covered her tracks. From wigs, makeup, eyeglasses-it would be a dead end.
She was ready to go after the "real" prize. A senior Hammerhead named Timothy Weed Tyler, who was about to finish a sixteen-year prison stretch at Victorville.
The last time she had seen Tyler, he had been one of her captors. He was the only person alive who might be able to tell her what had happened to her sister, Nason. (her little bird, due to her birdsong imitations). She had been missing since they had both been trafficked from Thailand as children.
From Then to Now. We learn about Livia's abusive past. Livia was thirteen, and Nason was eleven. Their parents had sold them in Thailand. They had become separated when arriving in the US in a shipping container. Labee was adopted and renamed Livia, becoming the sex slave of a prominent businessman, Fred Lone. A senator.
While in school Sean taught her jiu-jitsu. (eighth grader) and judo. It had been invented in Japan and then honed and popularized in Brazil, and Sean’s father had learned it from some people after he left the Marines and gone to live in Rio. His father had made him train since he was little. He was shy, bullied, and he stuttered.
They called him “Stutter Boy." Everything that had happened to her and Nason, before she had been brought to this horrible place, made her want to fight back, like him. She saw his power. She wanted it.
Mr. Lone had made her feel poisoned and alone; helpless. Someone else was being bullied. She saw what power gave him and wanted him to teach her. She had to face Skull Face. Malcolm taught Livia the fundamental jiu-jitsu. She was terrified Mr. Lone wouldn’t allow her to train. She wanted to learn everything she could to protect herself from the monsters. Guns, weapons, knives-- anything that wasn’t a weapon was a weakness. She was never going to be weak again.
She practiced incessantly. In the fall of her senior year, Rick introduced Livia to his friend, a Portland PD sex crimes detective named Gavin. He did not treat her with pity. She wanted to know everything about sex crimes. It would be a way to protect girls like her and Nason. To avenge the ones, she could not protect.
Later she taught a class – to women; a blend of judo, wrestling, and jiu-jitsu, focusing on techniques and tactics geared to bigger stronger opponents. Her philosophy was to teach the technique to train the mind. Teaching girls to protect themselves was even more important. She was accepted to SJSU. She would learn everything about criminals. She would be a cop. She would find Nason. Forensic science.
She would need "super powers"- enabling her to find clues criminals didn’t even know they had left behind. She learned about the laws and “human smuggling”. The details horrifying, from beatings and working sixteen hour days, paying them next to nothing. Labor-trafficking, sexual abuse. To find her sister. The shipments. She had seen and experienced it firsthand.
She wanted to carry a gun. Not just prosecute the monsters, but hunt them. Catch them. Snap handcuffs around their wrists -and put them in prison forever. Or put them "in the ground". From Skull Face, Dirty Beard, Square Head and Mr. Lone—when she sees them all- the dragon awakes.
There were predators in the world, lurking, waiting, wanting to hurt someone, ruin someone, and they would do it if they could. She hated them. She needed to fight. Not just some of the time. All of the time.
Portland felt the closest connection she had to Nason, the actual place where she and her sister had been amputated from each other. Of course, Rick and Gavin and the others had done all they could and found no trace of her. This is when she started thinking of Seattle- a hotbed of trafficking and its location to the Canadian border. Especially child trafficking. A perfect combo so she applied for the position.
Pain, grief, horror. The demons of the past and present. She has to go back and relive the torture to attain the answers she needs about her sister. Back to Thailand. A conspiracy. The senator. The national police. Children being trafficking, while those involved were moving up in the ranks of law enforcement. Pimping children. She would help them one way or another.
Dark, disturbing, chilling; an extensive and well-researched look at the depths and horrors of sex and human trafficking. Eisler's storytelling is vivid, intense, and suspenseful, introducing an unstoppable heroine so raw and driven.
Fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline-fueled thriller! Livia is courageous, stopping at nothing to save the innocent lives of those taken and abused. Engrossing and explicit; one of those books you cannot put down, as you peak around the corner; not for the fainthearted.
"Female Vigilante Justice, at its finest!" Fans of Karin Slaughter will love Livia Lone. Looking forward to the next in the series.
While the ethics of vigilantism (for real) remain up for debate, when reports of gender-based crimes consistently fall upon deaf ears, at some point, you might just make enact justice for yourself. And sometimes, that justice comes in a "blonde wig". I Am Revenge: The Unheard Stories Of Female Vigilantes" (2015) by Danika McClure.
"Around the world, many countries lack adequate laws to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence, which disproportionately affects women. Four out of five victims of sex trafficking are women, one in four women experiences some sort of sexual assault in her lifetime and forty percent of women who are murdered experience it at the hand of their partners. Often times these acts go unpunished. In some circumstances, women will do the punishing themselves."
Oct Must Reads
"An explosive thriller that plunges into the sewer of human smuggling...Filled with raw power, [Livia Lone] may be the darkest thriller of the year."
—Kirkus, Starred Review
"An exciting thriller...Eisler keeps a firm hand on the throttle of what could be the first of a rewarding series."
"Livia is a complex and sympathetic character... Readers of hard-boiled fiction, heavily tinted toward noir, may see in Livia something of Carol O'Connell's Kathy Mallory, also a cop with an abuse-filled past and an appetite for revenge."
"Eisler offers up an astonishingly raw tale that is dark and disturbing, but one that you will want to finish. Both the compelling narrative and the fascinating—yet seriously flawed—heroine are indications that Eisler is at the top of his game."
—RT Book Reviews
"Readers may be reminded of Stieg Larsson's beloved Lisbeth Salander when they meet Livia Lone, and will be totally riveted by the story of this woman on a mission to right the wrongs in her past."
About the Author
Barry Eisler spent three years in a covert position with the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, then worked as a technology lawyer and startup executive in Silicon Valley and Japan, earning his black belt at the Kodokan Judo Institute along the way. Eisler’s award-winning thrillers have been included in numerous “Best of” lists, have been translated into nearly twenty languages, and include the #1 bestseller The Detachment. Eisler lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and, when he’s not writing novels, blogs about torture, civil liberties, and the rule of law. Read More