|A debut crime novel by Hugh Fraser.
‘What makes an innocent girl become a contract killer?’
Acapulco 1974: Rina Walker is on assignment. Just another another quick, clean kill.
She wakes to discover her employer’s severed head on her bedside table, and a man with an AK 47 coming through the door of her hotel room. She needs all her skills to neutralise her attacker and escape. After a car chase, she is captured by a Mexican drug boss who needs her radiant beauty and ruthless expertise to eliminate an inconvenient member of the government.
Notting Hill 1956: Fifteen-year-old Rina is scavenging and stealing to support her siblings and her alcoholic mother. When a local gangster attacks her younger sister, Rina wreaks revenge and kills him. Innocence betrayed, Rina faces the brutality of the post-war London underworld – a world that teaches her the skill to kill…
Copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Whenever I hear the name Hugh Fraser, the very first thing that pops up in my mind is his very famous role of Captain Hastings from my favorite TV series „Hercules Poirot“. I was so delighted when I heard that he has written a book. But HARM is nothing like HERCULES POIROT series. So who ever expected a new Agatha Christie’s novel must be very surprised. I am not using the word ‘disappointed“ , because this book is far away from disappointing.
Meet Rina, modern and beautiful woman with faces, a contract killer, a death angel. She is a stunning woman, and men often mistake her beauty for stupidity. But she is far away from stupid. Most of everything, she is tough and knows how to survive. Life hasn’t been easy for her. Men took advantages on her since young age. They still do, but now she lets them do that, and that’s how she uses them.
Rina kills people for money, but she kills bad people, not just anyone. She has a sense for justice. She would never hurt an innocent person, enough harm has been done to her. It all started when she was a teenager. Her father’s business partner rapes her many times. But when he tries to rape her nine-years-old sister, she kills him. His brother blackmails her, she has to murder another person for him. One act of violence triggers another one, one murder leads to another. In the world of gangs where local mafia rules the neighborhood, there is no going back.
The author has created a real kick-ass heroine. We can observe Rina’s life since her early childhood till the present day. Rina is an anti-heroine. On one side, she kills people for money and she fights like hell when trapped. On the other side, she is in the search of little peace for herself far away from man’s violence. ‘Cause she has had it enough. We can follow the story of young Rina, a young girl full of hopes and dreams, all that destroyed by the fear of the shadow of the man entering her bedroom. Her mother is a person that I literally want to kill by myself, what kind of mother allows someone to rape her daughters and not even bother about it? Parallely, we follow Rina in the presence, chasing her next target and in the same time trying to escape being a target. He is not naive anymore, nor helpless at all. She fights not just for her, but for every abused woman that comes along her way.
HARM is a story centered around an assassin with a soul. Rina is a hell of a character. Fulfilled with adrenaline, violence, sex and kick-ass moments, this story is anything but boring. You might expect a nice old-fashioned murder like I did, but you’ll find yourself positively surprised by the adrenaline rush that hits you from the very first page of the book. My advice: Don’t expect anything, just read! You will totally enjoy this read!
My opinion; 4,5 / 5.
ABOUT HUGH FRASER
Hugh Fraser is best known for playing Captain Hastings in Agatha Christie’s ‘Poirot’ and the Duke of Wellington in ‘Sharpe’.
His films include Patriot Games, 101 Dalmatians, The Draughtsman’s Contract and Clint Eastwood’s Firefox. In the theatre he has appeared in Teeth’n’Smiles at the Royal Court and Wyndhams and in several roles with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
He has also narrated many of Agatha Christie’s novels as audio books. Harm is his first novel.
You can find him on Twitter: @realhughfraser