Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Zero at the Bone - Jane Seville

When Jack Francisco returns to his safe house to find a hitman waiting for him, the last thing he expects is that the man won't go ahead with his assignment. But that's exactly what the man known as D proceeds to do. Instead the two of them end up on the run together, pursued by killers hired by the men who want Jack dead and other unknown enemies. Against the odds the two of them build a relationship, but what will happen when the danger is over and they then have to return to their lives.

I'd been loking forward to reading this ever since I read the review on Wave's site, I think I also caught a review on either Kris's or Jenre's blog as well.

D is something of an anti-hero, at least at the beginning of the book. He's a man who lives to his own set of rules. One of the things I liked most about this book was that we (as readers) get to meet both of the protagonists before they meet each other. And we also appreciate more (I think) the moment when their lives collide.
There was a man sitting in his living room, looking at him.
What I loved most about this scene was how we get into Jack's mind and how he starts channelling the film 2001. :)And I love the banter between them.
...He sighed. "I'm starting to see words like 'accessory' and 'accomplice' floating around my head."
D barely reacted. "How about 'dead on arrival'? Ya like that better?"
This is a real opposites attract story. Each man fulfills in the other something that is missing in himself. I've read in a couple of places that readers didn't like D, that they found him remote. But one of the things I liked was seeing Jack break through D's reserve. How D changes Jack, but also how Jack changes D.

So much of this story would be spoiled if I gave details. But D's relationship with X, left me hoping that X will make appearances in future books, or maybe in a book of their own.

As regards the epilogue. Much has been written about whether or not to read it and before I started reading the book I had kind of decided that I wouldn't. But having got to the end I couldn't resist. I appreciate the comments about multiple endings as I thought there were two places where the story could have ended before it did and that it would have felt resolved. The epilogue itself does feel like an excerpt for the next book, rather than wrapping up this story. It feels more like a pause before the next story starts. However, having said that, I did enjoy the sneak peek into Jack and D's life in the future.

And if like me you can't resist the sneak peek, there are some short Jack and D stories available on Jane Seville's website that are well worth checking out whilst we wait for the next book. I hope we don't have too long to wait.


Jane Seville said...

Hi Lesley! Thanks for the great review. And for singling out that "dead on arrival" line...that's one of my personal favorites. I did a reading at a Pride event last weekend and I read the second half of chapter 3, which includes that line, and it got a big laugh.

I've been very grateful for the fact that so many readers have been willing to take the plunge with me and buy into the idea of a hitman as a sympathetic protagonist. It's not new or revolutionary...there's a long history of antiheroes in books and cinema. Gangsters and thieves in particular, and "Dexter" is a big hit show about a sympathetic serial killer. But Dexter, like D, restricts himself to killing those who he feels deserve death, and I think that makes a big difference. I knew there would be readers who weren't able to accept that premise, but so far they seem to be few in number. I'm only aware of one who posted to that effect. That's totally fair. You either buy it or you don't.

I'm glad you read the epilogue. Whether you end up liking it or not, I'd hope to have my work judged in its entirety, as I intended to present it, and it's okay if readers have issues with parts of it! Their viewpoint is just as valid as mine. But you're like me...I always want that extra bit of denouement too.

And rest assured that X will be appearing in the sequel, which I am banging away on as we speak, although it's possible I will be releasing another unrelated book first. Jack's friend Portia and D's co-worker Frank will be there too, as well as some new folks. I'm certainly motivated and inspired by the warm reaction I've received to "Zero."

LesleyW said...

Jane - thanks for stopping by. There were lots of other lines I wanted to include but I restricted myself. (I have a tendency to get carried away with snappy dialogue and one of my favourite things about the book was how Jack and D sparked off one another)

Glad to hear X will be back. I desperately wanted to include one of their lines to D in the review but knew I couldn't because it would be a massive spoiler. It was a simple and honest statement and cemented the fact that I wanted to know more about them.

Renee said...

Wow, I'm going to have to check this one out! I was scared to read about the epilogue, since I was afraid of spoilers, but you handled that well! :-)

I like the idea of sort of messing with my moral compass, challenging me to feel for/identify with a character like a hit man. Have you read Kelley Armstrong's Nadia Stafford series, where the protagonist is a hit woman? It's such a tricky dance for an author, but when it's done well, it really works!

I'll definitely be checking this one out!

Renee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LesleyW said...

Renee - I'm reading the second in the Nadia Stafford series at the moment. Will be posting a little about it on Friday I think with a longer review to follow.:)