Cold Fury

by T. M. Goeglin
ages: 13+
First sentence: “My name is Sarah Jane Rispoli”
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All 16-year-old Sarah Jane wants to do is box, hang with her family, and muse about her lack of a love life. However, that is not what the cards have in store for her. See: she’s running for her life. Her 16th birthday turned into a horror film disaster, and she’s got a steel suitcase, a .45, and a notebook between her and certain death. The question is: how on earth can she pull it off?

It’s a great premise: a girl Alex Rider crossed with the Corleone family. There’s a LOT of promise in this, and if boys can get past the girl glaring darts at them on the cover, they’ll like it too. All of which holds a lot of promise.

But my biggest problem with this book was that it took more than 100 pages for the story to get started. While there were hints that something bad has happened: from the outset, you know about the gun and the suitcase, but you have to get the whole history first. You have to establish that she’s a boxer, that her family has mob ties, and that her life is in danger. I understand that, I really do. But did it need to take 100 pages?

But, after those 100 pages, the story really picks up. There’s intrigue, intensity, a hint of romance (but only the briefest mentions; Sarah Jane is running for her life, after all), and, well, action. And, even though there’s a sequel, it resolves quite nicely.

All of which made me like this one better in the end than when I started. I just don’t know how many are going to want to wade through the 100 pages to get to the good bits.

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