Sunday, September 14, 2014

Battle Not with Monsters by Overton Scott

Battle Not With Monsters
Author: Overton Scott
Publisher:  Good Heart Press
Pages: 360
Release Date: March 8, 2014
Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Victim? Neen Ford is a loner, drifting from town to town, working as a security guard and teaching martial arts. One hot night in Dallas, she witnesses the brutal murder of a Ukrainian prostitute and becomes the killer’s next target. Neen’s never backed down from a fight, but she’s never tangled with a human trafficking ring before. Until now. Hero? Naïve young women are being trafficked into the United States by Russian criminals. Someone needs to help them. The police are trying, but they’re not moving fast enough for Neen, who is now being stalked by a man who enjoys inflicting pain. Vigilante? How far will Neen go to save herself? How far, to save three young women from a life of fear and suffering? And what price will she pay for battling the monster? There’s a thin line between hero and vigilante – will she cross it?

In books like this, more often than not women end up being the victims. Helpless damsels in distress wait for some tough guys to save them, or they are so manly and tough, they may as well just be men. What I loved about this book is Neen is believable: she's fit, trained in martial arts, but still feels fear when danger suddenly comes her way. She works two jobs, but still struggles a bit to stay afloat with her budget. She tries to eat well, but all her good habits don't keep her completely out of danger. This is a book about a confident woman who still has to make some tough decisions. I applaud it for steering around the character holes so many thrillers seem to throw out there. Neen was someone I could cheer for.

This book did get a little information heavy in some places, but I didn't mind it too much. We learned about self-defense. We learned about guns. We learned with Neen as she tries to avoid a killer who is out to get her. Neen doesn't just sit around and wait for the police to save her skin. While her actions may not be great from a role model point of view, it is fitting for her character. 

The only thing that felt a little lacking with this story was the roles of the problem solver guy, and the priest. While Neen was a strong character, I almost felt like these two men could have been lumped into one because they were introduced so close together. Had one come a little sooner, maybe I would have found their characters more believable. I am glad neither takes over the fight and turns Neen into a helpless victim, but I still felt they could have been fleshed out just a little bit more.

Overall, I was still really pleased with this story. Thank goodness for a strong female character who isn't just "one of the guys".

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