I was skeptical of the subject matter: a home-invasion gone wrong. I've seen a few bad movies and read some short stories with this premise that just fell flat mostly. In this case, I was very pleasantly surprised by Russo's story. It shot write (right) off the page from the moment the story opens. I needed two pages before I was fully committed just because at first I was not sure what was happening, but once the smoke cleared and I understood what was going on, the narrative held tight like cinching a plastic bag over a criminal's head. The story weaved and bobbed beautifully, taking us on both a captivating interior journey of a psychopath's thought process and the people around him who are trying to deal with his extremely unpredictable behavior that in the end always has one goal: to cause mayhem and get what he wants by any means necessary. No real caring existed in Skooley's mind, but you are curious where his manic psychosis will take you next and for that reason, it's a roller-coaster ride with many unexpected turns. Highly recommended for those who like crime novels and don't mind some graphic violence.
This book kicked butt! Livia is a truly powerful character. I loved the way Barry Eisler switched between her origin story, training, and the present mission she's engaged in. The first chapter is one of the best I've read in a long time – immediately drawing me into the world of crime and intrigue, along with a strong awareness of the predatory nature of some people. It also provides a glimpse into the world of white supremacist hate groups and their high level of organization. The fact that I read this book in less than a week says it all.