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Child's Play (Michael Sykora Novels Book 4) Kindle Edition
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"Depth of Lies" by E. C. Diskin
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In No Justice, book one of the Michael Sykora series, Michael avenges his wife's murder by hiring hit-man Sean to take out the murderer. Michael and Sean form an unlikely friendship, and soon Michael also makes the world safer by killing pedophiles and other unsavory characters.
And there are quite a few unsavories in this story for Michael and Sean to kill. A little girl has gone missing, and creepy guys have her. Sean's girlfriend, Maria, helps trap the first creep. Sean then tortures the creep in order to infiltrate the widespread child pornography network. Meanwhile, Michael and his girlfriend, Nicki, try to find out if Nicki's former prostitute friend has a heart of gold or a heart of stone.
The characters are so well-drawn, like Sean's clever use of niacin to mimic poison, Michael devouring Mint Milano cookies, and Nicki loving animals (including her little purse dog, Cassie.)
Michael considered going home to catch a few hours' sleep, but he knew sleep was about as likely as finding an elephant in his living room. Maybe less likely, given Nicki's love of animals. Just last week she'd tried to talk him into adopting a goat.
Nicki adds much-needed levity to Michael's brooding nature:
Cassie scampered over and Nicki scooped her up. Michael had to look twice to be sure he wasn't seeing things. "You painted her nails?"
"We had a little girl time this morning while you were out swimming," Nicki said. She held her hand out next to the dog's paw. "See? We match!"
Michael couldn't help but laugh. "You've lost your mind."
Sean's girlfriend, Maria, is a newer character I haven't gotten to know well, but she is a good match for Sean. I like how Nicki and Maria are kickbutt in their own way--a great complement for their men.
Despite the dark content, the future is light and hopeful for the two couples:
"Breakfast is ready," Michael said.
Nicki jumped a little. "How long have you been watching me?"
She rolled her eyes. "I don't know if I can handle this sappy stuff from you."
"It wasn't sappy. It was stalkerish."
She slinked over and kissed him on the lips. "Stalkerish works."
Yep. Stalkerish and killerish definitely work in these awesome books!
The subject matter for this novel deals with child abduction and trafficking, pornography and abuse, a dark novel but the violence is limited and not ugly. It is there to set the stage, for the reader to root for the characters that are trying to track down members of a pedophile ring. I commend the author for taking on a dark subject matter, and bringing it to the forefront.
“Tell me where you are keeping Alexis?”
“A little girl is stolen from her yard and police have no leads. Hope dwindles with each passing hour. “
“The desperate parents hire Michael Sykora to find their daughter, and to kill anyone involved in taking her. Michael and his team discover this case has roots far deeper than a single kidnapping. Children are a commodity for the wealthy and depraved.”
Michael Sykora ia a software engineer by day, and a hit-man by night. He gets rid of the worst criminals the justice system seems to overlook… a hit man who kills for justice. Sean Riley is a hit man born to kill. Michael initially hired Sean to avenge his wife's murder. Sean tortures bad guys with calculating ruthlessness. Michael hires his close friend/girlfriend, Nicki, an ex-prostitute who is one of the team members in the company. Maria, Sean’s girlfriend is a former bounty hunter and a member of the team. Both women are tough and smart,providing the perfect match for their men.
In this fast-paced read, there is a nice balance of suspense, intrigue with humor from the romance aspect as we follow the contact between Michael and Sean with their respective partners. Helle brings to life her characters and creates a nail biting thriller/psychological suspense.
Highly recommended to those that enjoy crime thriller suspense.