Doubt is "a sword that kills", and it might just kill Charlie Fox. The opening of Zoё Sharp's Second Shot finds the bodyguard lying on her belly in the bottom of a snow crusted shallow ditch, shot twice. As Simone, the woman she was hired to protect, stands over her with a gun, Charlie saw grief and anger and shock in her eyes. It was never supposed to end this way.

Sharp skillfully backtracks in the story to bring the reader to the beginning. Charlie's last case in the United States, as told in First Drop, ended in tragedy. Charlie is still suffering from the remorse and doubt afterward. When her boss and lover, Sean Meyer asks her to go to Boston, she's reluctant. But, a little girl needs her help, and she signs on for the job.

Simone Kerse recently won $25 million in a lottery. At the same time, she dumped her daughter, Ella's father. Now, Simone claims Matt is bothering them. The media certainly is stalking them. It's the stuff of tabloid dreams, "A scorned lover, a tug-of-love child, a whiff of violence, and best of all-money." Charlie's greatest concern is for the four-year-old, Ella, who doesn't understand what's happening. Simone's greatest wish is to find the father she hasn't seen in years. Sean says, "This should be a nice easy's just a case of holding her hand while she reacquaints herself with Daddy." Simone, Ella and Charlie flee from the problems in England, only to find greater troubles in New England.

Charlie discovers nothing is as it appears when she gets to the United States. The detective Simone hired has died in a car accident, but his partner wonders if it was mroe than that. Who is the well-dressed man who picks Simone up at the Aquarium? When Simone's father shows up to meet her, his story is fishy as to how he knew she was there. He has a life Simone knew nothing about, a wife and a threatening business partner.

This is a painful book for Charlie, both mentally and physically. It's a tough book for the reader, because of Charlie's emotions and injuries. However, readers will be caught up in Second Shot, another riveting story that only proves that Zoё Sharp is becoming a master of the thriller.

Who do you trust, when you no longer even trust your own skills and reactions? Charlie doubts herself. She isn't sure Sean still has her best interests at heart. She doesn't like the people and stories surrounding her client. As the opening scene reveals, she even has to doubt her principal, as Simone stands over her with a gun.

Buddha said, "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates....It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills." It might not give Charlie Fox the chance for a Second Shot.

Zoё Sharp's website is

Second Shot by Zoё Sharp. St. Martin's Minotaur, ©2007, ISBN 978-0-312-35895-2 (hardcover), 320p.

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